Reader Loyalty

When should an author start to worry about reader loyalty? When they sell their first book? When the first book hits the book stores or e-store? After they sell their second or third book?

The answer, according to Barbara Vey and Dianna Love, is before any of the above happens. Writers should begin to build reader loyalty as soon as they decide upon becoming a published author.

On Saturday, May 25, 2011, Barbara Vey and Dianna Love presented a workshop for Georgia Romance Writers. Their chosen topic—Reader Loyalty. For those who don’t know her, Barbara Vey writes the blog--Beyond Her Book, for Publishers Weekly where she reviews romance novels. BarbaraVey, has become a household name for nearly all romance readers and writers. Joining Barbara was Georgia Romance Writers member and NYT best selling author, Dianna Love. The workshop was packed with information that every author should know and every aspiring author must learn. It’s a tough market and changing everyday. To be successful, we must learn to use social media to our advantage, Barbara and Dianna went a long way toward helping us learn to do just that. I can’t take credit for this information, it came straight from notes I made during the workshop.

According to Barbara and Dianna, you want to brand yourself. Reader Loyalty begins before you sell your book. You want the readers to know all about you, so that when your book comes out you will have a built in audience.

One way to build reader awareness is to hold virtual parties. You should network, go beyond the usual writer’s websites and reach out to the readers. Readers love it when you give away stuff. They will return to your blog if you give away freebies. Other authors may be enticed to give items for your virtual party. It will give them free advertising, introduce them to new readers and keep their name up for reader recognition.

BarbaraVey started the trend with her very popular blog, Beyond her Book, when she held the first virtual party that was so successful that it has become an international event. Barbara offers links to blogs that are giving away freebies. This is an excellent way to get your name out and build reader loyalty. Blogs like Seekerville, Pinkfuzzyslipperwriters and Petitfoursandhottamales are examples of using blogs to build reader loyalty.

Use your blog to connect to readers, allow them to get to know you before you sell. They will become loyal readers because of the connection made through blogging. Dianna suggests doing blog tours rather than having your own blog. She uses this method and has been very successful.

Go meet the readers and give them a reason to read your type of writing. If the reader doesn’t like your subgenre, suggest some they might like. Ask what they read. Then they might give yours a try. Meet people and talk around your book, don’t push it. When they go to get a book, they will remember that you were nice and will become a loyal reader for you.

On FaceBook and Twitter use your name. Buy your domain name, and then use it to build your brand. If you have a website, keep it updated. Always have your latest book up there! Barbara Vey branded her name-not her real name- she made it up-but it is now one that everyone knows. If you do that people will feel they know you and will recognize you and buy your book.

To keep your readers you’ve got to show that you like/love/respect your readers. You are only as great as they make you!

When you blog, be sure to go back and answer the questions, that builds readership. If people take time to read, comment and ask questions, then you owe it to them to respond!

Facebook is bringing together readers/writers. Readers want give aways! That’s what brings in traffic. Giving away the prizes brings in readers. You don’t want to say buy my book, buy my book, you say my book releases—ask what the readers want you to give away.

At signings, always talk to the readers first. Don’t talk to the people beside you instead. Be friendly and focus on the readers. Do not sit and talk with your writer friends and leave the readers standing ignored. They will find someone who will pay attention to them and that’s the book they will buy.

Remember Barbara Vey’s Beyond her book offers give away Mondays on her blog—if you are doing a give a way—free stuff—email it to her and she will post it, it drives traffic to your blog—you have to be giving away something free—

If you are doing a blog for readers let them know it’s for readers—make it what they want—talk to them like you talk in real life—make a connection to the reader –Barbara tweeted that she has her top on backward, tweeted that she was pretty sure she put her bra on right—got many, many comments. Find a common ground and connect with readers through that. Make it a party. Do a give away that is for the readers—use the comments.

Dianna’s rule, do not do any posting where there are any negative comments. It’s a difficult business, don’t need the negative. If someone gives a positive review—she always tries to post a thank you.

If you’re going to do something, do it at a site that has traffic.

If someone makes negative comments, do not engage.

Finally, if your book is featured on Barbara’s blog, be sure to respond-- It is so important to respond when Barbara puts your book on her blog, readers ask if the author has responded and if the author hasn’t, they say that they won’t read the author again if they can’t be bothered to respond.

This was a very informative workshop and both Barbara and Dianna are top notch! Thanks so much ladies for all the information, I've enjoyed sharing with these facts with the pink fuzzies. I hope it will help us all learn to builder Reader Loyalty regardless of the stage of our careers.

20 comments

  1. Autumn Jordon // May 26, 2011 at 1:37 PM  

    Scarlet, Thank you so much for sharing what you learned from these great industry professionlas. With a release coming up in three weeks, this was so helpful. Thank you, thank you.

  2. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 2:42 PM  

    Autumn, I'm glad you found this helpful. I thought the workshop was awesome and I tried very hard to take good notes to share with all my favorite fuzzies.

  3. Tamara LeBlanc // May 26, 2011 at 3:45 PM  

    Scarlet,
    I really loved this post!
    I was at the meeting this past weekend and got alot out of Dianna's and Barbara's talk. But your recap of it really hit the message home.
    I'll be bookmarking this post to refer back to it every so often.
    Thanks so much for the info!
    Have a great day:)
    Tamara

  4. Donnell // May 26, 2011 at 4:30 PM  

    Wonderful blog. I heard about your Georgia presentation all the way in Colorado. So true. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.

  5. Barbara Monajem // May 26, 2011 at 5:12 PM  

    Great recap, Scarlet. As Tamara said, it's a post to bookmark. Thanks!

  6. Pamela Varnado // May 26, 2011 at 5:47 PM  

    Scarlet, I'm disappointed I missed the talk by Barbara and Diana. Both of them are wonderful women who are eager to share their vast amount of industry knowledge with all writers. Thanks for recapping the presentation. Your post is loaded with so much useful information that I created a word document and saved it all for future reference.

  7. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 5:52 PM  

    Tamara, I'm glad you found the recap useful. I tried to hit the highlights. There was so much useful info that tit was really hard to shorten it. I started to just upload the complete file of notes, but there were too many typos for people to be able to read it!

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 5:53 PM  

    Donnell, thanks for stopping by the fuzzies today. Aren't Barbara and Dianna wonderful? They are so good about sharing their knowledge that I am in awe of them.

  9. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM  

    Barbara thanks for stopping by I'm glad everyone found this useful.

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 5:55 PM  

    Pam, well you know how bad the typos are because I sent you the entire file! LOL glad you found this useful.

  11. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 5:56 PM  

    For those of you wondering, MM is computer challenged today. She was going to the Mac store at 5:30 to get the problem taken care of. Looking for her to come roaring in any minute now!

  12. Nightingale // May 26, 2011 at 6:17 PM  

    Wish I could have attended that workshop! GRW has some really great events. I frequently give away mugs, hats, pens, etc. I need to have these giveaways posted with Barbara, I guess.

  13. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 7:53 PM  

    Yes, she posts them on Mondays and will post if you are giving away something. You have to be giving away something and then you get the free link that will drive traffic to your sight. It's a good deal!

  14. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM  

    Update on MM. Computer fixed, but she is in the middle of watching a police take down in downtown Atlanta. She is texting me the details play by play. I told her to be careful and stay safe!

  15. Hariklia // May 27, 2011 at 12:55 AM  

    Good to know I'm doing something right – I don't have a book out, yet; but I'm trying to get followers on my blog that might turn out to be book buyers.
    Thanks for the pointers,
    Hariklia

  16. Scarlet Pumpernickel // May 27, 2011 at 2:09 AM  

    Hariklia thanks for stopping by the pink fuzzies. I hope you found the blog useful. BarbaraVey and Dianna Love are two of the smartest ladies I've ever met. Come back and visit with us again.

  17. Beth Trissel // May 28, 2011 at 4:38 PM  

    Very informative post. Thanks. :)

  18. Josie // May 28, 2011 at 8:49 PM  

    Scarlet,
    What a wonderful and informative workshop Dianna and Barbara gave. Thanks for sharing the info.

  19. Mary Ricksen // May 29, 2011 at 1:12 PM  

    Great blog Scarlet. This is the first time blogger has let me comment!!!
    Thanks for the info!!

  20. Mary Marvella // May 30, 2011 at 1:18 AM  

    Finally! Barbara and Dianna rocked! Now to do some of the things they suggested.

    Good job reporting, Scarlet.