Make a solid reader connection and they’ll spread the word about your books
I’d like to thank Penny Sansevieri for stepping in this week, while I have spent some exciting time in the hospital having fun medical adventures. It turns out what I have is “just” sciatica, a fiendishly painful thing that happens to aging backs. Our punishment for not dying young and leaving a beautiful corpse. 😊
I’m feeling a bit better now, thanks to the pharmaceutical industry, but the meds have sent my brain AWOL, so there’s no way I could have written a useful blogpost for you guys..
But luckily, Penny has a great new marketing book out, and here’s an excerpt.
Create a Reader Connection
by Penny Sansevieri
Readers love getting to know their favorite authors, and this is where you come in. Often authors post on social media and wait for folks to engage with them. Yes, there’s a bit of that too, but it’s also about how connected you are to your posts.
If you’re just posting and ditching, you won’t get good engagement — ever. Posting something and then not checking back on the page to see if anyone responded is posting and ditching. And believe it or not, sometimes it just takes one person responding, and you commenting back, to get the comments going.
The Importance of Likes and Shares
Humans long for social approval, and we love to express our attitudes on social media, hoping to get affirmative feedback. This is why likes and shares give our brains that dopamine rush! We also love contributing in some way and having our opinions heard, even if we’re just posting something funny.
For example, I do a lot of “caption this” type of posts to help spark communication. Some of them do really well, garnering upwards of 150 comments, while others only get twenty or so. But every single comment is at least acknowledged.
Make a Reader Connection with Nostalgia and Humor
People love it when you take the time to get to know them, when you’re really interested and willing to take the time to connect. Like inviting followers to share their hobbies and then responding to every single one, or even just putting a thumbs-up on their content.
Nostalgia is another big driver, but you need to know your audience because nostalgia means different things to different age groups. If you’re speaking to readers who grew up in the 1990s, their definition of nostalgia will be vastly different from someone who grew up in the 1970s.
Humor is another way to make a reader connection, especially now. Posting funny things might be one of your tracks. As I said before, you’re going to want to play around a bit until you find the right mix.
Understanding the Power of Small
When I teach this class in person, I ask attendees if they have any idea how many superfans the author needed to accomplish the example I just cited. Hands pop up and attendees offer their thoughts: 5,000? 10,000? Sometimes participants’ guesses are even higher.
The truth is, street team or superfan numbers are often quite small… in fact, so small that it may surprise you. Most of the authors I mention have lists smaller than 100 people. One author’s list is only 25.
How can such small numbers make such a big difference? Let’s begin by talking about the power of small.
Connecting with Micro-Influencers
Statistically speaking, smaller, empowered groups have more book marketing potential than big, often unfocused, mailing lists. These smaller market segments, often referred to as micro-influencers, can have a bigger impact on sales than you may think, because their followers tend to be more dedicated.
They see all of a micro-influencer’s posts, they’ve engaged with this person, and they often jump to buy anything the influencer recommends. When I talk about micro-influencers, I mean someone with 1,000 or fewer followers. These are tightly engaged communities, and they tend to offer more authentic voices.
Today I’m more inclined to seek out social media people with these small, tight communities. It’s not just because they’re easier to get to, but also because their average response rate is often ten times that of someone with 100,000 or more followers.
When it comes to book marketing, more is not always better. Sometimes it’s just more.
Every Reader Connection Builds Your Fan Base
There are a few ways you can build your fan base.
The first is to put a letter in the back of your book that invites readers to contact you. Make sure there’s a benefit for them in doing so…maybe they get a free chapter of your next book, or perhaps you invite them to participate in a newsletter sign-up drawing.
In either case, I suggest that you put a sign-up form on your website to start capturing fans who may want to be a part of this group! You can see a sample sign-up form here: www.christinageorgeauthor.com/ street-team
Perhaps you need your street team to share book updates and launches on their social media accounts or with their mailing lists.
The first piece of advice is to always be clear about what you need from your groups before you outline what you’ll give them.
In some cases, giveaways might be a free copy of every book you release while they’re a member of the group.
Why Would you Give Away a Book When the Goal is to Sell?
Because each member of your street team has the ability to reach so many more people. Giving them one book will pay off for you in big ways through those potential fan recommendations we talked about earlier.
If giving away a book isn’t what you have in mind, there are other options. You could invite them to become a part of your book marketing or book production strategy team, whose members help you decide on cover designs or character names.
You could also create a private Facebook group that only they have special access to, which readers love!
Anything that makes a reader connection is a potential sale — or many sales.
By Penny Sansevieri (@bookgal) November 21, 2021
What about you, scriveners? Do you have a street team? Do you keep reader connection in mind when you’re on social media? Have you found that leaving a note at the back of your books increases reader connection?
About Penny Sansevieri
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
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In fact, the goal is to help authors that feel they’ve been at this for a while and have done “all the book marketing things” without really seeing much progress.
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