Writers’ Connection


The Indie Author Audience: Why It’s Important to Have an Established Following Before You Publish a Book

The minute you make the decision to write a book is the ideal time to begin promoting the book and yourself as an author. No matter your end game, it is up to you as an author to generate and maintain interest in your books.

Making that commitment publicly will accomplish a few things. It will motivate you to commit to writing the book. You will be more likely to finish the book. It will create buzz and anticipation for the book. Once the book is available, you will have an initial reader base ready to read and review your book in order to attract others. 

Like a movie trailer, this pre-book time is your opportunity to give readers a preview of what is to come. It will take a lot of time and energy to market and sell the book once it is published. Starting the process as soon as possible allows you to build on that early effort and exponentially increase interest at the right moment.

It is no secret that writing a book is a big time commitment. Whether you choose to self-publish or pursue the traditional route, you will be the one responsible for marketing the book to the appropriate target audience. This is a lot for an author to take on and the skill set required can be learned as you go. The more you prepare in advance and the more creative you can be in the early stages, the better your chances will be of successfully launching and selling that title.

There are some important things you should do to prepare the world for your upcoming book. See how many of these things you can check off the list before you finish writing your book: 

Create an author website – showcase yourself as an author and your upcoming book on a website that will provide readers with all of the information they need to know about you, how to contact you, what you write about and when, where and how to get your book(s).

Build an email list – you can do this right on your website by building in a basic form to collect reader email information to keep them in the know about your plans. Promote a book giveaway to entice readers to easily share their information.

Set up social media sites – LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram are popular with authors and readers. You definitely want at least one site and more than one to reach a wider audience. The demographic varies between sites so if you want to cover all the bases, consider YouTube, Facebook and author-specific sites like SubStack, Medium, or WattPad. Posting pictures, videos and snippets of you talking about your book, about the theme or subject or genre, and the writing process you use will help to reach a wider audience.

Create a hashtag – something specific to your book, theme or story. Use it every time you post about it on social media.

Offer a free chapter or excerpts of the story to build anticipation and interest for readers to check back for more.

Engage readers by asking questions or commenting on similar threads in your genre – you will be pleasantly surprised by how supportive the reading community is of new authors and new books. There is power in word of mouth and in shares and likes in the world of social media.

Run a survey to get reader input on specific ideas, themes, or feedback on story and characters.

Plan a book launch and let readers know exactly when and where to find your new book.

Each author’s version of success varies. You may plan to write and publish a book merely for just that, being a published author. You may desire to see how far you can go selling your stories and make it a side income or complete career change. Maybe you are somewhere in between. No matter your end game, it is up to you as an author to generate and maintain interest in your books. You can choose a level of engagement with the reading world that makes sense for you. If you do have any hopes of being picked up by a traditional publisher, they do like to see that you have done the initial groundwork of building an existing and growing reader base that actively follows you and your writing. This means less work for them up front and will make you a more valuable choice that stands out among other authors in your genre. 

Article written by Anne M. Carroll

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