Today’s Monday Marketing post is all about sharing a little something with your readers to help create connections and build that all-important fan base.
Nobody knows you
If you’ve been following my Monday Marketing segment for a while, you’ll know that building a following is important BEFORE the book comes out. You want to build interest and excitement leading up to the release, not just after.
Many readers don’t want to take a chance on an unknown author, especially if they are self-published as, sadly, there are still biases attached to those who choose that path.
Then again if you needed a plumber do you just randomly choose someone? Maybe. But what’s more likely is that you ask for recommendations from friends and family, check online and look at reviews and testimonials.
But you’re not published. So you don’t have any reviews or testimonials! So what do you do?
Give people a taste of what you can do
You have to garner that faith in your writing yourself. Sure you could get your mum to big you up to all her friends, but unless her friends are your target audience, that’s not really a good method.
So instead, you prove your worth. By sharing some of your work for free.
Now some writers offer their published novel for free. It can work, everyone loves freebies and it can draw in some new followers, create new fans.
But how about we try that before the book is published!
Why you need a Website (or somewhere to share your work)
I’ve already talked about why I think you should create an awesome Author Website as a central hub.
By sharing your work on your own website, the readers are more likely to stick around on your site and check your other pages.
What to share
One to three chapters from the start of the book are great for grabbing a reader’s attention and letting them know if they will like your work.
This is good if you’ve finished the manuscript. You can share the chapters both before and after you’ve published the novel. Author Jenna Moreci does this on her website to garner interest in her story, currently, the first 3 chapters of The Saviour’s Champion are on her website to read.
Even if you haven’t finished the novel, if the early chapters are done and can be heavily edited so they are excellent quality, you can still share them. Get the readers interested and invested in your characters.
This could be a small segment, say a few paragraphs from somewhere within the story (avoid big conflict and any spoilers) just to give the reader a look into your world.
Pick something that has interesting dialogue (remember, no spoilers), a character we can start to learn about etc.
Other works (unconnected)
If you have other work such as short stories, flash fictions or poetry, these can be a great sample to share. They don’t even have to be connected to your actual manuscript.
Remember, it’s not just about getting people interested in your story, it’s about giving them a sample of your writing voice and faith in you as a writer.
It took a long time for me to move past my crippling anxiety to release onto my blog something I had written onto my blog. But I did it. I wanted people to see what I could write. It’s not my best work, especially since short stories are not my thing, but it does have a taste of my style and voice.
When my manuscripts are edited then you will get to see the first chapter or two on this site. But since that was going to be a while and I needed to get over this fear sooner rather than later, I decided to try my hand at some Flash Fiction and shared it.
When you share
You want to grab people with your work, so take pride in it. Don’t just dump in something random you wrote, without any thought.
Make it look professional. Read through the work, tighten it, edit it and make sure spell and grammar are checked.
Add in a picture to create a visual aid to the piece.
Don’t just share it in your blog feed, create a page where you can link the story so that people can find it easily. I have a section under Who Me? (which is my About page) where I list my writing.
Sharing when you’re publishing
I highly recommend you start sharing (some) of your work before you publish. As I said, it’s about reaching your readers early.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also consider it when you’re publishing your novel.
A teaser for the next book
Take a little more time before you publish and create a scene or a chapter for your next book. This works brilliantly if you are writing a trilogy or series.
Add a sample chapter or scene from your next book at the back of your current book under a title called Keep Reading. You want to keep your readers interested.
Don’t have another book? That’s okay, how about adding in a bonus scene at the end, a deleted one you cut or just an extra scene you can write. Maybe an existing scene but from a different character’s POV such as from a minor character, or from the antagonist?
I’ve even seen writers include a short story at the back of the book, often connected in some way to the book’s story, such as how a minor character ended up where they did. A mini backstory.
All this can pull your readers into your world for longer. Deepen that connection to the characters.
It takes confidence
Sharing your work takes guts. Whether it’s with family or friends, beta readers, followers of your website or the general public when you publish. We are always aware that it might not be accepted or it might be judged or ridiculed.
I’m afraid that is just one of those things we have to accept when we take on the mantle of “writer”.
It shouldn’t stop us though. There will be people out there who are ready to fall in love with our stories, our characters. Not everyone will but that’s okay.
You need to take that step, be brave and share your work. Start small, a sample, or a short story. Accept that people may offer unrequested feedback. Listen to it, if it is done with kindness and could help you, then accept it gracefully.
If it isn’t, then dismiss it… gracefully. Don’t lash out when people share their opinions. Be professional and courteous always. If others are rude or cruel, simply ignore them and block their comments. Don’t resort to being rude back.
Before you’re published show people what you can do. A blog is good for this as you can establish a voice, however, if you’re looking to be a fiction writer, then you need to showcase your fiction. So include short stories, flash fiction, a scene, a chapter.
Help people fall in love with your world.
How do you feel about sharing your work?
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Thanks to everyone who reads this blog. I have been receiving such awesome comments and support, it has really kept me going through some rough days.
Thanks to everyone who reblogs my posts, who shares them on social media and who reach out via my contact page. I love hearing from you.