Dave Chesson | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksThis is a guest post by Dave Chesson, aka Kindlepreneur. Dave is the creator of Publisher Rocket, his #1 Book Marketing Tool. Connect with him on Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

5 Fun Ideas to Engage Your Readers

Engaging readers is the key to book success. The more you can engage with your readers, the more likely they are to be invested in your book. And the more invested they are in your book, the more they are likely to buy your books. It’s as simple as that.

This blog post will give you five ideas for ways that you can engage with your readers, including ways to engage on social media, your email list, and more.

Let’s get into it.

Reader engagement | From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

1. Share Fun Things on Social Media

Social media is one of those tools that can be hit or miss for a lot of different authors. Generally, it’s recommended that you use one social media platform or another, but don’t try to overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything.

That said, it can be a very good tool for engaging readers, and is different from an email list, because it is more public and open. This can have some distinct advantages.

So how do we engage readers on social media? I have a few suggestions:

  1. Try using things that make reading fun, such as short social media games, book memes, hilarious puns, or things like that. These are items that get a lot of reader engagement and are more likely to lead to social interaction.
  2. Social media is a great place to demonstrate your public author persona and get personal updates about yourself. If you own a pet, pictures of them can be great ways to engage readers. The same goes for babies and family pictures. Just keep in mind that everything you post is a matter of public record, even if your social media is private. Anyone can take what you post and put it anywhere on the Internet, so make sure you’re only posting stuff that you are comfortable sharing with everyone.
  3. I know a lot of authors that have set up Facebook groups for their own worlds, or for specific genres, and have had great success engaging with the readers in that way. Unlike an email list, groups allow readers to not only interact with you, but interact with each other.

2. Try an AMA Session

An AMA is an “ask me anything” session, and these are becoming increasingly popular. Basically, you post on your social media or to your email list that you will be doing an AMA at a certain time, usually about your book or whatever other things people might want to know.

They are quite common on platforms like Reddit but can be used on any social media platform.

Normally the process works like this:

  • You make a post saying that your AMA is coming up
  • People ask questions in the comments and on other social media posts about what they want to know. The more specific, the better!
  • When it’s time for your actual session, you answer as many of those questions as possible until there are no more left

This is one of those things that can be tricky to do well. I recommend doing research into how other authors have executed their own AMAs successfully.

AMAs can be great for reader engagement because they give readers direct access to you, allowing them to ask any burning questions they may have.

Speaking of which, AMAs are a great way for you, the author, to get an idea of what your audience is thinking. The questions that they ask you can be very revealing and can give you ideas for your author career moving forward.

3. Use Live Video

Like the AMA, live video sessions are a great way to engage readers.

However, there is a big difference between an AMA and a Facebook Live Video session: you have to actually be available at the time of the post. And this can make things difficult if your schedule gets too busy or complicated for whatever reason.

That said, it can be great for readers to actually see your face, and virtually interact with you directly.

You can use YouTube or Facebook as the most common platforms for a live video session, and then you can get the word out via social media and your email list.

A live video session typically goes something like this:

  • You make a post to your email list and social media accounts telling people that you’ll be doing a live video session
  • People go to the page or otherwise view it at the designated time
  • Once they’re there, they can ask questions, which you can then answer on camera

Live video sessions can be combined with AMAs, but don’t have to be.

4. Be Active in Genre Forums

There are forums for everything these days, whether you’re into anything from sci-fi horror, to mythology, to philosophy books, you will find an online forum community for that sub-genre.

And book forums are one of the best places to engage readers because they’ve already got an interest in books. You can talk about your book or others that you enjoy, and have a great discussion with people who are just as interested in reading the right kind of books.

People on book forums also tend to be really passionate about what they’re into, so you can expect bookish conversations, book recommendations, and more.

Now you need to make certain that you do not spam these forms, but simply engage with other people who are interested in the same things as you. As you become an active participant, people will begin to see you as a peer, and you may even see more people discovering your books through your interactions.

So get involved! You might just find a new favorite book in the process of trying to engage with your readers on genre-specific forums like these.

5. Be Generous in Your Email List

I always like to default to generosity when it comes to my email list. I will often post snippets from my current work in progress, plenty of short stories, deleted scenes, and other such freebies.

I also like to be generous with information about myself, providing plenty of information about what I’m up to, what I’m into, and other things the readers might find interesting.

Doing these sorts of things can help keep readers get excited about checking for updates every time I send out an email, and makes them more likely to buy the book when it comes out.

The Most Important Thing to Remember…

The most important thing to remember when engaging readers is that you need to be as authentic as possible.

If people feel like they’re reading a book by someone who isn’t being themselves, it will be harder for them to engage with the book on a personal level. But if they can see your passion and excitement about what you write, then they are more likely to engage with you personally, making book-buying decisions based on what they know about your interests.

As an author, it is important that people feel like they can relate to you as a person before they will buy anything from you.

If you like this post, leave a comment and let us know. I’m excited to know the methods that you have used to engage readers.

Happy writing!