One time, I found an article online that I really related to from a personal standpoint. I found the writer (who happens to be the author of a self-published book and a motivational speaker) online and sent her a bit of a heartfelt email relating some of my own experiences and thanking her for the article. I also tweeted the link from a personal account at the time and promoted her business on my timeline to hundreds of followers.
In response the author simply added me to her newsletter list. I know this because I received a generic email newsletter issue days later. I promptly blocked her email address.
Your Fans Are Important
I have to look at this situation from a book marketing standpoint. It made me wonder why someone wouldn’t use this type of opportunity to build a relationship and possibly get a book sale. I don’t know?
I would say lack of time, but in the time it took her to add my name to her newsletter account she could have written back “Thanks for your email. FYI, I’m coming out with a new book soon that expands on the points in that article…” That might have led to a prompt purchase or pre-order.
What happens is that sometimes authors and entrepreneurs stop looking at people as people, and start treating them like customers. That’s just not a luxury of a self-published writer — vocal fans who take the time out to contact you are your bread and butter. You should make every effort to respond to them.
Respond to Your Fans
So my book marketing tip #201 is really simple: respond to your fans. I think this is common sense to the majority of unknown authors, but not all. It is extremely hard to get someone’s attention online these days long enough to get a response to what you’re selling.
When I wrote my first novel almost a decade ago, one thing I committed to was promptly responding to emails from fans and inquiries from them about their orders. It paid off, because many of the sales I received were from positive word of mouth. People appreciate it when you take the time to connect with them. I’ve also carried this into my client dealings—I respond to just about every inquiry, whether it is a sale or a general question about book marketing.
So the moral to this story is, if a fan or potential reader takes the time out to email you, email her back.
And build a relationship with that reader beyond just “buy my book.” Respond to her query and tell her a little about yourself and your story if she asks. Ask her about herself too. Remember, it’s not only about you.
If she’s read your book already, thank her for supporting you. Ask her to tell her friends, join your newsletter for updates and add a review to Amazon. Offer her a discount off of your next book or even a freebie—after all this is going to be one of your loyal readers who will most likely spread the word about your books. You can afford to give her a free copy.
You may be surprised at the benefits of sending back a little (love) to people who contact you with positive feedback over time.