Last year at the Digital Minds Conference in London, I mentioned I’m an author stalker.
I always have been and always will be. As an indie author, I think it’s one of the most vital things I did at the beginning of my career and no matter where I am on my journey, I doubt this will ever change.
What do I mean by being an author stalker?
I take note of those authors within the indie and traditional world (as well as those who straddle both worlds) and I watch them. I read their blogs. I follow their pages. I follow them on twitter and watch their interactions with readers. I subscribe to their newsletters and have joined their fan clubs.
Why do I do this? For one reason. Because they’ve accomplished a goal I aim to achieve. There are those in the indie world who are known as the ‘millionaires club’. These authors (Bella Andre, Barbara Freethy, CJ Lyons, Jasinda Wilder, Holly Ward, Hugh Howley, to name a few…) have managed to sell millions of copies of their books. They’ve done this by not only finding readers, but by keeping them. They engage, they converse, they inspire and they promise. I watch them to see how they do this. I see where they struggle, what mistakes they’ve made and what has worked and then I … this is important … I personalize it for my genre, my readers and for my brand – which is me.
BUT…and this is important…actually, just as important as my previous point. I read these authors. Porter Anderson asked this question recently on his website and it surprised me to read that not many authors do this. Sure, everyone knows the name Hugh Howley and Bella Andre but not many have read them.
How can you follow an author and hope to achieve their success without reading them? We are authors but readers as well, aren’t we? While I might write commercial women’s fiction, my kindle is full of sci-fi, historical romance, erotic romance, commercial fiction and such. I read my genre but I also read other genres – you know this by my monthly reading list. I’m proud to say I’ve read (or downloaded a sample at the very least) each author I hear of that has hit that level of success. Because I want to know how they did it. I want to know how they managed to grab hold of a readers attention…I want to learn.
Please tell me I’m not alone in this. When I first heard of Joe Konrath, the first thing I did after reading a blog post of his was download one of his books. Same with Joanna Penn. Orna Ross. Bella Andre. Holly Ward. Barbara Freethy. Hugh Howley and many others. When I hear these authors at conferences (Hugh Howley at Pubsmart in Charleston was amazing and I walked away truly inspired to know that a normal guy with a passion for books has helped others to become just as passionate) I don’t want to sit in their panels and wonder if they’ve ‘walked the talk’ – I already know.
Tell me…have you read these indie bestsellers? Or are you one of those authors who claim they don’t have the time because they’re so focused on writing their own novel? If you don’t have the time – you need to make it. Trust me.