Friday, January 2, 2015

How to Lose a Reader in 10 Pages or Less: Failure to Engage

An author is most likely to lose a reader inbetween releases.  This isn't because the reader didn't like your story and wants to boycott all your future books.  It’s because there are a million other authors out there clamoring for a reader’s attention and they may get distracted by all the shiny goodness presented to them.  So how do you keep your reader focused on your shiny goodness when you don’t have a new book to for them to dive into?  The solution may sound simple, but it is a concept that seems to be fading away – engaging with your readers.

Many authors have lost the ability to engage with their readers outside the business transaction of buying and selling their books.  Authors are a reader’s celebrity.  You are our movie stars and rock gods and goddesses.  As a celebrity, it’s important to keep your fans happy and show new potential fans that you are approachable – just the average Joe that happens to sell millions of books and gets to live the life we all dream about.  There are some pretty basic concepts that will help your fans keep in touch with you inbetween books.

  • Have a website.  Sounds pretty simple, right?  Wrong!  You can’t just throw a webpage up and add your new releases to it and expect people to keep coming back.  You need to do one of two things.  Add a blog.  A blog that you update fairly regularly.  Something new to catch the reader’s eye at least a couple times a month.  If you don’t have a blog, then update your announcement section at the top of your webpage.  You don’t need to get too personal (unless you want to).  Let readers know what awesome new book you just finished or what section of your current work in progress you are on.  Heck, tell them it snowed today and how much you love eating roasted marshmallows in the winter.  Going to a convention?  Talk about it.  It will help let readers know where to find you and the convention will love the publicity.

  • Respond to comments on your blog, Facebook, and incoming emails.  Sometimes it’s just someone saying “Hey I totally loved your book.”  Take a few seconds to say a simple “Thank you” or “I’m so glad you liked it.”  Remember, if someone approaches you with a negative sniping comment, you don’t need to answer them – this is OK.  You probably shouldn't respond in these cases.  DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.
  • If you are at a convention or book signing and you meet a reader, take a few minutes to talk to them.  Get to know your audience and you will find yourself inspired to write.  Sometimes these readers have read your story a dozen times and they may have some good advice or constructive criticism that you can use going forward.

  • Participate in blogger events.  (Yes, I’m somewhat self-promoting here because I want you all to participate in our features – which you can find right HERE.)  But seriously, blogs get tons of extra hits when an author does a guest post or interview.  If you see a blog looking for participation in a recurring feature they have – jump on it.  Hello!  It’s free marketing for you!  How could you pass that up???   Also, make sure you share the love – if you have a guest post, review, or feature post going up somewhere – link to it on your Facebook, Twitter, etc.  It will only help you and the bloggers will love you for it (I’m speaking from experience here ya know).

When I talk to readers and ask why they like such and such an author so much, one of the most common reasons I hear (besides their writing rocks awesome sauce) is that they love their blog, or they met them at a convention and they were so nice and easy to talk to.  I've even had people tell me they sent an email with a simple question and they got a great response back from the author and they will never forget how special that made them feel.  It only takes a few minutes to make yourself memorable to one person.  And those instances will be talked about – which means people are talking about you and your books – which means…..

come on….

you all know the answer…..

I'd put that in big blinking letters if I knew how.

So get out there and shine the spotlight on yourself a bit.  Keep people interested and make sure they always have a reason to check up on you when they’re online.  Then, when it is release day – they are already there and waiting for you.

Do you have special ways that you connect with your readers?  We’d love to hear about them.


  1. That is very true. Readers are more likely to keep coming back and stay up to date on upcoming books if the author is engaging with readers on a blog, fb or some other social media site.

  2. Yes! Some are great at this, but others seem to struggle.


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