“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” or so goes the song. It’s also one of the busiest and most exhausting. In addition to everything consumers already have piled on their very full plates, they now need to find that perfect gift for Aunt Martha, and get it shipped across the country asap.
As an authorpreneur, it’s worth learning about and responding to your readers’ emotional needs during the Ho, Ho, Ho season. This, of course, means you must already know a bit about them — their likes, dislikes, trials and tribulations, where they hang out online, what they read (besides your book), where their finding new books, etc. If you don’t already know these things, it’s time to start listening and engaging in some conversations.
How people discover new books and writers is changing. A recent Bowker study noted that in 2011 nearly half of consumers changed their book-buying behavior. The Digital Age has given us a plethora of options to discover new books. According to the study, people now discover new books in up to 44 different ways! Do you know how your readers are finding you and your books?
This holiday season make a point to get to know your readers. Continue the giveaways, contests and holiday discounts. Just remember that in addition to those quick holiday sales, there’s an opportunity to foster longer-term relationships with supporters who will follow you throughout your writing career.
So, spread some simple cheer, and get out there and meet your readers. Here are five social icebreakers with a seasonal twist:
• Share – it’s what social is all about. Share a humorous holiday photo, an inspirational quote, a favorite song, cartoon, memory or book. Share a bit of yourself and your world. And when someone shares something that resonates with you, chime in with a comment. It’s a great conversation starter.
• Commiserate – we’re not kidding! Show some compassion! People get stressed out during the holidays. If you see someone having a bad day on Twitter or Facebook, lend some support. Let them know they’re not alone. You’ll be surprised by the power of small, genuine acts of kindness.
• Create – this is our favorite. Create a special holiday short story. You’re a storyteller for goodness sakes. It can be true-life or a complete work of fiction. Whisk your readers away from the chaos, if just for a few minutes. Make them laugh or cry. Thrill or romance them. They’ll be grateful for the diversion. Use your blog, or if you’re on Bublish, use your book bubble’s Author Insight to relate your holiday story to your writing life.
• Give Back – Gratitude goes a long way when people are tired. Do something special for your fans. Send them a digital card or create a special book mark they can download. It doesn’t have to be a big or challenging project, just something to show you care. What’s fascinating about social is that the whole world sees on a regular basis how you treat your readers. Are you shouting, “buy my book,” all the time? Or are you genuinely engaged with the community you are building?
In short, be part of the magic this holiday season, not the noise. Delight, surprise and get to know your readers. In today’s socially connected world, book discovery is a two-way street. You need to discover your readers, so they can discover you.