Authors Can Attract
by Bob Baker
(reprinted with permission)
Attracting new fans. Admit it, that's what having
a book published is all about— getting more people to read
your words, know about you, and buy your books. And
hopefully, getting a LOT more people to do those things.
Why else do you work so hard to craft chapters, paragraphs,
sentences—even individual word choices? For what other reason do you
fight off sleep so you can finish just one more section before you
call it a night? I don't believe you go through these things to
amuse yourself and hone your grammar skills in obscurity. You work
hard because you know you have something of value to offer ... and
you want to reach as many people as possible with your ideas.
Marketing is the thing that helps you reach that goal. But
marketing is also a subject that confuses a lot of writers. Whether
they write fiction or nonfiction, are self-published or
traditionally published, writers the world over know they need to
promote themselves. But many don't know where to start, much less
how to continue marketing effectively.
Does this describe you? If so, consider the following scenario:
Let's say you went to an average U.S. city and rounded up 1,000
people and gathered them in a giant VFW hall. These 1,000 folks
would be randomly chosen and made up of people of all ages, genders,
and backgrounds. Next, you'd distribute information about your book,
talk to these people, and even let them read sample chapters.
After this direct exposure, what are the chances that one person
out of those thousand would be attracted to your ideas and personal
identity enough to buy your book? Most writers, regardless of how
obscure their subject matter is, should feel pretty confident about
being able to win over at least one new fan from this group of
1,000. That's a one-tenth of one percent conversion rate.
Now let's multiply that reasonable formula by the entire U.S.
population of 285 million people. One-tenth of one percent would be
285,000 people. That would be enough fans to make you a bonafide
bestselling author. Right?
So how do you find and connect with those one-in-a-thousand
buyers (without the use of VFW halls across the country)? Most
likely, you can't afford the massive advertising budget of major
companies. These corporations spray their marketing message over the
masses, knowing that it'll only stick to a small percentage of the
The solution: You must find creative, low-cost ways to go
directly to those fans who make up that one-tenth of one percent.
Don't waste your time and money promoting yourself to people who
will most likely never embrace your words.
Here are four steps to take to reach those new fans:
1. Define Your Distinct Identity
have a firm grasp on what your writing (or latest book) is about.
And you must be able to define it clearly and quickly. What sets
your book apart from others in its genre? What attitude or social
statement do you (or your book) make? Generic self-help, romance, or
science fiction titles won't cut it. Dig deeper and discover your
unique identity. When you do finally reach some of those rare
potential fans, don't lose them by not being clear about who you
2. Describe Your Ideal Fan
Once you have a
handle on who you are as a writer, it's time to paint a clear
picture of your ideal fan. Can you articulate how your readers
dress, where they work, what TV shows they watch, what they do for
fun, and who their favorite cultural heroes are? Observe the types
of people who come to your public speaking engagements or readings,
and note what they have in common. Conduct simple online surveys
with people who visit your web site or subscribe to your e-zine.
Knowing precisely who your fans are will dictate what avenues you
use to reach them and how you communicate your message once you do
3. List Ways of Getting Access to Your Fans
Once you know exactly what type of fan you're going after, start
making a list of the various resources these specific people are
attracted to. What magazines and newspapers do they read? Where do
they hang out? What radio stations do they listen to? What retail
outlets do they frequent? What web sites do they surf to? What
e-mail newsletters do they subscribe to? For example, if your fans
are mostly Harley riders, go to a search engine like Google and
start entering keywords related to motorcycles. Evaluate the search
results and compile a list of the many good sources you uncover.
4. Network and Promote Yourself and Your Book
Armed with this targeted list of contacts, get busy! Send e-mail
press releases to niche media outlets. Contact the webmasters and
editors of appropriate publications. [Editor's note: Like JAW!] Post
messages in specialized forums. Visit and interact via the web sites
of similar authors or reading groups. Contact organizations and
charities related to your writing niche.
In short, go to where your ideal fans are. And market yourself
through these outlets relentlessly. Why spend too much time and
money trying to promote to everyone ... when you can save money and
be far more effective by going directly to those valuable
is the author of "Unleash the Artist Within," "Guerrilla Music
Marketing Handbook" and "Branding Yourself Online." Get a FREE
subscription to Bob's newsletter, "Quick Tips for Creative People,"
featuring inspiration and low-cost, self-promotion ideas for
artists, writers, performers, and more. Visit
www.PromoteYourCreativity.com for details.
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