Our moms are our number one fan but as an author or an artist, staying contented with that won’t bring much help. Surrounding yourself with people (and not just a single person) who supports your work is crucial for growth. People who would encourage, motivate, and support you in different aspects will help secure your future financially. Fans who love your writing style would more likely purchase your next book release.
Building a healthy fan base isn’t about feeding your vanity. It’s about sharing your gifts with other people and while doing so, they would hopefully share their gifts with you. In this post, we’re going to share some tips in building a healthy fan base from scratch.
Your Fans are More Than Just “Fans”
So what exactly does the word “fan” mean? You might not know it yet but this word actually has a negative connotation. It’s a shortened variation of the word ‘fanatic’ and as this word itself suggests, your supporters are devoted hopelessly to you similar to a stalker.
And this description does not match your average reader. Yes! He/she is more like a fellow lover of the genre that you’re writing. They’re called ‘fellow’ because just like you, they also share the same interest of your genre. The only difference is that you’re the one writing it and they are the ones reading every piece.
The readers who are following you are also the ones who share the same appreciation for the stories that you craft. There’s a natural affinity in them for your way of telling a story. And this shared interest, your readers are becoming like your friends. That’s the best way to think of them if you really want to establish a strong, authentic, and lasting relationship.
And while we’re still talking on this subject, let’s look at the term “fan base”. Even if we’re using this term in this article, think of it as referring to your community of readers and followers. They’re the ones who are focused on meaningful interactions and engagement.
Where To Start and Where Can You Find Your Community?
So let’s start with putting thee bolts and nuts together and learn about the steps in building your community. Where will you start looking for eager readers? These people don’t just gather after your book is published. You’ll need to go out and look for them. The question is how?
You can start by defining the ideal readers of your craft. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What age group will my readers come from?
- What genre of written stuff or books do they love to read?
- Do they have a favorite author? If they do then who is that author?
Next is you’ll need to define your writing style. In order to accomplish this, ask yourself the following questions:
- What kind of genre does your book belong to? It should match your reader’s favorite genre.
- What age group will most of your protagonist come from?
- Who/What’s your primary inspiration for your story
- Which books or authors would you like to be compared to?
Once these questions are answered, you will have a clearer idea where you should go in order to find your community.
Nowadays, it is much quicker to find them on social media such as Facebook for instance. Below are some ways to sift through the millions of people using these platforms and find the right ones who will patronize your work:
Search by Age
Be sure to research which social media platform your readers love to use. To find out the most recent data on social media use by age in the past year (2018), you can view this report. This is a perfect place to start looking for a good placement of your fan base.
Search by Genre
Goodreads has a good insight on the groups of people who enjoy reading a particular genre. Searching for groups by author is also possible on Goodreads. You can participate in the discussions and share your thoughts but remember not to promote your own work. It’s not yet the right time to do so because you’re on the community building stage. Take some time to at least contribute to the community before you go on promoting your own book.
Search by Title or Author
Twitter is a perfect place to find people who are talking about an author or a particular title of a book. The use of hashtags will make it easier for you to find the people who have an interest in a specific author or book title.
Attract these people by first following them in this social media platform. Once these people find out that you’re following them, they will take time to peek at your Twitter page so be sure that it is set up to show that you are an author. A link to your website should also be there and make sure that it is working. If you have a sales page for your book then you need to set it up in your Twitter profile as well and be sure to pin the book on top of your page feed.
Search by Subject Matter
If you want to find a group of people who share the same interest to the subject matter of your book then you can search in Facebook groups. Doing a search on Google for active groups and forums as well as communities that are discussing the same subject matter is also a good idea.
Just like any other group that you join, don’t be on the rush to promote yourself and your work. Focus on contributing your ideas and opinions on certain perspectives and characters of the story. Remember the positive effects of synergy and to kick start this effect, you need to be ready to give more than what you take.
Pretending isn’t welcome as well. Show them who you are and make it work to your advantage. Your unique view of things will pull more and more readers to your book.
Create Your Own Group
Aside from finding some established groups and joining conversations, you will also need to start a group of your own. It is important to build your own community that will talk about your book, brand, genre, or the subject matter where you book focuses on. The easiest way for you to start is on the big social media community known as Facebook.
But why Facebook? Why not Twitter or Instagram? Well, it’s a well-known fact that almost everyone has a Facebook account. This means that this social media platform has a very wide reach because it is easily accessible. It’s also free to create your own fan page, community, or group on Facebook.
It’s okay to start your own fan page on Facebook now and you can name it using “Your Name” + the word “Readers”. (i.e. Jessie Jones Readers).
Doing this will automatically set you as the admin of your fan page. It only takes around 5 minutes to create a group or fan page on Facebook and once you’re done, it is time to start building your own community of readers. Here are some tips that you can follow:
- In your bio, be sure to include a link to your other social media pages. Also, be sure to include a link to your Author Page on Amazon.
- In your other social media pages and even in your blog or website, be sure to add a link to your Facebook page as well.
- Add a link to your Facebook fan page on the signature section of your email.
- Be sure to promote your Facebook fan page/group by way of putting it on your website, in the contact page or make it a regular mainstay item on your sidebar. You can also add it as a special mention on your blog posts.
- Your Facebook group needs people so be sure to invite them to join your community whenever there is a chance.
Encouraging everyone who have joined your Facebook group to also join your email list is also a good idea. Doing this will give you an easy access to your page members even if Facebook shuts down or is unavailable.
Join Writing Competitons
Building a community requires exposure to other people. You can easily do this by joining writing competitions. Winning such contests or placing as one of the prize winners isn’t about validation. A writer becomes a writer after putting some words on a page and believing that he really is one! A good writer pushes himself to do better.
Other folks will surely notice you if you win a writing competition. And the people who love the short-form piece that you wrote will surely love to read your novels and other written works. Below are some contests that you can consider:
- Young Lions Fiction Award
- Drue Heinz Literature Prize
- The Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction
- Crucible: Poetry and Fiction Competition
- The Iowa Short Fiction Award & John Simmons Short Fiction Award
Include Your Contact Details To Your Book
After publishing your book, be sure to lead your readers to the online community that you have established. Here are some things that you can do to accomplish this:
- On the author’s bio or blurb on the cover of your book, be sure to include a link to your Facebook and other social media fan page or group. Also, be sure to put the link to your website or blog.
- Include a link to a landing page that will lead to your email list subscription so you can build a community that you can easily get in touch with through email.
- If your book is on print, use a link that is as short and easy to remember as possible. Your website URL must be easy to remember and remember to put a link on your homepage that leads to your social media community pages.
Building a solid fan base sure takes time and effort. It’s a crucial part in developing your name or brand. Do the steps that we’ve given above and you’ll be on a sure way to success. It does not come easily though so be ready to work hard in order to obtain the sweet reward!