The first time someone I didn't know tweeted about my book I freaked. I remember it so distinctly. I was at a friend's house for dinner and we were about to leave. I pulled out my phone and saw the notifications. It was an amazing compliment, encouraging others to pick up the book and read it. Within minutes, another tweet came from someone who read my book and within 12 hours had a friend confide in her that she'd been raped. Everyone needs to read this book, she said. Because of this book I knew how to respond.
Immediately, I favorited the tweet and replied through my tears, thanking them for taking the time to read.
To this day I still have a relationship with both of these readers. One of them I've even met for coffee multiple times. And there are more than a handful of readers I wish I could meet with TODAY because of their support.
When you publish your book, people are going to read it.
Maybe at first, it'll be just your friends and family. Maybe there will be enough love surrounding your teasers and updates that a few more than just your friends will purchase it within the first week.
Or maybe, you'll find success straight out the gate and hit all types of record-breaking best-seller lists.
Whatever happens, people will begin talking.
And as an author who knows your way around how words work, you will have the ability to reach for life or reach for death.
What will you choose?
It won't be enough to say you love your readers. How do you show them? It won't be enough to compose some sugary-sweet tweets now and then if your newsletters blast the latest hit within your genre.
Aim for consistency. Aim for humanity.
On the other end of these blog posts and reviews and tweets and Facebook statuses rests a soul surrounded by flesh and blood — just like you. Engage with people. Don't just tweet out links to your book. Be yourself. If you need a great example of someone who knows how to build relationships with her readers, check out Susan Dennard.
One of the biggest perks of indie publishing is your immediate access to those who've read your book.
Don't take this for granted. Be creative. Show gratitude. Adding the touch of humanity to your marketing moves mountains because you're not being a robot. And trust me, there are plenty of people in the industry not doing their best on the humanity front that your authenticity will be noticed.
Stay focused. Stay human. Stay grateful.
The rest will fall into place.
Need more inspiration? Introducing Hustle & Flow: a weekly letter with artistic visioning for the everyday creative. I would love it if you signed up, and I won't ever spam you. Promise.
You'll get hints and anecdotes about getting unstuck and living your most artistic life within the midst of your every day poetics. AND, if you sign up during October, you'll get some special extras dealing with indie-publishing.