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This is in a way the most difficult thing about self-publishing – finding people who are interested to buy your books. I am in no way an expert on this, so all I have here are my thoughts on a process I am trying to work through. You can write the best book in the world, but then have it wither away in obscurity. There are hundreds of books published every day, so you need to start thinking about raising your profile, before you even publish your first book.

There are different places you can go to build an audience: social media, newsletters, blog, etc. So choose your method(s) and create a plan for what you will post where. My advice would be not to try to do everything everywhere as each platform has it’s own idiosyncrasies. And to keep reviewing how much engagement you have and how you feel about what you’re posting.

It is easy to get carried away with the search for ever higher numbers of followers, likes or reach. But you need to think about who those people are. Other writers are also keen to improve their figures, and I’ve found it’s very easy to boost your numbers through an ever-enlarging circle of other creatives. But your main aim with these tools should be to engage readers. To become a name they’ve heard of. Though making contact with other authors in your genre and getting to know them is a good idea too.

There is mixed advice on whether to invite your friends to like/follow your author profiles. On the positive, it can be an easier way to get those first few likes and to start building your audience. On the other hand, are they really your desired audience? How well do they fit the profile of your ideal reader? How many of them do you think will pick up your book and enjoy it? If they won’t then they’re probably not the right people to start building your audience with. (Though that is in no way a value judgement on them or your friendship!)

Then the question is what to post. And in order to best do this you need to have an idea about who your ideal reader is. Then you post things that they will be interested in. But this is so much easier said than done. And is a bit of a trial and error too. Most of the social media algorithms show more frequently posts that have more engagement. So in order to get your post shown to the most number of people those who do see it need to click/like/vote/reply etc. Which is difficult to do if it’s not shown to anyone.

Whatever you do the key is to engage with other people, add value (so don’t always post buy my book) and to ask questions. Reply, comment, share, and join in with what other people are doing. There are no easy ways to build an audience, at least not that I’ve found! So concentrate on what you’re giving to your followers and then they will start recommending you to friends too. At least that’s the hope!

What are your tips for engaging and building an audience?

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