By Heather Redding
The U.S book publishing industry rakes in about 26 billion dollars every year. Even so, selling a new book is difficult if your target audience fails to engage with you or your content.
For authors, reader engagement is one of the metrics by which they measure their book’s impact. It’s the act of immersing oneself in a type of content and bonding with the author on various forums. People seek this content out of curiosity, searching for information or pleasure.
Having engaged readers is vital because they can critique the author’s work or, conversely, express gratitude for the content they love. They can also increase engagement by asking additional questions and getting access to valuable information.
So, how do you get your readers to interact with what you offer?
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to increase reader engagement. Whether you’re an independent author marketing your new release on your own, or if you’re in the business of promoting someone else’s book, review the steps below to learn what to do.
Tips for Increasing Reader Engagement When Promoting a New Book
The best way to promote a new book is by establishing an emotional connection with an ideal audience by giving them their preferred content.
Position yourself in the right book market and generate a buzz around the book and its author. You’ll find that most of the interest you get will be from the readers who’ve been actively interacting with you.
Here are some tips to help you get that interaction:
Ask for Fans’ Opinions
Asking fans for their opinions on random subjects makes them feel like they’re part of your life. Once you are ready to promote your book, they’ll see it as a request from a friend rather than a marketing trick. Fan opinions also help you calibrate what they like or dislike, and what might be useful.
Offer them bonus content, like author’s notes or easter eggs, to invite interaction.
For example, ask them about alternative story endings or their favorite characters. Encourage them to tell you which cover they prefer for the next book or share how your books have helped them.
These conversations will give you the opportunity to sell later.
Run Discounts to Encourage Reviews
It always sounds counterintuitive to offer books free or at a discount. The nagging feeling inside says you are losing a sale. In reality, doing so creates more sales.
The idea is to encourage people to review the book to generate buzz and attract buyers. Where possible, find influencers to mention the book.
If the buyers are already following you, they’ll see the discount as a reward for their loyalty and support. Make sure to test what percentage the deals should be. Discover the right balance in pricing and discounting, but don’t short-change yourself.
Offering discounts in advance makes it possible to get more sales when promoting your next book. Even those that don’t need your current book may recommend it to other people.
Run a Creative Author Q&A
Consider hosting a creative author Q&A session in-person or online. Use the session to promote the book and make the audience want to own it.
The author can talk about why they wrote the book and what it means to them. They can explain their writing process to the aspiring authors in the audience and give useful tips.
During the session, direct people to your website, where they’ll get various promotional offers. For instance, provide discount codes or bundles in exchange for their contact information. Then, you can use this information to personalize your book marketing efforts.
If you’ve based the book on a real person, always try asking them for permission before publicly saying their name, as unwanted attention might cause them grief.
However, if they are okay with the name reveal, it could generate greater awareness for the book, especially if they are famous.
Try to maintain an air of mystery around the book and the author. People will find it intriguing, and it will compel them to stick around to learn more. You can use that curiosity to sell more books.
Create a Reader Community
Create a space where your readers can congregate. A designated fan space allows them to bond with each other and get special access to the author. It makes everyone feel part of something special and unique.
Authors can build their own reader community online using different platforms. The community could be in a private social media group or on a website forum.
Spend time each day responding to your community. Share interactive posts to generate comments but make sure you set community guidelines to keep the interactions safe for all users. Select several moderators to remove harmful posts and enforce the rules.
Another great way of promoting your book is by getting attention from relevant websites in your niche. Link building is the best way to achieve that goal. Connecting your website to other reputable sites gives you credibility in the eyes of online algorithms and helps you rank on search engines.
To establish those connections, focus on sharing link-worthy information. Take the time to fix broken links on relevant websites and look for guest posting opportunities.
Join conferences to build your brand and get your name listed on the conference website. These listings and other online mentions provide you the chance for backlinks.
Keep your reader community engaged by choosing captivating titles and writing content often. Send newsletters to your readers, and make emails seem personal before posting your call-to-action.
Tailor your work by reviewing reader comments and queries. Most of all, connect with them on social media and build a relationship.
Remind your readers to share your content themselves. This simple strategy draws more people, and it might convince them to join your community too.
Boost Your New Book
People buy from those they trust, like, and enjoy, which means your new book is more than just a written work. It’s a reward, an experience, and an investment in the author and the story.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Attend meetups, book signings, public book readings, and even give television interviews. Promote the book on social media and connect with other writers and publishers in your niche.
At the end of the day, though, the book’s focus should be all about the reader. Ask yourself what they need and deliver the content they desire. If you engage them and reward them, your book sales will skyrocket.
Heather Redding is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.