Most of my followers on various social media sites are fellow writers. I’m guessing that the majority of followers for most novelists are other writers. It’s difficult to pull in non-writing readers before publication. I’ve learned that it’s not easy after publication either.
The fact is, most writers online are socializing with other writers. And as we build our platforms, if you’re like me, you can’t help but ask: Is it worth the investment of time and energy to build a platform made primarily of other writers? More specifically, will those fellow writers BUY and READ my book once it’s published?
In my early days of blogging, I was somewhat skeptical—I didn’t think too many of my followers would be interested in reading my book. I'm sure a handful are avid historical romance readers, but I fully realize diversity exists among the writers who come to my blog. We all have different beliefs, styles, and preferences.
Thus, I decided that if only the history lovers among my followers read my book, I’d be happy with that. After all, social media provides so many other benefits—community, support, encouragement, and the snowball effect.
Now, six months after the release of The Preacher's Bride, my thoughts are changing. Here’s what I’ve begun to realize: Fellow writers are a growing segment of our reading population.
The largest chunk of my readers will likely always be women (middle-aged and older) who love inspirational historical romance. Most of them don’t have e-readers, some don’t even have computers (hence the reason I still get handwritten letters from some of them.)
But . . . I’m realizing I can’t discount my fellow writers as a segment of my readership too.
I’ve been humbled by the numbers of cyber friends that have connected with me in some form to let me know that they’ve read my book or given my book to family members. In fact, blogging friend, Lynn Simpson recommended The Preacher's Bride to her book club. They all read it. And just this week I chatted with the group via Skype. (To read Lynn's post about the Skype experience go here: Why Blogging Works.)
I haven’t kept track of the numbers of followers who've purchased my book, but they're much higher than I’d ever expected.
Here are several reasons why I think writers are growing into a larger slice of the readership pie.
1. There’s a HUGE population of writers.
Okay, so there aren’t any hard fast statistics to prove more writers exist now than at any other point in history. But when Writer’s Digest has over 140,000 Twitter followers, I have to assume that’s only a fraction of writers today. Surely there are still thousands and thousands who aren’t following WD on Twitter.
Since writers are usually avid readers, it stands to reason this enormous and growing segment of aspiring writers will comprise a large portion of people buying books.
2. The growth of social media makes the writing world smaller.
Writers can connect with other writers in ways we never could have dreamed ten years ago. Social media pulls writers together throughout the world into what has become an thriving online community of writers sharing information, advice, and yep—book recommendations. When writers generate buzz about books, it can have a powerful ripple effect among the writing community.
Thanks to fellow writers, people all over the world are reading my book—from Canada, Australia, Cyprus, Germany, to England, and more. Social media is the new word of mouth that connects the world together—and writers are playing a key role in promoting books.
3. Writers by and large want to support other writers.
Writers tend to ban together and support each other—and buy each other’s books. Part of this has to do with the fact that we all realize how much work it takes to write and edit a book. We know it takes even more work to pursue publication (whether traditional or self—both have their own unique hurdles). When we affirm the dreams of others, we keep the hope alive for ourselves.
The other part of supporting each other has to do with the fact that we usually reap what we sow. When we generously help and support other writers without asking for anything in return, then we’re likely to get blessed back more than we imagined.
~My Summary: Writers are becoming a population of readers that we would be wise not to discount. They may not make up the largest percentage of our readership, but they’re still an integral part, and perhaps a growing part in the success of a writer’s career.
What do you think? Do you agree that writers are a growing force of the reading population? Why or why not?