Sunday, January 16, 2022

Know Thy Reader

This week's topic is What's On Our Mind. As I sit here tonight, wondering if we'll be buried beneath snow come morning, I'm thinking about the last couple of weeks and how thankful I am for the readers who have found me over the last several months. The Witch Collector is currently approaching 700 reviews on Goodreads, and reviews sit at 200 on Amazon, with 4.13 and 4.5 ratings respectively. In just over two months. That's nothing wildly spectacular, I know, but for a small-press book from a nobody author, it's pretty damn good. I'm proud of this little-book-that-could, and so thrilled that readers are finding and loving it.

When TWC released on November 2nd, I already had a spreadsheet with goals and dates in place. I listed my current follower counts for each social media platform I use, or hoped to use (like TikTok). I included my Goodreads and Bookbub followers too, and then added Goodreads Reviews, Amazon Reviews, Newsletter Subscribers, Rebel Readers (my FB group), and Goodreads Adds (how many people add TWC to their Want to Read list). I wanted to track this growth because I planned to promote my book, and I wanted to see if my plan actually worked. 

I learned a long time ago that people can't consider purchasing/enjoying a product unless they know it exists, and unfortunately, books don't jump into readers' paths on their own. If a trad deal has been scored and the book is on the shelf at bookstores, AWESOME. If an author has a platform from being published for many years, AWESOME. If they have a platform for some other reason, that's awesome too! But if not--and sometimes even if so!--it takes some work to get a book in readers' hands and in bookish circles on social media.

I gave myself attainable goals back in October, but possibly still tough for a debut author with a small platform. It takes some consideration for a reader to invest in an author with little buzz, someone they know nothing about, and especially when their book is the first in an incomplete trilogy (ME). And yet, the goals I set have been smashed by readers, and I can see the growth of my reach and what things I did/do that equate to good sales. Data is good.

So...what did I do? Someone asked me that today, and I've been asked before. Yes, I did a couple Instagram book tours around release day, and yes I keep two to three very low-cost ads running. I also did a Goodreads Giveaway which was great visibility, and I'm now doing book giveaways on my own, paperback and ebook, because if any of those readers like my book, they might just tell someone else. I also focus on Instagram posts because that's where my readers are, and I automatically share those posts to Facebook. I'm now venturing into TikTok, so we'll see how that goes. I've been consistent with my newsletter as well, which has a solid response rate, and I connected my blog to Goodreads and Amazon.

But the main thing I've done that I feel has been crucial for me is...I know my readers. I communicate with them, and I thank them. I share their posts and comment, because I truly am thankful for them taking the time to create a reel or a TikTok or an Instagram photo or story, or to write a review. Time is invaluable, and not only did they give up some of that time to read my book but to also shout about it to their friends and followers.

I also offer them a place to come chat with me, my Rebel Readers group, and I give them special access to exclusive news and sneak peeks. They're getting a huge sneak peek in February! They also get first dibs at my books, because I offer them the opportunity to be early readers/reviewers. 

My readers have been the most amazing support system I could've asked for, shouting about The Witch Collector all over the place. They are absolute rockstars!

So that's what's on my mind tonight. From now on, when writers ask me what the trick to getting reader interest is, I'll tell them the truth:

I don't really know any tricks, but I do know my readers.

And I love them <3

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