Attracting Readers to Your Author Blog – and Keeping Them Engaged

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email-icon-2-11993685In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

You plan to independently publish a book, and you know you need to build a readership if you want to sell any books. Blogging about your book is a great way to start – but who is reading your blog? How do you keep them interested and engaged? The experts recommend that you get interested blog readers to sign up for regular updates by getting their emails. In this way, they will automatically see your blog posts in their email inbox and be far more likely to read them.

Author and consultant, Tim Grahl of Out:think makes the case that emailing potential readers has far more impact than just blogging or using social media. His book, Your First 1000 Copies is a guide to writing and marketing a book, and it tells independently published authors how to maximize their blog’s potential using an email subscription service. He goes on to recommend setting up an email newsletter that is more robust than the blog posts, and to use email extensively after getting permission from subscribers.

As a teacher who is mentoring a group of student authors, I decided to tailor this approach to my students. I know they don’t have time to make email newsletters or to do a lot of extra work above writing their blog. Therefore, I kept our approach simple. The students each have an email subscription form on their blogs so readers can just put in their email addresses and get the blog posts sent to them automatically. Most students used WordPress’ email subscription “widget” that can be added to the blog website. The students will not be emailing anyone directly from their own email accounts. In this way, the students are engaging potential readers and book buyers, but in the most basic and appropriate manner.

Next week, my post will look at how to use social media effectively as an author.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.

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Start Attracting Readers to Your Book BEFORE Publishing It

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Tip#3In this blog, I am sharing how I am mentoring a group of high school science students to write and publish a book about their science research experiences by April 2015 with the goal of selling 500 copies by the end of the school year.

“Who are you? Why should I read your book?” That is what any potential reader is going to ask a new author. With hundreds of thousands of new titles coming out each year, over half of which are self-published, the new author’s book can be lost in the sea of books flooding the market. If you self-publish, the challenge is even greater, as you have to establish credibility, along with marketing your book, all of which you do on your own. This is similar to the challenge faced by any new small business–establishing a customer base out of thin air.

To meet the challenge, a new author needs to start reaching out and attracting readers well before publication–months before the book’s release. Author and consultant Tim Grahl’s Your First 1000 Copies is a great resource that lays out a clear plan to do this. What we are doing in our science author group is to start blogging and reaching out to groups in our target audience beginning this fall, as we go through the editing and revising of our books. Our planned book release date is in April 2015, so if we start reaching out to potential readers in September 2014, that’s eight months before publication. The goal I set for each author is to sell 500 copies of his or her book by July 2015. The only way this is achievable is if we have hundreds, if not thousands, of people following our blog by the publication date–these people will know us, will be interested in what we are doing, and will be the most likely people to buy our books. We appreciate their support and plan to give them a high quality book in return.

Next week, my post will have a tip on how to draft a book.

Subscribe to this blog at https://bryanholmesstem.wordpress.com to get email updates of my posts with weekly tips you can use in your classroom as I describe how I am mentoring six high school science students to become published authors by April 2015. Also, please give me your feedback, and please share blog posts with other teachers or anyone who may benefit.