Selling Books, Part Three: Building Loyal Fans

There are established authors with publishing houses that have time, money, and influence. If you are a self-motivated author, (self-published) or you are an author at a small traditional house, then how can you compete against the big guns?

Remember that the large publishing houses are purchasing shelf space in bookstores and in the mass-market. They are spending $50,000 a month on their top 1% authors. They have staff members that work on social media for authors all day long. Someone is assisting that author twenty-four hours a day.

Now that I’ve made my point, what can you do? I think this is a perfect time for self-motivated authors to be unique. In fact, you have an advantage over the top 1% selling authors. As they pump money into marketing plans, you can spend time forming relationships with readers.

Large traditional publishers use marketing to focus on their authors. Why don’t you flip that around? You can focus on the readers using free marketing tools.

Established traditional authors use blogs and make comments via social media about their books. You can blog and make comments that are about the reader.

Large traditional publishers pitch their books, which they hope will lead readers to the authors. You can pitch yourself, which will lead readers to your books.

Large traditional publishers are sending messages to millions of people, hoping that a certain percentage will become loyal readers. You can network and be social with a specific target audience, creating a much stronger bond of loyalty.

Large traditional publishers concentrate on increasing new readers. You can concentrate on satisfying your existing readers. Think about this logic. You will receive more frequent purchases from existing readers, than new readers.

Established authors rely on marketing and public relations dollars to find new readers. You can rely on referrals from your existing readers, since you are treating them so well.

Are you seeing a theme? It’s not about publishers or even the author. It’s all about the readers. A smart, self-motivated author can have a greater impact on readers by forming relationships and building trust.

Before I go on, let me say that I’m not putting down the top 1% of authors. They are worth forty to a hundred million dollars. My point is that you want to get on their level. Therefore, you must take the same path as these authors, back when they were worth a couple hundred bucks. They added one reader at a time, until it snowballed into millions of readers.

Here is a way to build your fan base and compete against the top authors right now.

Focus on Readers

  • Are you on social media sites? Great. Then get going and start being social. In the last blog, we discussed your target market. Since you know your ideal reader, along with their interests and needs, then it should be pretty easy to find a social network community filled with your potential readers.

If you write romance novels and your ideal reader belongs to a divorced-singles group on Facebook, then join the group and give your expert feedback. (After all, you are a specialist in romance, or whatever genre you write.)  And don’t you dare ask anyone to buy your book. You are there to be social, as if you attended a party, filled with your ideal readers. And remember that your reader has several criteria’s, so join the appropriate groups.

But how do you sell books that way? Read on.

  • Write content and make comments that provide solutions to your community of ideal readers. You absolutely must be able to answer this question: “What are my readers needs?” You are a problem solver. An expert in romance novels. (Or an expert in young adult books, or an expert in mysteries, etc…)

This tactic is why non-fiction books sell a lot easier than fiction. People are purchasing the book, because it has the answers to their problems. You need to use the non-fiction approach to fulfill a need that your target audience has.

Everything you write in social media and on your blogs, should be about the person reading it. Either you are dedicated to being an author, or you are using social media for personal use. You cannot have both. As you build relationships and trust, the reader will look at your profile or biography, and then they will look at your books. After all, you are the one that can solve their problems!

  • Shhhh….listen. Can you hear that? Well, I can hear you. I was told that you are a self-motivated author on a tight budget. Your dream is to become a career author, selling thousands of books a month, working your way to the one million mark. You want to go on book tours and have your book become a movie. In short, you want to be an author for a living.

How did I know that? Because, I listen to my readers problems. I discover their biggest needs. Then, I try to solve that problem and fill that need.

You may not know this, but I read your comments on Facebook. I belong to 5,000 groups and fan pages. Most of them are authors. I read feedback and I know when you are having a bad day. I understand your struggles. I research key words on Google, to familiarize myself with your requests.

Listen to your audience. Get to know them. Once you do that, you can write for them. If you are writing for them, you can sell books to them.

I’ll continue this blog series with more tips on building an audience and selling your books. For today, let me give you one last piece of advice to sum up my point.

Readers do not care about what you want. Readers care about who you are…

Ron Knight  

I use Brand Eleven Elevento assist me in reaching my target audience and build relationships with my fans. 

Ron Knight

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  1. Word.

    John Locke charges $4.99 for his new eBook. Did you hear John sold 1 million eBooks in 5 months, and is only the 8th writer to do so?

    Ron just gave you the keys to the Kingdom for free.
    Listen. Please.
    -Steve Clark
    Publisher, Heart Press