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Readers and the social media

“If your readers aren’t on Tumblr, there’s no point in wasting your time with it.”
The above wisdom sailed down my Twitter stream the other day. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the good sense to favour it so that I could give you the exact quote or – more importantly – who came up with it. But the message is understood without them:
In order to reach new readers, you have to be present where they are. It won’t happen the other way round.
Back in a day, authors would only be available at a given time and place, i.e. on book tours. Readers would either show up or not, depending on the popularity of the author. Book tours haven’t disappeared anywhere, but they have become a luxury that publishers pay only for selected few. For most self-published authors, they aren’t an option at all.

Thankfully, there’s the social media, where authors can be available at all times for everyone, everywhere. Depending on the popularity of the platform you use, the number of potential readers you could reach can be substantial. Provided it’s the platform your readers use.


My personal favourite platform is Twitter. I like the fast pace, the amount of information I find there, and the ease of communicating with complete strangers. I have a nice following there, to whom I tweet regularly about my books too.

But here’s the rub: my Twitter followers aren’t my readers. Most of my following is fellow self-published authors, most of whom couldn’t give a damn about my books. So, from a marketing point of view, Twitter is the waste of my time.

Good thing I like it for personal reasons.

The same is true with other platforms. Tumblr may be great for what it’s created for, but if your readers don’t use it, investing a lot of time and effort on it, expecting it to generate sales, is pointless. Most opt for Facebook, as statistically readers of any genre or author are likely to be found there. But even Facebook won’t help marketing your books, if you only ever reach other authors there.

The difficult part – obviously – is finding where your readers are. The biggest might not always be the best place for you to be. For example, writers of middle grade books might find their readers on one of those new platforms that are more popular than Facebook among school children – even if it’s their parents that ultimately buy the books. A smaller forum specialised on your topic might work well too.

Your effort should be put on finding the readers, not on spending time on all platforms with the hopes that one of them might work. Only very dedicated readers make the effort of finding the author, and that only after they have already read and liked something by them. Your presence on multiple platforms works brilliantly for that. But to find new readers, you have to go where they are.

That said, I won’t give up Twitter, no matter how much time I spend on it – which is too much. However, I finally caved and opened a Facebook page. I’m not a fan of FB, and I don’t really know how to use it, but it is the platform where my readers are, and therefore I have to be there too. Take a look, and then ask yourself, is this were my readers are? Or should I be elsewhere?

Comments

  1. I have SUCH trouble with this, and am in the same situation as you. Also, to find readers, we have to know our target audience; that's something I struggle with. I get positive (and negative) reviews from such a variety of people it's really hard to drill down which readers will like my work and which won't.

    Great post! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Geoff. :) I don't know where my readers are either, only where they aren't.

      Delete

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