The time that writers are perching in their ivory tower is long gone. More and more writers take the plunge and actively look for and talk to fans on social media. And you know what? Fans appreciate this!
All of a sudden the person whose book you enjoyed, whose words you chuckled at and whose characters you empathized with is just a keystroke away.
Serving your fans has become a very big part of being an author. It is important to build a following, a tribe, people that you connect with and that will follow you. I recently had a talk on my podcast with Sarah Price, a number one best seller with thousands of fans worldwide. One of the main things that caught my eye was the way she interacted with her fans. I have listened to a lot of podcasts, had loads of talks with marketing experts and they all said the same : BE NICE TO THE PEOPLE THAT ARE REACHING OUT TO YOU!
I have seen a lot of examples and for some reason a lot of these examples seamed very fake, very “I’m just doing this because I have to and because you make me money.” With Sarah Price it was different : she cared.
- Answer questions on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc
Most people that will reach out will want to reach out on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. This can happen in comments, Direct Messages or on Private Messaging. Fans, members of your tribe that reach out to you are doing this for a reason, they want to be noticed and it could take a small message to make their day or to make them happy. Off course you should not answer every message, especially when you have a lot of fans or followers. I was listening to a podcast this weekend ( Build Your Tribe ) and they gave some very good tips :
A. Don’t spend all your time on social media.
Although building a following on social media is very important, you don’t have to spend all your time on social media. It is important to set boundaries. Set aside one hour a day to do all your social media and answer all your questions and posts in that hour.
B. Ignore bad vibes
Not everybody will be positive. Some people may want to bring you or your work down by commenting or sending you messages that might hurt you. Delete these. A lot of books might say that this looks bad on you but let us be honest : it is your page and you decide what gets to be on there. For big brands, not going into or deleting bad reviews and comments is not a good strategy but when you’re an author, a personality or a sole trader you can ignore this rule! It is your page and if you don’t want any negativity on your page, you can delete the s.h.i.t. out of certain comments.
2. Open up to your fans
Your fans are following you not only because you are a good writer but also because you are an interesting person. They are interested in what you are doing, they are interested in what you go through and how you write your books. One of the many ways to hook your readers and fans into your profiles is by showing that you are a REAL person as well : show some personal pictures, try to engage with your fans. One of the ways that Sarah Price does this in a REALLY good way is by doing small live videos every day. She does these from her kitchen, her living room or even on location, they don’t have to be scripted and can be about anything going on in her books or in her life. Loads of fans watch and comment on these videos. Why? Because these videos make a bridge between the fan and the writer, between the real Sarah Price and Sarah Price the Author. When people watch these movies they are not watching videos of “Sarah Price”, they are watching movies of a friend; And that’s where the strength in her name, her brands and her social media platforms lie.
3. Don’t forget : without your fans you are nowhere
Once you have a book contract or once you are a successful self published writer it is very easy to take everything and everyone, especially your book sales, for granted. They are not. Let me tell you : treating people wrong or ignoring fans can damage your reputation and ultimately might scare people of into being your fan. A good example of someone that embraces all fans is John Green : although he is one of the most read young adult writers of the moment, he is humble in his communication and always looks out for his readers. Don’t ever forget where you came from and that without your fans, your readers, you would still be nowhere.