Marketing books can be difficult. And confusing.
When I talk to brand-new writers who venture out into the marketing side of things, one of the first discussions we have is the difference between a fan and a follower.
A fan = someone who reads and/or buys your books
A follower = someone who follows your social media, but doesn’t buy or read your books
Why do I separate these two types of people? Because many newcomers get confused when they send out a newsletter to 800 people and only get 100 buyers. (Or post to Twitter or Facebook or Instagram or so-on.)
Take my blog for instance. I currently have 21,000 followers. Did I sell 21,000 copies of my latest release? No. Because not every follower of mine is here to buy my books. They are here for my writing tips, my publishing insight, and (hopefully) my cat photos. And guess what? I’m perfectly okay with that.
There’s huge pressure to convert all your followers into fans, and I’m just not buying it. Don’t get me wrong. I would be ecstatic if 21,000 of you bought my book, but I also understand that my books aren’t for everyone.
What if all 21,000 of you bought my book, but it was only written for 10,000 of you? Well, that’s 11,000 1-star reviews just based on the work being inappropriate for that audience. My ratings would tank. Not that ratings are everything—but I’d rather have those who are genuinely interested in my books try them out. Attracting the right audience for the right things is more important to me than tricking the wrong audiences into buying something they probably won’t enjoy.
Granted, I get it. Sometimes it can hurt that thousands of people are following you for (insert # of reasons here) for years but won’t check out your books to show support, but, at the same time, aren’t they showing support by connecting with you? By cheering you up on Twitter? By reading your articles? By sharing your posts? By simply being there?
Don’t let the marketing world convince you that your work is only worth what is bought.
Your work connects you with others. It builds relationships. It allows you to reach out and be a part of the world. It gives you a way to express yourself.
You may have fans, you may have followers, and you may have both. But converting those into sales isn’t the most important thing in the world. (And those sales will come in time.)
What matters most are those connections you’ve made—and you’ve made those by chasing what you love.
P.S. If you’re a follower who is considering becoming a fan, I have two free young adult books out right now on Amazon. 😉