Personal connections matter!
When I was re-releasing my How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon I relied heavily on my personal connections with readers. These readers really helped to catapult the book up the bestseller list (and it’s still a bestseller as I’m writing this).
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It’s not about sharing what you had for dinner (unless your book is a cookbook) – but it’s about making a personal connection with your readers via your newsletter and social media.
The personal connection readers have with the authors they love matters – and it matters because the more they are connected to you, the more they’ll be willing to do for you, to help you out.
Ads Work – But Only Up to a Point
When an author says to me that they are running ads on Facebook or Amazon, I always think as long as they’re being monitored and have a reasonable ROI, it’s not a bad thing to do. But the problem is most authors stop with ads.
That’s as far as their promotion goes. The biggest problem with an ads-only campaign is that we are generally so overwhelmed.
Ads can work, but not as a single marketing option.
Readers who have a connection to you, there’s ownership there. In fact Goodreads did a study a number of years ago and found that the #1 thing that readers want to do at the end of a book is engage with the author, which is why I always recommend putting a letter in the back of all your books, encouraging readers to get in touch! Once they do, you can start building your tribe from there!
Repetitive Exposure Sells Books
The benefit with a personal connection is not just the connection itself, which is valuable, but this also allows you to show up multiple times in a person’s life – and repetitive exposure sells books.
Like the author we discovered who used branded images with quotes, both quotes she loved and ones from the book – and turned them into eCards for readers to send. Not only are readers now on your website multiple times, but they’re sending cards to potentially new readers, who might check out your books!
Quizzes are also tremendous and really bring people in – because we love quizzes whether it’s something silly like “Which Friends character are you most like?” or something more serious such as a personality quiz to help you get better organized based on your personality type.
Anything that shows you’re thinking of the reader is a great idea. Consider what they want and what will engage them further.
The Long-Term Benefits of a Personal Reader Connection
Most big brands know that the personal connection to their consumer will not just sell one Apple phone, or Peloton bike, but it will sell millions. Readers love to share books they love with friends and family, and building a personal connection with a reader – letting them know they matter – will go a long way to help to foster that personal connection.
It’s About Bringing People Back
We all have a lot going on, sometimes too much. So, staying on someone’s radar screen is tough – especially now. That’s why I love talking about turning fans into super fans.
So, not just treating them like one-off readers, but engaging them in a way that will help sell your book. And one way to do this is through behind-the-scenes stuff.
Because readers love to know what goes on behind the curtain.
For example, you may share your writing process, research process, or the music list that inspires you. Like tours of a chocolate factory, we aren’t learning *how* to make the chocolate per se, but we get to see all the cool processes.
There’s a reason why behind-the-scenes tours are so popular, because people love this kind of thing. And you can do the same.
There is an author who writes thrillers and she’s gotten some great behind-the-scenes stuff because she has been granted permission to spend time in forensic labs and with detectives, so not only is there an authenticity to her writing, but she can share this intricate detail with her readers.
Book recommendations are a way of personally connecting with folks, too. If you’re at a loss for what to share, share the things you love.
I know one author who did this so successfully, she’s now part of the bookstagrammer community on Instagram!
Doing Video Author Events
Especially now – when so many authors are turning to virtual events to plan their book marketing – this is a great way to connect with your audience without having to leave your home or get on a plane.
Recipes or Other Fun Elements from your Book
One year I worked with the author of Cookin’ for Love which was a tremendously funny and fun book. One of the unique elements of it was the recipes at the end of each chapter.
One such recipe for orgasmic cookies was reproduced by her local bakery and we shipped a cookie with each book review request we got (and we got a lot). This also made the author memorable! I mean who is going to forget an orgasmic cookie, right?
Another author we worked with had a book set in Belgium and every book review copy that went out also included a small box of Belgian chocolates – again, memorable.
Being Memorable is the Key to Long-term Success
The special details are the things that make you memorable and help foster that personal reader/author connection.
If you’re going to be successful long-term you need to start putting a bigger emphasis on your brand, and what makes you unique.
Once you feel confident in your branding, a lot of these ideas really come so much easier, so take it one step at a time. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start with your branding, it will serve you well!
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