Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Write for the Fans You'll Have in Ten Years

Yesterday while I was peddling away at the gym, I stumbled across the Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast and it quickly became one of my new favorite podcasts to listen to. The episode I watched was #139 with guest author Joanna Penn. It was refreshing to hear authors talk frankly about what works for them (so many seem to keep their trials and errors close to their chest). My big takeaway was: Write for the fans you'll have in the future.

I tend to get caught up in the daily stats of what my writing is doing. Sometimes that can be a really empowering and exciting thing, when a book is climbing the charts because of a promotion or ad campaign. Sometimes, it's immensely depressing when there's nothing but crickets chirping on the charts and graphs. But Joanna Penn made a great point, and it's one that I want to keep front of mind as I continue to work on Curie, book three in my Adaline series.
I'm not writing for the readers that are looking at my website today.
I won't lie and say that my core readers of today aren't my rock. They are! I'm always so excited when someone who has been reading me for years comments on my most recent work. But they aren't really the person I'm writing for. The person I'm writing for is the person ten years from now who discovers one of my books and thinks it's pretty interesting, then falls in love with my writing and reads the rest of my backlist.

So how can we cater to the reader of the future? By writing more quality books for them to stumble upon. Yes! By writing more, we cast a wider net. Instead of finding those mega fans onesey-twosey like we do when we have one or two books, we can find those fans a dozen at a time as we have a broader catalog of work. To make your book successful, you need to have fans who are so excited by your writing that they'll tell everyone they know about it. That's how word of mouth marketing works. When we only have one book for them to trumpet about, they'll be selective in who they tell about us because they likely think that the book they read will only apply to certain people that they know. But what if we have a dozen books? Then they'll be able to share our work with more people because they'll be able to find a reader for each of our books because they enjoy our overall writing style and will find readers who can also connect.

How do I write for my future readers?
I'm doing my best to fill my catalog with interesting and wonderful works so that when those readers find me, whether it's a year, or ten years, or twenty years from now, they have a whole list of works to read through. So what I'm doing today is working towards completing the Adaline series. Later this year I'm going to expand the Convention series to three books, and then I'm adding the second title to the S is for Serial series as well.

So, if you're getting discouraged that your books aren't flying off the shelves (or they aren't getting put on shelves to begin with), take heart. Life is long and winding. As long as you keep pushing forward, readers will find you. Just keep doing your best to put yourself out there. Build your brand, build your backlist, and the success will come.