As you begin to build authentic relationships with your readers, new opportunities for growth and sustainability will become available to you.
As an author, your relationship with your readers is everything. Your readers are the very reason for your existence, and without them, there would be no need for your stories, knowledge, or plots. While Amazon has played a critical role in the self-publishing industry, authors must move beyond the Amazon-centric mindset and escape their reliance on external technology providers. Instead, authors should aim to build a newer, intimate relationship with their readers, opening up a world of new possibilities.
The world of publishing has shifted tremendously over the past decade. Gone are the days of submitting manuscripts to traditional publishers, hoping to get accepted and signing a lucrative book deal. Instead, self-publishing has taken center stage; it has never been easier for authors to produce their work and make it available to readers around the world. Amazon's self-publishing platform, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), has made self-publishing accessible to anyone with an internet connection, offering a simple and straightforward way to publish e-books and paperbacks.
While Amazon's KDP platform has revolutionized self-publishing, it has also created a reliance on external technology providers. Many authors have become dependent on the platform's algorithm to increase visibility, select promotional opportunities, and manage pricing. As such, authors have created a relationship with Amazon rather than creating a relationship with their readers. What makes this such a serious issue is the control Amazon holds over authors' works. Any author who has dealt with the ever-changing KDP rules and algorithms knows how challenging this platform can be to keep up with.
To be successful, authors must shift their mindset and think beyond the Amazon-centric perspective. Instead, they should begin building authentic relationships with their readers, which will provide more opportunities for growth and sustainability. Authors who have an intimate relationship with their readers have the freedom to be more innovative and creative with their works. They can target promotions specifically to their readers, generate feedback and collaborations, and have a more personal touch to their interactions.
As an author, building a personal relationship with your readers starts with building an online author presence. It is essential to create a website, create social media accounts, and be present on other digital platforms. This encourages readers to interact with you and creates a sense of community around your brand, ultimately leading to a loyal following. Having an online presence also allows you to control your image, and you no longer become lost in the Amazon marketplace. You have your space, and readers can come directly to you for promotional deals and insider content.
One of the primary ways to build a relationship with readers is through email marketing. By collecting reader's email addresses, authors can showcase their work, keep readers updated on new releases, and communicate with them directly. Email marketing offers a higher return on investment than social media marketing and allows authors to target promotions specifically to their readers. These personalized interactions develop trust and create an emotional connection with readers, turning readers into ambassadors for your brand. It is also vital to communicate authentically in these emails and provide value to your readers beyond product promotion.
Another great way to build a relationship with readers is through book clubs or reading groups on digital platforms such as Facebook or Goodreads. These groups allow authors to create communities around their works, providing readers with a sense of belonging and promoting engagement. This interaction is an opportunity to learn about your audience and what they desire from literature in your niche.
In summary, while the Amazon-centric approach has played an integral role in the self-publishing industry over the past decade, reliance on external technology providers has limited the author's potential growth and sustainability. To be successful in the ever-shifting publishing landscape, authors must look beyond this approach and focus on building intimate relationships with their readers. By creating an online presence, communicating through email marketing, and establishing book clubs and reading groups, authors can develop a more authentic and personalized interaction with their readers, providing an opportunity for incredible growth and innovation beyond Amazon's KDP platform.
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Kristen & Maira