Many people dream of writing a book one day. Not very many of those people actively write content on a daily or even semi-consistent basis. Even fewer actually sit down to write a book.
When it comes to actually publishing that finished book, several find that they have no audience to promote to. Sure, friends and family are a start, but I’m talking about people who read in your genre, will buy your book, and will continue to follow your progress.
We need an audience.
But how can we even build an audience of people who want our writing without having published before?
This is a huge asset for non-fiction writers. When you blog about your topic, you build credibility, especially if you do it often. Write in your niche where you plan to publish a book and always leave a CTA at the end of your post directing them to your mailing list.
For fiction writers, this is a little tougher. Most people don’t blog fiction, but you can. Think about sharing some tips about the genre you write. For example, fantasy writers can blog about how they build worlds. Romance writers can blog about where they find ideas and which tropes are their favorite. Remember, you’re also a reader. Think about what type of blog topic you’d read if you were a fantasy reader looking for your favorite author’s blog.
While I write fiction novels, I still love to write these types of articles. Will I get people to follow my fantasy/YA/magical realism work from here? Maybe, but less so than if I were writing a non-fiction book about audience building or publishing for the first time. Still, several of my articles are geared toward those topics.
Another great option is to guest blog with other authors in your niche. Non-fiction writers can look for blogs that share the type of audience they want. Fiction writers can look for similar authors in their genre and share posts there. You can even do book mentions or newsletter swaps where you share posts from fellow authors or promote their work in exchange for them promoting yours.
As an unpublished author, readers are going to want to know what they’ll get from your writing. They’ll sign up for freebies and stick around if it fits their style. That’s why promoting reader magnets in exchange for email addresses is a great way to get your work in front of people.
Consider giving away a few chapters via reader magnet. Write a short story to give away. Non-fiction writers can give away an ebook about the top five tips in their niche.
Sure, you might get some people signing up for the free item and then unsubscribing, but you didn’t want them on your list anyway. Think about a low cost offering you can give people that won’t harm your brand or cost you too much time or effort.
People who join my list will get early chapters of a new novel as well as a short story. These are easy things to give away and low cost for me. Plus, it gets people interested in my work and they might go on to purchase the full book or stick around for others.
Other incentives include blog posts before they are published, free access to material (I personally share the friend links of Medium posts on all of my newsletters), and inside looks or interaction with the author.
We live in a connected world. Hop on the Internet and you can talk with strangers and make new connections. Just the other day, I made two new connections in the writer world just by commenting on other people’s posts.
Look for hashtags or popular people in your niche. Figure out what content their fans interact with. Emulate those creators and interact. I get at least four new follows every time I make a comment on someone’s tweet.
Make graphics and promote quotes on your pages. Share snippets of your WIP and other subject matter experts. Be present.
Remember, as an unpublished author, you have to sell yourself as a brand and as a person. Be authentic but also remember that everything you do can be seen.
While no one is perfect, the key to building and keeping an audience is consistent quality.
Many writers who are more experienced, even if they don’t publish, can post every day and even more than once. Some successful writers only post once a week or month. Whatever path you choose, you have to make sure you’re putting out quality content.
You are first and foremost a writer which means your focus needs to be on writing. Double check your work. Do thorough edits. Put your best work forward.
People will gravitate toward quality, not quantity.
Many unpublished authors think they need to have their hands in every basket. Instead, focus on one or two things that you can really excel at. Blogging takes time, but it’s a great SEO builder. If you don’t have the time or effort to produce quality blogs, focus instead on social media. Pick a couple platforms and try to grow there.
Again, writing quality material is what gets people to stick around. Focus on producing a great book and your audience will grow from there.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get more articles like this.
This article was originally published on Medium.