Posted on March 16, 2022 at 1:54 PM by Guest Author
One of your biggest challenges as a new author is convincing readers to take a chance on your debut novel. Discover how to get people to read your book.
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Although there are many benefits to self-publishing, it’s not without its challenges.
Building a successful writing career depends heavily on your ability to connect with readers and make your work stand out. But as an indie author, you don’t have easy access to a team of professional editors, designers, marketers, and more.
That means it’s up to you to convince your target audience that your debut novel is worth reading.
Here’s why that’s more than just a little tough...
When you’re just starting out, you have no name recognition to leverage.
Your book will be in competition with many others for readers’ attention.
You have to figure out on your own how to hook readers immediately.
You may not be able to invest a lot in things like book cover design.
You probably have limited resources to promote your book.
You may not have a firm grasp of what your readers really want.
Publicity isn’t easy to come by when you opt to self-publish.
Moreover, the business side of writing — especially marketing — can initially seem intimidating.
Getting people to buy and read your book when you’re a first-time author is hard. But getting people to read your book when you’re a first-time self-published author is even harder.
Fortunately, there’s some good news. You can learn how to get people to read your book and achieve success as an indie author. It’s just a matter of understanding what readers look for and putting effort into the way you present yourself and your work.
The first step in learning how to get people to read your book is understanding what readers look for when browsing.
Knowing what convinces readers to take a chance on an unknown author allows you to set yourself up for better results. That’s why it’s worth looking at all the factors that go into a reader’s decision to grab a copy.
Several elements determine whether a reader will pick up a book, including the length, price, plot, and characters. However, these three are considered the most important:
Genre – When readers browse new books, they usually start by looking at their favorite genres. So, it’s essential for your book to fit into the right niche. You probably wrote your book with a specific genre in mind, but you also need to be sure readers can place it immediately. That means ensuring the cover conforms to genre expectations and categorizing the book correctly on seller sites.
Cover – They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the reality is that covers have a huge impact on readers. If your cover is boring or looks unprofessional, readers will ignore your book. Investing in a great book cover is a must if you want your book to stand out.
Description – Even when a reader comes across a book that is in a genre they enjoy and has an interesting cover, they won’t move forward until they’ve had a chance to learn what it’s about. And that’s where the description comes into play. A solid blurb on the back cover/promo materials and an expanded description on the book’s sales page can go a long way toward convincing people to read your book.
According to author Barbara Linn Probst, there are other things that influence readers to choose a particular book over others. Familiarity plays a role, as readers gravitate toward books with similar themes to ones they’ve read and enjoyed before. Also, exposure is a major factor because seeing a title virtually everywhere reinforces awareness.
After conducting a poll on Facebook, Probst discovered — much to no one’s surprise — that receiving a recommendation from a trusted source is one of the biggest reasons people will get a book by a brand-new author.
If you’re struggling with how to get people to read your book, the insights above can be extremely helpful. Knowing what readers look for can show you where to focus your efforts. Ultimately, you need to present and promote your book in a way that readers won’t ignore.
As mentioned above, understanding what readers look for when browsing books is step one. But knowledge is only useful when you put it into practice.
So, to help make things easier for you, we put together some tips on how to get people to read your book.
1) Ensure the Title and Cover Provide a Good Visual Impression.
Your book’s title and cover are what readers will see first when searching for new reads. So, it only makes sense to start there. You need to be sure these elements provide a good visual impression and give readers an idea of what your book is about.
As far as your title goes, it should be short, evocative, memorable, and unique. If you’re having a hard time drawing attention to your book, check that your title has these characteristics. If not, and you find that it doesn’t truly reflect what’s inside, you may want to consider altering it.
Changing your title takes a lot of work, but sometimes it’s the best move, especially if the current title is only confusing readers and driving them away.
Once your title is nailed down, you want to highlight it with a well-designed cover. As mentioned previously, your cover should fit genre expectations. However, it should also have appropriate fonts, images, and colors.
Keeping it simple while giving an indication of what the book is about and attracting readers’ attention can help in encouraging more people to buy and read your book.
2) Create a Strong Description.
A big part of how to get people to read your book is to ensure your description is strong. Both the blurb on your back cover and longer description on the book’s sales page should pull readers into the story. However, these two explanations of your book play their own unique roles and should be handled differently.
Your blurb should act as a brief (150-200 words) description of your book, introducing the tone, main characters, conflict, and hopeful possibility. It should be written in your voice and hook readers right away.
Your book’s description on its Amazon sales page or any similar site should expand on the blurb. It should be scannable, provide more information, include relevant keywords, and leave readers wanting to know what’s next.
Even if you just released your debut novel to the public, it’s in your best interest to take a closer look at each description to see if either could be refreshed for greater impact.
3) Develop an Emotional Connection with Readers.
If you want readers to take a chance on your book (and you as a brand-new indie author), you need to connect with them at an emotional level.
From your description to your blog posts, every piece of content you create should resonate with them. So, make sure you know who your target audience is and speak to them in the appropriate voice.
Moreover, prove that your book is one worth reading because it can help solve a problem they have, whether they need...
A cure for boredom
An escape from reality
Insight into a topic
4) Be Present on Social Media.
Being present and active on social media is critical to your success as an author.
If you’re wondering how to get people to read your book, look at peers who regularly interact with their followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and so on.
Those authors understand that social media allows them to connect with readers directly, and they take advantage of that opportunity.
It’s not uncommon for readers to look up authors on social media, and if you have no presence whatsoever, they may decide to bypass your book.
Ideally, you should research the platforms your target audience uses and create your pages/groups ahead of time. Even before your first book is released, you can start to drum up interest by posting related content, networking with other authors, and even running ads.
5) Consider Decreasing the Book Price Temporarily.
Our last tip on how to get people to read your book is simple: Consider decreasing the price temporarily. Offering an ebook at a reduced price for a limited time is a tactic that some new authors are afraid to implement, but it shouldn’t be. It has proven to be an effective means of removing buyer hesitation.
When readers choose to get a book, they’re making an investment of time and money. Even if your book sounds compelling, they may still need an incentive to move forward. By giving them a great deal — and putting a time restriction on it — you can give them an extra nudge to get your book.
Note that taking it a step further and offering your book as a free giveaway is also a great approach. In addition to removing any barrier to purchase, it can give you the opportunity to collect more reader reviews, which are difficult to get at first.
Making your ebook available for free and promoting it with a reputable site allows you to reach a wider audience of readers wanting to read and more likely to review your book. The more positive reviews you have, the more social proof you can highlight in your marketing collateral to convince others to read your book.
Yes, it works. One new author listed his book for free back in December, and he has already gathered 30+ reviews in those three months!
Figuring out how to get people to read your book can be tricky. But ultimately, it boils down to understanding what readers are looking for and making sure your book — and everything that goes along with it — matches up.
So, whether you’ve just released your debut novel or are planning to do so soon, use the advice and practical tips provided above for guidance.
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