The digital revolution has drastically changed where readers buy books, what books they read and in what format they read them. While these changes initially made engaging with and building loyalty among readers a challenge for authors and publishers, the shift online has come to be seen as an enormous marketing opportunity. Digital platforms offer valuable insight into how characters, plot lines and topics are perceived while presenting an opportunity for publishers and authors to directly engage with readers.
The internet offers authors many ways to market and promote a book. Engaging with readers through dedicated websites, blogs, social media outlets and other content media platforms extends a reader’s experience with a book. It allows them to share their opinion and information about it, thus empowering them to advocate for and promote the book through his or her own online channels. Why does a reader share their thoughts on a book? The simple answer: they enjoyed the book and want to encourage others to read it. A more analyzed answer: an author has helped, informed, delighted and inspired a reader and offered easy to share content.
The key to engaging with readers online is to provide easy-to-find content that people want to comment on and share. According to Debbie Elicksen, author of Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age, “Creating great content is about answering a question people have.” Is your content educational? Is it providing insight? Is it inspiring change? Making your content discoverable is vital so initially you’ll want to identify and then listen closely to your niche market. Who are they? What do they like to share? What are they talking about? Who are they following and who follows them? The internet is a sticky web and you will find like minded people clumped together. Find your niche, set up camp and then find engaging ways to deliver content.
The takeaway here is that it doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer writing on personal bankruptcy or a sci-fi author with 2 million unit print runs. Your readers are online therefore you should be too.
For more on how to create an online profile, market your book and build your own digital empire see Debbie Elicksen’s new book Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age. You can also check out her website here or chat her up on twitter @bookpublish101.