One of my “Book Marketing 101: How to Build Book Buzz” students shared her frustration today about the need to have a fan base in place to get a traditional book publishing contract. She had read in Writer’s Digest that publishers want authors to have a minimum of 20,000 monthly blog page views, 5,000 newsletter subscribers, and 5,000 Twitter followers.
She wondered how a “newcomer” could accomplish all of this while also trying to write a book.
What she didn’t say, but what’s also important, is that many people working on books have other jobs that pay the bills while they write, too. How do you fit it all in?
Building a following
Who can blame her — and you — for being frustrated with these new publishing “rules?” On the other hand, I completely understand why publishers want an audience in place before they offer a contract. It’s smart.
Let’s face it: You need an audience waiting for your book even if you’re self-publishing.
It’s nearly impossible to start from ground zero with a book and sell enough copies to make it worth your while financially (and emotionally) if you don’t have some kind of following in place already, whether you refer to it as your fans, followers, or tribe (publishers refer to it as your “platform“).
Don’t wait until you’re writing to find your audience. Start building your platform well before you start writing your book. In fact, author and marketing expert Seth Godin advises authors to start creating that fan base three years before the book is available.
Who’s in your tribe?
Your built-in audience for your book can take the form of Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram connections; YouTube channel subscribers; media connections; blog subscribers; or subscribers to your newsletter.
A list, a blog, and a strong social media presence will give you many ways to reach your fans, your followers, your tribe.
Build that audience even if your book is already out. It will take time to create a fan base, but don’t let that discourage you. Your reward will come through fewer boxes of books stored in your home, more money in your e-book retailer accounts, and messages from readers thanking you for helping them.
How did you build your audience?
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