How to Keep Readers Engaged In Between Novels | NY Book Editors
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Keep Your Book Fandom Engaged With This Guide

FEATURED IMAGE New York Book Editors 2 13 23 Keep Your Book Fandom Engaged With This Guide

Writing is a lonely sport. But all of the self-imposed solitude pays off when you can finally share what you've been working on with others. There's no better feeling than the validation of knowing that other people love your work. They get it, relate to it and want more.

Gaining fans of your work is fantastic and no easy feat. As we mentioned in this post on how to build a fan base, building your community doesn't happen by accident. Sure, some people may stumble upon your work, but for the most part, you're going to be the one going out and finding potential readers who will eventually become your biggest fans. You have to promote the heck out of your book(s) to get the attention that your work deserves.

But if you follow the steps in this post and this post, you'll amass followers who genuinely care about your work.

But making new fans is entirely different from keeping them.

You can't take your fans for granted. Even though they may love your first book, fans are fickle. They'll forget about you. They won't stick around waiting when there's nothing to keep them there.

So, what do you do? You can't crank out books every five minutes like a computer program. It takes time to develop characters and stories that matter. So, how do you keep your fans engaged in the meantime?

That’s what we’re discussing in this guide. Here’s how to stay connected to your community even when you’re between books and not promoting.

Develop Top-of-Mind Awareness

Your first goal should be to stay at the top of your fans' minds. This feat is known as top-of-mind awareness. It doesn't mean that you're the first thought your fans have in the morning; that's slightly creepy. Instead, top-of-mind awareness means that when a reader thinks about books in a specific genre, you and your book(s) are the first thought that pops into their heads.

For example, when I think of space tv shows, I always think of Star Trek first. Of course, several other quality TV shows deal with space exploration, but I'm a lifelong Trekkie, and the Star Trek franchise will always be at the top of my mind when I think of space television shows.

My top of mind for space sci-fi books? No one topples Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles for me. Although I suspect for many others, it would be Frank Herbert's Dune, a masterpiece that spawned an entire franchise of books and even blockbuster movies.

My point is that for the things you love, whether we’re discussing tv shows, books, household products, or anything in between, there will always be one brand that leapfrogs over everyone else. Your goal is to become that brand for your fans.

This post tackled how to create your author brand from scratch.

It may seem unlikely that you can become the go-to standard whenever someone thinks of insert-the-name-of-your-genre-here. But you can! Some of my absolute favorite books are by relatively unknown authors. But when I analyze why these books have become top of mind, I’ve discovered that it’s not just the magic of the story itself but also community engagement. The author was accessible, and the community was passionate. Those two are inextricably connected.

A reader won’t fall in love with a book unless it’s obvious the author loves it first. And no, that’s not just a tired cliche; it’s the most important thing to remember from this guide. If you don’t love your characters, if the story didn’t move you, if the themes didn’t teach you something about the human condition, there’s no use trying to build an engaged fanbase around that book. Better luck next time.

It is possible to fall in love with your book as if you were a fan. And not only attainable; it’s mandatory for building a fanbase. You, yourself, must be a fan of your work.

Here's how to build a fanbase for your books: Be a fan of your own work first.

When you’re a fan, your passion for the characters and the story they tell will propel you forward. It will give you the energy to promote your book with genuine enthusiasm—the same way you would want other fans to do with others.

Being a fan will also push you to be a part of a community of other like-minded fans. It may be your work, but you don’t have to isolate yourself in some ivory tower like an untouchable god. You can participate in the community that you build. You can converse with fans. Listen to feedback and possibly incorporate it into your future works.

Develop Top-of-Mind Awareness

As mentioned above, I developed top-of-mind awareness of books for two reasons. The author is accessible, and the community is engaged and passionate. When an author is interested in cultivating a community around them, that’s appealing. Plus, it’s a modern-day expectation.

Consider this: The Internet has made our world so small and ever-so-connected. These days, if I wanted to chat with Will Smith (not about his wife), I could send him a message on TikTok, and there’s a good chance he’d see it. Most of us are nowhere near as famous as Will Smith, but we all have access to the same tools he uses to stay connected to his fanbases, such as TikTok and Facebook. He doesn’t connect with his fans through movie trailers. When promoting his latest work, he connects by doing interviews, but in between movies, he remains connected by staying active within his social community platforms. As a result, his fans remember him during the time between his films.

You can do the same thing. Swap out Will Smith for you and films for books. Let’s go.

Keep Readers Engaged

Here are a few practical steps to developing your community and top-of-mind awareness.

Establish a Home Base for Your Community

You can have a website, and that’s a great starting point. But unless you have a blog attached, websites are often static and rarely updated. To build an active community, you need an interactive place, such as a forum or a social media platform. Will Smith has leveraged TikTok, and you can, too. You need to be a part of the thriving “authortok” community on TikTok.

You can establish a great fanbase on TikTok or any social media platform. Start with the one you’re most comfortable with, whether TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, or another medium. There’s no wrong answer here. If the platform is home to other authors with thriving communities, you’ll likely find success there, too.

Our Top TikTok Tips for Authors

Post Often

Once you’ve spotted the ideal home for your community, it’s time to create content to attract new fans. Some people will find you independently because you’ve masterfully used your website or Amazon Author Central page to lay a trail of breadcrumbs to your chosen community platform. (You’ll do that by linking to your social media platform(s) on your website or Amazon Author Central page.)

Regularly posting is the secret to rapidly developing your fan community on a social channel. It will keep your fans engaged when you’re not promoting a book.

Post a variety of different content on your community platform. Consider:

  • A peek at your work in progress
  • A day in the life
  • A tour of your desk
  • An interview with your character(s)
  • Insight into your story creation process
  • A live Q&A session

Remember that the goal is to be social. Be sure to interact with the comments—that’s where the gold is. People want to feel heard. Even responding with an appropriate emoji when you don’t have time to write a thoughtful response will validate your follower and prove that you care about their engagement.

Finally, let’s emphasize consistency. Consistency is the key to developing top-of-mind awareness. Keep the conversation going at least weekly. Yes, weekly. People have short attention spans, and if you go for months without posting a quick hello, they’ll eventually disengage, and it will be hard to reignite that fiery passion they once had for your work. However, if you keep a little fire going, even an ember, you’ll be able to fan the flames when it’s time for your book to come out. Get it? Fan the flames? That was fun.

Final Thoughts

Keeping an engaged fan base requires just as much energy as building it. However, your investment of time and energy will pay off. Your loyal fanbase will be there to support you whenever you publish a new book and tell others about you. Keep connected to those who support you, and you'll continue to have a flourishing and fruitful fanbase.

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