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Listbuilding 201

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the importance of building your writing list, but in the past few days, I’ve heard a few more tips that I thought I would pass on.

1. Don’t “pollute” your list. I recently learned that when you put out a book on Amazon, let’s say it is a romance novel, you shouldn’t ask your mother, siblings, or coworkers to go buy your book unless they are fans of that genre. Otherwise, Amazon will look at the buyer’s reading habits and assume that there is some type of correlation between your book and their normal reading. Thus if mom is a fan of murder mysteries and you just wrote a romance, Amazon will wonder if it is a romantic murder, and will try to link your book to other murder mysteries. Thus, with each book that you write, or each genre, you want to try to build a unique audience for that book from fans that you find organically. You do this of course by advertising on Facebook, doing readings at conventions, and so on.

2. Your image. Whenever I have been photographed by a newspaper or magazine photographer, they beg you to get into one of two poses. Either they want to show you hard at work on your manual typewriter (I haven’t used one of those since 1973!) or else they want to show you giving what I call “the glassy-eyed stare.” 

You know what I mean: they want you staring off out a window or something as if you’re envisioning strange new worlds.

Find something more interesting. Thriller writer Marta Sprout has a picture of her swimming with a mighty big whale shark. I thought that was a good one. A horror writer friend of mine once found herself outside a French cathedral that was being remodeled, and she squatted down among a pile of stone gargoyles. She found that when she sent out her next press release to newspapers, more than 90% of them published her story. Glassy-eyed writers staring off into space don’t sell.

3. Your list. You need to have a program that lets you capture the readers’ names, email addresses, and locations. The reason that you need the first two is so that you can send them copies of your newsletter, but you want to know where they live in case you happen to be speaking or doing a book signing in their area.  Thus, if you happen to be going to Kansas, you might want to alert fans in the area.

4. Your reader magnets. A reader magnet is something you put on your site to convince readers that you’re worth following. You might try putting up a 

  • Sample chapter or excerpt from a novel
  • Short story
  • Outtakes from your novel
  • A great cover quote from a reviewer
  • News of any awards that you have won
  • An audio file of you speaking on a topic of interest or perhaps reading your own work (you can send these to readers now using Bookfunnel)
  • An interesting written or audio interview
  • An essay on “Why I wrote this book”? Or you can tell interesting stories about things that happened while you were writing the book.

Remember that your goal in creating your reader magnets is to “be remarkable.” What does that mean? It means that you want people to not only be interested in you but to talk about you and your work with their friends.

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What the Apex Writers are up to

Apex writer Marta Spout has recently released a thriller, suspense novel called Kill Notice. It is well worth the read!

Life, The Universe, and Everything

I’ll be teaching a one-day workshop called “Steps to Becoming a Bestseller” on February 12 at Life, The Universe, and Everything.

Here is a link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/life-the-universe-and-everything-symposium-2020-registration-54893635341

You will need to click on register and scroll down the page to see the information.

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