by Katie McCoach
As an author today, you know that every reader is valuable. You love your readers; you want to keep the ones who are loyal and reach new ones. That’s what promotion and growing a business is all about – reaching new consumers.
That’s why it’s so important for authors to be as accessible to readers as possible.The easier a reader can find you and buy your books, the easier it will be to reach wider audiences.
Here are some suggestions for broadening your reach online and in person:
1. Have a website. This is the easiest & best way to reach audiences, as so much buying takes place online. If a person hears about you or your book, they should be able to search your name and/or book title, and find you online.
List your website in your bio, in every blog post, on your social media profiles, business cards, promo items, and in the books themselves.
2. Include Buy Now buttons. Put those purchase links on your website, in your newsletter, and in your other books. If you offer content for free, make sure it’s easy for readers to directly purchase your next book, or hop on to your website or vendor page to buy more.
3. Do not make readers search. They shouldn’t have to dig up your previous books, the links to buy them, or your contact information. Let people get in touch with you! Be accessible for interviews, fan emails, speaking events, and more. You never know what you might miss if a person can’t easily locate your contact info.
4. Vendor options. Readers enjoy options. List on your website where readers can buy your books, especially if they aren’t widely available.
PS. Make sure your book is listed on Goodreads whether you have an author profile or not.
1. Vendor options. Reach out to local bookstores and ask if they’ll stock your book. Do the same for the local libraries; donate a few copies if you have to.
2. Have books on hand. If you host an event or book signing, be sure you have copies to sell right then and there, or that the bookstore has copies for readers to buy. Confirm with the location beforehand, and still always bring your own.
On a similar note, always bring business cards and/or promotional items to events. This is especially great for those who didn’t buy a book but still want to learn more about you.
3. Purchase options. Accept numerous forms of payment; credit card, PayPal, Square, Venmo, Stripe, cash. If a customer has to buy the book later, they are much less likely.
I attended an event once and I wanted to buy the author’s book right then and there. The author had copies, and I had money.
Except, the author was only accepting cash, and I never keep bills on me. I had actually just donated my only $5 in cash to her event to help with food and supplies.
Her book was $6 cash. Great deal, right? I asked if she was able to accept any other form of payment, because I was happy to do literally any option that would have worked for her. Venmo, PayPal, Credit Card, etc. I would have even downloaded a new app on my phone or emailed her the funds via PayPal.
“No, I don’t do that. You can buy it on Amazon.”
The book was the same price in person as it would have been on Amazon, so there was no deal for buying it that day in cash. I would have even paid more to buy it via PayPal to take the copy home that day, plus she would have made more money off that sale than through Amazon. And, the author didn’t provide anything for me to be able to easily find the book again – no business card, no easy website link, no contact info.
If you tell a reader to buy the book somewhere else, they are much less likely.
I’ve since forgotten the author’s name or any resemblance of a book title. And the book isn’t easily searchable, because it’s similar to so many other books out there.
By limiting your accessibility to readers, you’re limiting your market. And wouldn’t you love to reach new readers?
Guest post contributed by Katie McCoach. Katie is a member of Romance Writers of America and the Editorial Freelancers Association. She’s had essays published in TrainWrite and Kalliope and is currently writing a contemporary romance novel. For advice on editing, writing, and publishing, visit her blog and be sure to also follow her on Twitter.