To be successful, writers need to sell their books to readers and their articles to editors. Connecting with readers is one of the best ways to create and maintain an upwards momentum in a writing career — which is what these tips for selling your writing is all about! I discovered that some popular published authors (Jodi Picoult, for example) are open to actually connecting with readers, while others are completely inaccessible. Guess which writers will be popular longer, selling more books and making more media appearances?
Learning how to connect with readers isn’t just something that published authors need to do to sell more books…it’s something all writers must do if they want to be successful.
Says Brian Aldiss: “A writer should say to himself, not, ‘How can I get more money?’ but ‘How can I reach more readers (without lowering standards)?'”
Connecting with your readers is an effective way to reach more readers, which will translate to increased book sales and more article assignments…which of course means making more money! If you’re marketing your book, you may find Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors, Book Publicity Through Social Networking helpful. And, read on for five ways to connect with readers, based on my recent interactions with Jennifer Weiner, Jodi Picoult, and RL Stine.
Sell Your Books by Connecting With Readers – 5 Tips for Successful Writers
The idea for this blog post came to me at my last book club meeting (if you want to be part of a book club, read 8 Tips for Starting a Book Club for Writers). And today – as I gather info for my new book idea, which involves the participation of successful writers – I realized that even wildly popular published authors are shooting themselves in the foot if they aren’t “connectable.”
Here’s what I learned about being connectable from famous authors…
1. Successful writers respond to reader requests. I know how busy some published authors are – we’re all busy, thank you very much – and I was pleasantly surprised to get an email from the wildly popular Jodi Picoult! She doesn’t really need to connect with readers or writers to market her books, and yet there she was. In my in-box. And, now I’ll feature her book. Even though she declined my request, she’s made a friend.
2. Successful writers are willing to talk about their books, articles, etc. Introverted writers, you have to open up to people because everyone is a potential reader! I met a writer at a dinner the other night, and eventually learned that she was the author of four books. She didn’t want to talk about them at all, which disappointed me as both a reader and a writer. If you want to connect with readers (and market your book), you have to talk about your writing.
3. Successful writers have an authentic yet professional website. Jennifer Weiner has a great website, which includes information for writers (including how she found her literary agent), an easy “Contact me” page, her blog, and her FAQs. It’s so friendly, authentic, and professional – and it made me feel connected to her, even though I’ve never met her.
4. Successful writers have an autoreply. When I emailed “Jen” (Jennifer Weiner), I received an autoreply. It assured me she would read the email and respond if she could – either her website or this autoreply said something about reading all emails, but not being able to respond to every one. Again, this made me feel connected because I felt “heard” – and this makes me more likely to read her novels and praise her to others.
5. Successful writers ditch the website contact form. R.L. Stine has one of those website contact forms; after I wrote, formatted, and perfected my request in it, I hit “submit”, and it just disappeared. I have no idea if it went through, or if I have to re-send it. Those forms may be easy for the writer, but they don’t work well for readers.
Do you have any questions or thoughts about selling your books by connecting with readers — whether you’re a self-published author or freelance magazine writer? Please comment below…