A funny thing happened today…I was writing this post when I read a post from a good friend (and fabulous author) on the exact same subject. I strongly urge you to read what she has to say and check out her new website (which I love btw).
When I first started to self publish, I began from the ground up – like many of you reading this. We all started at the same place – with nothing – no followers, no readers, no fans – and we all panicked. We HAD to have an author facebook page (or fan page), we HAD to grow a twitter following, we HAD to have a following on our blog, likes on our book (when there were likes) etc etc…you catch my meaning right?
We ALL Make Mistakes…It’s How We Learn
At the time – the steps we all took to ensure this happened was done with the best possible intentions. We gathered on yahoo loops and facebook groups and blog posts asking for facebook likes, follows, shares etc. I did it. You did it. We’ve all done it. It not only made us feel good, special and not so lonely but it helped us when approaching agents/editors – we were able show how social savy we were and that we were gathering a good following.
But…at the same time we were doing ourselves a HUGE disservice. Authors liking authors who are not our true fans – while it inflated our numbers on Facebook or Twitter – it didn’t translate into sales when our books went live or help to sell books as we were busy writing the next one. Right?
Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with liking a fellow author’s facebook page, or signing up for their newsletter or following them on twitter – IF you happen to be a fan of theirs. But I don’t think we’re helping one another by doing a mass shout out to an author loop asking for likes…while it might inflate my ego an make me not feel so alone – it doesn’t translate in the ways I need it to. When my author facebook page grows, I need it to be a real fan that liked my page, not a fellow author who is helping me to grow my page. When someone follows me on twitter – I hope one of the reasons is because they just read my book or someone recommended me … not by a plea for followers.
Think Outside The Box
There are ways for us to grow our numbers that is healthier and gives you more of an understanding on who your real fans are. Add links to your various social media sites (like facebook or twitter or your newsletter and blog) at the back of your book. Have them on your twitter bio. Add links on your facebook page under you “About Me” section or as a page. Hold a contest and have those be options for people to choose for extra entries (using rafflecopter is easy for this). Join together with another author in your genre who writes similar stories and swap posts, buy an ad that directs people to your page, site etc.
I know it’s hard, especially if you are just starting out – but don’t despair. Be real. Be personable, even if it seems like your talking to yourself. Find other people and converse with them. It may start out small, but eventually those numbers will trickle in and you will start to grow your fan base – your true fan base and you’ll start to reap the benefits of knowing who your readers. Trust me – I have the best fans out there and if you talk to any other author who has discovered the benefits of knowing their true readers, they’ll say the same thing!
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