When I read Neil Ostroff’s LinkedIn discussion about how hard he works to connect personally with readers, I asked him to share his story here. And so you know . . . Neil Ostroff has been a published author of dark, noir thrillers, romance thrillers, and middle grade sci/fi and paranormal novels including Drop Out for more than 20 years. He is an avid poker player when not working on his novels. Learn more on his blog.
The secret to enticing readers
By Neil Ostroff
I recently had my first sit down interview with a magazine reporter and she asked me the question, “Once an author indie publishes a book, how do they get that book noticed?” I told the reporter the standard replies of using social networking and placing sponsorship ads on reader websites, but then I thought about what has helped me sell the most books. And I replied, “Communication with my readers.”
It is well known among the indie writer community that the best way to sell books is through word of mouth. No paid advertisement can beat a real live human being praising your book to another reader. So, how do you create word of mouth?
Make the time
I spend a minimum of two hours a day personally answering every e-mail, comment, or fan question that comes my way. I’ve joined dozens of Facebook writers groups and Google+ groups and actually interact with real readers and people who love books.
I’ve watched my sales grow steadily as I discuss my books with readers and see my fan base grow. There’s nothing more personally and artistically satisfying than someone telling me they are buying one of my books and then writing me later telling me how much they enjoyed it. This is how you build readership! This is how you sell books!
Yes, it does take away a tremendous amount of my writing time to personally answer each and every inquiry, but I wouldn’t trade interacting with my readers for anything in the world. Go ahead, drop me a note or pick up one of my books and let me know what you think. I will get back to you.
What’s your best tip for connecting with readers?