Finding Your Readers By Writing Series

I have heard everyone say over the past five years that you must know your readers, advertise to your readers and build an Email List to advise your readers of your latest publications. Yes, it works for non fiction but not so much for fiction.

I know from various places that quoted impressive numbers of pages opened, pages read, pages where links were clicked, etc, that Email Lists are the best advertising to existing readers. Note the word existing readers, not new readers.

So, I have been reading up on how to get one of these Email Lists going before I can figure out who are my readers.

I set up a Mailchimp account with signup list, email responses, etc. because it is free for the first 2K, or something like that.

There are many blogs with the steps you need to set up a mailing list account. Or just go to http://www.Mailchimp.com and read their suggested steps or watch their videos to set up your mail lists.

Once I set up my mail list account, I asked students on Holly Lisle’s Think Sideways site to see if it worked. I got 2 signups. Yes!

I advertised on Twitter. No signups. Obviously, I need to tweet more to get signups. Not my cup of tea (or coffee). There must be a better way. I kept looking.

I know to advertise in the back of each eBook? All the publishers do that. Lists of other books by the same author. Absolutely, must include links to your signup page in the back of your eBooks. Add links to other authors you like in the same genre.

Keep that last sentence in mind. Once you get going, when you find other Indie authors whose stories you love in your genre, you can ask them if you can list them in the back of your books. I think they would be happy to, and if they like your stories, they will offer to place your stories in the back of their books. There is no harm in cross promoting other authors.

Why list your other books in the back? Well, if the reader gets to the end, they must have been interested in the story, otherwise, they would have stopped reading earlier.

They will be looking for more stories in that genre by the author, same series or stand alone, and will go back to the distributor where they purchased the current book and look at the blurbs and covers of the other books, or they might click through to the recommended books by the other author and thank you for the links.

Slow and steady word of mouth will follow if the reader talks to other reader friends about the stories.

There is still the problem of getting your first readers interested (finding first readers) to tell about your books so they can read them, before they get to the end of the first book to read the list of other stories waiting to be purchased, whether series or stand alone.

Then I read a comment by another author with a link to Nick Stephenson’s site teaching how to find your first 10K readers. I signed up and watched three videos.

And I can now see why his way will work to get fiction readers in the first place, and if they read the story and like it, getting them to sign up to a mailing list so they can be notified of new releases, knowing they are really my readers, not just readers who like free books.

Here is Nick Stephenson’s site

I recommend everyone should watch Nick’s videos, even if you are not ready to publish your stories. At the moment, they are free, but I do not know if they will remain free in the future.

Why would I recommend Nick’s videos?

The difference to other ways to get mailing lists is subtle but effective. They are not forced to sign up to read the first free story. Just download the free book from the distributors. No pressure. If they finish and like the story will they find the link to signup and receive a second free story in the back of the first free story. See, no pressure. Their own choice.

So, watching the videos will give you the knowledge before you publish your first story. You will know how to set up the steps before you publish, so your readers will not have to wait to take the next step to sign up to your mailing list. Your readers will be excited to get your second story, for free.

I wish I knew these steps before I published my first short story. It was free for 6 months before I put a price on it. It is still my best seller, even if some of the other ebooks are slowly catching up in sales. 🙂

Other factors

It goes without saying, you need good storytelling abilities and how to write series, knowing the elements each genre requires, need to create good professional covers, need to write copy (meaning blurbs) to attract readers of each genre, need to edit or get someone else to edit your stories, need to format for the different eBook distributor sites and print layout for POD.

It can all be learned by you. And most of the information is free on the internet.

However, there are some courses I would recommend.

HowToThinkSideways site has big career classes, short classes and workshops, including some free courses. I have taken all of them and would recommend each and every one, both paid and free.

Dean Wesley Smith’s site has six week courses on learning different aspects of writing, under the link Online Workshops. I have taken POD Interior Layout, POD Covers, Genre Structure, Promotion, and Depth of Writing. I will be taking some more in the future.

Dean has a link on his site to chapters in his book Think Like a Publisher you can read, showing how to set up your publishing business, so there is a perceived look that you are professional, not an Indie. All easy steps to follow.

Dean has also blogged about writing at pulp speed, which you can search for on his site. This means finding more hours each day to write, not typing faster in one or two hours.

You can also Google for other sites with free lessons or tips in your genre.

What I need to do now

I am now trying to organise my life so I can find more free hours each day to get more words written so I can have at least three Novelette, Novella or Novels in a series ready to publish following the steps outlined in Nick’s videos.

I need to finish my current novella, then plot a different genre series (first one is plotted) and try to increases my writing output somewhere between where I am now and “pulp speed” so I can get this process underway.

I need to be daring and write outside my comfort zone, namely science fiction, which also means reading other genres.

I need to purchase or borrow from libraries some How To Write other genre books, and try writing series in those genres.

What about you? How are you going with your stories?

Slow sales, gradually increasing sales, or no sales because you can’t find your readers?

Are you publishing one story a year, or one a month, or somewhere in between, like me? Let me know in the comments.

Keep writing and having fun.

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3 comments so far

  1. E.K. Carmel on

    Great info! I found Nick Stephenson and his video series a couple weeks ago and I’m definitely interested in his methods. You might want to check out the guys at Sterlingandstone.net. They have the Self Publishing Podcast on YouTube and the book Write, Publish, Repeat. Also, Joanna Penn, at TheCreativePenn.com is awesome!

    Once you start looking, you’ll find little pockets of time to write. I know I have lately.

    • D J Mills on

      I hope to find more time, but lots happening in my life at the moment, including a leaking roof. I’m getting quotes now, and hope to have new tiles installed in a few weeks. I think it is incredible how everything happens at once, then once sorted, things settle down for another year or two. 🙂 Oh, well, all fun and games.
      Thanks for the links, I bookmarked them to look at tomorrow. 🙂

  2. […] I am planning on using Nick Stevenson’s marketing process on the Sensing Danger series to see if I can build my email list. I will be happy to discuss the results, if any, in a few months after publishing the series. I blogged about Nick Stevenson’s marketing strategy here. […]


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