Self-Promotion: Building an Audience

When it comes to building an audience you need to take stock not only of what you have to offer in terms of resources and skills but in terms of your hobbies and interests as well, because your goal is to connect in an organic way with people through every avenue available, and desirable, to you. This doesn’t mean you’re going to have to become the literary equivalent of a pyramid scheme salesperson, vigorously pitching your books to everyone you know, however. Perhaps surprisingly, when it comes to audience-building, the less attention you draw to your “building” activities, the better.

While of course it’s going to be necessary to invest time, effort and resources in this endeavor, and as with anything the more you’re willing to put in the more you’ll get out, the most successful audience-building strategies are those you can fold into your existing life.

It’s not so different from any new and challenging undertaking: the more work and hassle is involved in doing the thing, the more tempting it is to give up on it. It’s just human nature to resist what doesn’t come naturally. Conversely though, anything you already have, can already use, already know how to do, and are already interested in is relatively easy to build on.

Ideally, once you put your plans into action, audience building won’t be a totally separate, special activity. It will be the natural outcome of doing things you already do, and would want to do whether you had books to sell or not. The only difference is that you will be putting a little more thought and strategizing into the mix.

Identify everything you can bring to the table for your audience-building campaign, then select the specific items you feel most confident about using. The good news is that there’s probably a lot more in your arsenal than you realize. (Self-promotion: Building an Audience Brainstorming).

Remember that this is a brainstorming exercise. (Inventory Worksheets available for class registrants). Don’t be afraid to include unorthodox ideas, and do be sure to take off your “author blinders”: think in terms of how you would go about setting up a new club or social group, or how you would bring new people to such a group—NOT in terms of selling books.

Really cast the Inventory net wide, because you can’t predict how a given item could prove very useful to you as an audience-building tool. *In class, you’ll learn how to zero in on your target demographic audience.

This lecture introduction came from the course Building an Audience 101.

In this course you will:

  • Identify the strengths and resources you bring to the table
  • Identify and locate your ideal fans / target demographic
  • Explore a wide range of audience-building techniques and strategies, with an emphasis on no- to low-cost opportunities
  • Learn how to track your progress and make course corrections as your fan base grows
  • Learn how to manage and protect your online reputation

To get the most from this workshop you should:

  • Have basic to intermediate computer skills
  • Be web-literate (know what browsers, web pages, blogs, comment forms, etc. are, and what they’re for
  • Have at least one book already published or in progress: it’s impossible to build an audience if you don’t have a firm grasp on what you have to offer as an author

Learn More About Building an Audience 101.

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