Blog To Build Your Fanbase & Other Tools For Authors

One of the most frequent questions I get asked by authors is, “What can I do right now to start selling books?” There is a wealth of information available for author to help write books and even to help sell them once they are published, but building an audience before publication is more important than it ever has been. Fortunately, its easier than it ever has been as well. Here are 5 simple things you can do now to start building a fan base.

1. Start a blog. I know we have talked about this frequently (here for example), but it still remains true: the most important thing you can do as an author is communicate directly with your audience. A blog is the best way to reach out to your folks and start communicating. Ideally, you would start blogging your content three years before your book is released. Realistically, start blogging today – its easier than you think . Here are two free sites to help you get started (Blogger & WordPress), but if you want to create something professional that will also be a place to sell your book, contact us here to learn more about our author websites.

2. Read. A lot. You would expect someone who is writing a book to have read in their field, but we have found that many writers try to pass over this necessary step. Read and re-read the books in your chosen field of interest all the way up to your publication date. If you want to be a leader in your topic, you have to know your competition and offer something different. You should also read books in two other categories: writing (suggestions:

, , Bird by Bird) and marketing/business (suggestions: , , , ).

3. Content is king. If you are already writing a blog, you are generating some great content. You can use this content to drive others to your site and secure free advertising. This is a great way to attract folks to your site who will be genuinely interested in what you are offering. I highly recommend picking up a copy of 

and following their SONAR content distribution model. In the meantime, distribute your material by posting articles on free sites like Ezinearticles, Helium, and Article Dashboard. Partner with others who have similar or complimentary material. Use your content in more ways than one and you will be working less and far more effectively at the same time.

4. Get permission. As you drive people to your blog or meet folks through social events, take down their information and build an email list. Once you have someone’s permission to contact them, you have an invaluable resource that you will be able to use once the book comes out. If you have 1,000 dedicated fans of your work, you will have a much higher chance of writing a best seller. And, they will likely be interested in your next book as well, even if it is completely different. For example, Tim Ferris built a fanbase so dedicated through his first book on business,

, that he was able to leverage his audience to make his next book, , an instant best-seller.

5. Participate & ask awkward questions. Use the tools that you have to participate in the conversations surrounding your topic. Comment on blogs, talk to those folks in the industry that you can get a hold of, and ask them awkward questions. Ask them to promote you, give you advice, and even endorse the book. You never know until you ask and you would be surprised at the response you get if you show genuine interest in the subject. Whether you are a smaller, first-time author or a New York Times bestselling author, feedback from fans is always welcome.

Even if you just focus on these 5 things, which you could start today in just a few hours, your book will be more successful. Do the hard work now and it will pay off in the long run.

What other ways have you started to build a fanbase for your work? What has been successful, and what has failed?

Photo courtesy of austinevan