Wednesday, August 22, 2018

How Do You Make A Living Writing? Easy... You Need Fans

If you read any writer blogs (mine included) you'll find dozens of entries about how to get more people to look at your books. You'll find all kinds of advice on how to take advantage of algorithms, which platforms to use for the best signal boost, and how often you should update your social media... but every now and against it's important to remind yourself where your money comes from.

Because it comes from your readers. You could have a utility belt of cool gadgets and marketing theories, but when it comes down to it, without your readers you aren't clearing any checks any time soon.

There's a new one in the series? Score!
So before you get too caught up in writing a new blog post, sharing a new status update, or in putting together another ad campaign for your book, remember, those are the means, not the end.

Focusing On Fans Gives You Some Perspective

You need to hit big numbers in order to clear big paydays, but it's important to take a moment to remember that every one of those numbers out there is a person. They're someone who selected your work, and who read it. They had an experience with something you created, and they came to you looking for something particular. They gave you their time, their energy, and in a lot of cases, they gave you their money.

Thank you, Sumo_577. I will never forget you.
Aside from feeling humbled that there are people out there who voraciously consume your work (or who like it enough to review it and tell their friends about you), it helps to remember that you're not just pleasing algorithms and getting arbitrary up-views from robots. You write for people, and it is those people who constitute your audience.

Then you need to act accordingly.

That means when you're posting in a forum, remember that the people who see your words will form opinions of you. When you're on a panel, or giving an interview, think about the ramifications of what you say, and the thoughts you express. If you're frazzled and stressed, but someone got the courage to approach to ask for a photo or an autograph, remember that they support you. Be polite, be professional, and always thank them for the help they give you. Basically all the stuff I mentioned a while ago in Your Brand is Just as Important as Your Books.

There's more than just cultivating your image, though; you need to treat your readers (and potential readers) like people.

That means you should climb down off your soap box, and talk to people rather than talking at people. Engage with them, and have a conversation rather than shouting out your view, thought, or ad for your book and then walking away. If someone talks about your work, take a moment to thank them. Be sincere. And, if you really want to sweeten the deal, give them something for free as a way to thank them for being one of your readers. An ebook usually works nicely, because even if they don't prefer electronic reading, it often is the thought that counts because it shows that you noticed them, and value them.

Once you get into this kind of mindset, and you incorporate it into your attitude and practices, you might be surprised how many people it draws. And especially how many readers will keep coming back (or offer other forms of support for your work) once they realize you aren't just thinking of them as numbers on your monthly royalty statement.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing installment. If you like my work, and want to see more of it, remember to check out my Vocal archive! If you'd like to help support me, then consider leaving me a small tip by Buying Me A Ko-Fi, or becoming a regular patron over on The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page. Either way, some free stuff and my gratitude will both be yours! Lastly, to stay on top of all my latest updates just follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter.

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