“You have to build an audience.”
Quite possibly the most dangerous sentence in self-publishing today.
I’m all for building a list, getting likes on Facebook pages and even casual social media interaction. That’s fine on one condition – it isn’t sucking up your time, energy and resources.
The problem with all these “audience building” activities is that they can easily morph into full time activies. That is dangerous, fatal even.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, If you are a writer seeking a way to make a living with self-publishing, then at least 80% of your time has to be spent on your core task – writing books to sell.
Pithy twitter posts attacking the President of the United States work well for J.K.Rowling, but for you, as a self-published author attempting to establish yourself, they are useless.
The same goes for Facebook adverts pushing your FREE book… if this activity is intended to obtain an email address, the fact is that about 70% of those that do give you an email, will never again open another one you send.
If you are pushing the FREE book to gain a “readership” by simply offering the freebie on Amazon – then again, sorry, the vast majority of those who download your book will never even read it. They are tyre kickers, they simply download it because it is free! Even if they do read and like your book, chances are they will have forgotten about you before you are in a position to present a book for them to actually buy.
Free books don’t make you money
Re-tweets don’t make you any money.
Likes on FaceBook and Instagram don’t make you any money.
The only thing that puts a dollar in your pocket is a book sale or page reads on KDP select.
Which is why, if you are actually serious about making money from self-publishing, your main focus has to be on creating books.
All this superficial activity in the name of audience building is just that – superficial.
“But without an audience you won’t sell any books” is the normal argument in response.
Sure, you need an audience for your book. I completely agree.
But your audience is already there. There is no need for you to build one.
With every singlepen name I launch in a different genre, I ensure the existence of an audience for the book before my fingers even come close to the keyboard.
If there is no audience, I very simply walk away, regardless of how much I want to write the book.
A simple little check on Facebook Adverts manager will tell you if you can send adverts to the genre or the top authors in the genres you propose to write in. it will even tell you the size of that audience. If you can’t send targeted adverts to people who will be interested in your book, you have to walk away.
Don’t get sucked into this idea that building an audience is essential. It’s not important.
Take a few minutes to include an opt in list at the back of your book and set up a FaceBook page, again with a link at the back of your book. People who sign up to this list and like your page will be far more valuable in the long term than those who are seeking something for free.
Then, once that book is out in the market place, and you have your promotion set up, get started on the next one.
If you have researched correctly, the audience is already there…serve them by giving them more books.