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Connecting with Readers

In today’s writing world, it isn’t enough to just write a book. (LOL! As if “just” writing a book is easy, because it totally is NOT easy.) With the inundation of daily online information readily available, modern readers really want to connect with their favorite authors, whether through social media, snail-mail, or in person (and all three). They want to know their authors, and even though we should always guard our personal information, we should also reach out to have conversations as much as we can.

Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite events where readers and writers can get together. I’m not talking about everyday interaction on FB and Twitter and all the other social media platforms. Picking at least one of those, as a gateway for your readers to reach you, is a given. I’m talking about events.

Facebook Parties:

I’ve never set up one of these, but I’ve attended many. In fact, I’m helping to host one tonight to celebrate the release of my newest Scottish Historical Romance, THE WOLF OF KISIMUL CASTLE. And of course you are all invited! End of Summer New Release Ball!

The typical FB party consists of six – twelve authors, each taking a 15 – 30 minute time slot. At their given time, the scheduled author hosts the party. They ask questions, converse, and usually give away a prize to someone who commented. Participants (or at least the authors hosting) pick a picture of a gown and a date, posting them during the party so everyone can ooh and ahh over them.

Gown I wore to the Spring Ball

My date for tonight (as soon as he finds a shirt, or…maybe not!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are one of the hosting authors, write out beforehand your hello, several questions to ask, and a thank you for letting you host. Save these responses in an electronic folder with several pictures you plan to post, so everything is in one place. This is much easier than trying to remember where everything is saved on your computer during the party.

After your time slot is over, stay around to continue to respond to questions on your posts and like and converse on other people’s posts. The next day, randomly choose your winner and announce it on the FB party page.

 

Twitter Parties:

I’ve attended one or two twitter parties. They are similar to FB parties, but instead of a page where people converse, you have a hashtag (#) to use so everyone can connect and see who is saying what.

I participated in a Jane Austen Twitter Party (#AllDayAusten) where attendees watched Pride and Prejudice at the same time and tweeted throughout the movie. I took a picture of me watching and eating popcorn in my PJs. It was fun! Like a big PJ party with other Jane Austen lovers. But expect it to be chaotic and a bit tangled. Like a twitter mosh pit : )

 

Blog Hops:

The Rubies hosted a Halloween Tick-or-Treat blog hop last year with great success. Participants hop down a list of authors, clicking on each of their links to be sent to either the author’s blog or the author’s FB page. The author had a recipe or riddle or giveaway waiting for them on the page, something related to the theme. Authors can ask participants to like the FB page or comment for a chance to win a little prize. We asked participants to “collect” the candy on each author page. If they retrieved them all, they were eligible for a big prize. We had lots of fun and numerous new people found my web site and signed up for my newsletter because of it.

***As a blog hop organizer, you will need:

A graphic that shows the theme (to use in promotion of the event)

Authors and the links to where they want participants to hop (create a list with the links)

A prize for the overall hop (authors all contribute)

A blog post or FB post explaining to participants what to do

Someone to collect the names of participants eligible for the big prize (where the participants sent their list of collected candy in the Halloween blog hop)

 

Book Signings/Readings:

I love to meet readers at book signings! I have a favorite table cloth that I bring and stands for some of my books. I bring chocolates and swag (homemade tiny books, bookmarks, pens, tea caddies, etc) and make certain to have my Square Reader working if readers are expected to buy directly from me. Make sure to have several pens for signing (sharpies for writing on bookmarks) and a place for readers to sign up for your mailing list or newsletter.

Even if people don’t line up to buy your book, you will still make connections and meet fabulous people, who just may go home and buy your book on line. For some readers, the face to face contact is extremely important. Remember to be as interested and pleasant as you can be, even if your feet are aching.

I’m excited to have been asked to read an excerpt from my new book at the Lady Jane’s Salon of RDU on August 26th. Another fun way to connect, face-to-face, with potential readers.

Authors, what are your favorite ways of reaching readers beyond the regular routes? Readers, what types of events do you enjoy as you connect with your favorite authors?

Diana Gabaldon at the New Bern Literary Symposium

Ladies in small Southern towns change the world because, I believe, it doesn’t occur to them that they can’t. A few of them had the idea three years ago to invite Diana Gabaldon to speak in our town in honor of our 300th birthday. They invited her, she said yes, and then they created the New Bern Literary Symposium so she would have a forum at which to speak.

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