I’m struggling a little with these posts, not sure they’re structured right. Anyway, here’s another post about some other ways to increase awareness and discoverability of your work.
I’m not a huge fan of in-person methods. For the most part, in-person events do not provide huge visibility or return on your time. For example, a talk about your book in a library might get you 20-30 listeners, maybe a half dozen sales at most for 3-4 hours or more of your time.
Full time book tours and signings can take up even more time from what I understand with very varied results. This kind of building up of a fan base, in my opinion, is better at developing and strengthening connections with existing fans rather than creating new ones.
Still, here’s a few examples of in-person methods that I know of:
- book tours & signings
- library and school visits
Newsletters and E-mail Swaps
Now, firstly, in many countries, sharing the e-mails of people who have subscribed to your newsletter without their prior consent is illegal. Please check local ordinances and US laws before you play with newsletters and sharing content.
In the majority of cases, when people talk about newsletter swaps, they mean sharing reviews / promotions about a new book / a new author on the newsletter to their clientele (with images and links); rather than giving access to the e-mails. In turn, you promise to do the same with your readers.
Now, if you want to collect new e-mails, you can add in wrinkles to this. For example, you could give away free books to anyone who subscribes to your newsletter and make sure that offer is available / mentioned in the swap you just did.
Bookfunnel and StoryOrigin are two sites that organise large scale swaps or sale mentions of this kind. However, contacting authors you like in-person can actually create better results.
Your Own Website & Providing a Service
Obviously, having a website is useful for basic information and providing information to existing fans. However, many authors make use of their websites to drive traffic to their own work by providing a service.
That service can come in many forms:
- writing about a subject you have deep knowledge of (preferably one that relates to your genre). Example, talking about swords or horses or armour for fantasy, or historical corrections on popular media franchises.
- hosting lists and detailed information (e.g. new releases in your genre, books on sale, upcoming releases and sales, interviews of authors)
- contests and critiques (Mark Lawrence’s SPFBO for example is huge!)
The list goes on and really, is restricted by your imagination. The point is that by providing a service that is in demand can generate interest in your website and thus your work.
Word of warning – make sure it mostly relates to your works in some ways. For a service that does nothing for sales, look at these blog posts. Sure, some readers might read it for fun, but for the most part, it’s targeted at authors who are a small subset of my readers. It’s really kind of useless as a discoverability method. Luckily, I don’t write these posts for that reason.
Free Fiction Sites & Free Work
One of the more interesting methods I’ve seen crop up is the use of free fiction sites like Wattpad, Royal Road, etc to give away work for free. Using platforms that have been created by others but which thrive on work created for them for free, you attempt to draw in new readers to your work.
It can be highly successful. Look at the statistics on some of the pages read. It can also generate a decent degree of funds, especially in Patreon revenue and, subsequently, sales in other areas.
The advantage of these sites are that they are spending their money to generate the readers. The concern is that some sites (Wattpad as an example) are not very good at increasing discoverability for new work. Other sites are much better at that, so keep an eye on such things.
Side Note – Networking
Networking with other authors does not lead to much direct discoverability. However, it can lead to a lot of side benefits. Everything from said author (who might or might not have a huge fan base themselves!) promoting your work, providing you insight into the business and who might be able to get your foot into the door into exclusive opportunities. This can range from being asked to join an anthology for shorts to Storybundles to a joint promo.
I will say this, and it bears remembering – don’t network with the intent to get benefits. Be a human person. Connect with people because they are cool, and it’s fun and writing is a lonely job that is hard sometimes for non-writers to understand. Especially if you are indie.
The benefits (if there are any) come later. If you go into all of your relationships expecting to get something from it, you will come off fake and eventually ignored or frozen out. Still, some of the opportunities I’ve been given have come about because of the people I know.
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