The New Growing Segment of the Reading Population: Writers

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?


  1. Great post. I definitely think writers like to talk about books and are the perfect people to recommend books to their family and friends.

  2. We definitely can't discount writers as a group of readers. We probably read the most! And I love how everyone is so supportive and wants to see others succeed! What's even better is when our books goes above and beyond writers, of course.

  3. Absolutely and word of mouth is huge in this industry. This is part of why I joined Goodreads. I wanted to see what fellow authors were reading and enjoying.

    Certainly cannot discount writers.
    ~ Wendy

  4. It only makes sense. Writers are people who read. So why wouldn't they be? Most peeps start writing because they love stories. Not only are other writers supportive, but they can be your biggest fan who inspire their own personal work.

  5. Absolutely, and for all the writers on the road to publication - what better way to BENEFIT writers and ENLIGHTEN non-writers on the process of writing?

    I think if more successful writers blogged, readers who aren't writers will feel closer to their authors and feel able to communicate freely with them.

    For too long writers have had the label of living on their own private island and being unreachable. Social media gets rid of all that and makes the writer more human and not an ethereal creature. And it's a great way to keep your reasers entertained and up to date until your next book comes out :)

  6. YeS! Great post.
    I think too that social media is easier for writers, who tend to communicate via words rather than social situations or talking. Social media is a natural and comfortable way for us to interact.

    And I def. believe most writers are readers first.

  7. I absolutely agree. Not only are other writers potential readers, but they also are a support group. Not only do I read a lot of the books written by other writers I follow online, but I also recommend those books to my friends.

  8. Yes I agree. At times it seems like EVERYONE wants to be a published author, but like finds like and we do want to support each other. :O)

  9. I completely agree, Jody. Many of my writer blogger friends purchased my memoir, even though they don't generally read that genre. I purchased, read, and loved your book, even though that is not my genre. We do read voraciously and are willing to open our minds and hearts to new things, particularly if we get to know someone thru blogging.

  10. I agree! Writers are readers, after all (or should be)! Like Karen, I will read books recommended or written by other bloggers that are not my usual genre. Thanks again for 'skyping' with my Read n' Rally book club!

  11. Hi there, Jody and all,
    Yes indeed I agree that writers are a growing force of the reading population. Look at how many writers are hoping for publication or just writing for pure enjoyment and to become better at their craft. I don't think that will change. If anything, with e-readers and sample chapters available for download it will only increase. IMHO. :)

  12. I agree! I know lots of people who love to read, and most people seem to like reading all different genres. They might have a favorite genre, but they're always open to trying something new. So I think it's safe to say that many many writers read outside the genre they write. So even if you wrote a book another writer doesn't often read (or write), they'll probably want to read it since you wrote it and they like your blog. I know that's how I am! I love it when blog buddies have books releasing. I add their book to my to-read list right away!

  13. Absolutely agree! I believe writers DO like to support their fellow writers. Extensive reading benefits every writer, and for me personally, it's an honor to read a book written by someone I know! It's a great way to cheer each other on along this journey.

    Love the scriptural principle you share: "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." Couldn't agree more! Have a wonderful day & God bless!

  14. Only a very small percentage of my followers are writers (well, I don't really know that--just guessing). But I write non-fiction, and people find my blog for different reasons.

    I have to admit, I've toyed with the idea of writing more about writing (because that's what the cool writers do--like you!), but I can't. Most people don't come to my blog for that.

    I don't think I answered your question, but that's my random, most likely unhelpful, two cents.

  15. Writers do want to support other writers. I never read historical fiction before picking up The Preacher's Bride, and I coudn't have been more thrilled. But my ultimate decision to purchase it was to support my fellow writer friend. Relationships do matter:)

  16. Jody,

    I follow many published author's blogs, but I must say yours is one of my favorites. I always walk away with information that pertains to writing.

    I don't write in genre, I write m/g and y/a fantasy and contemporary, but I still enjoy reading other genres.

    So, I a glad you have many readers from other genres enjoying your work.

    I am also an artist/illustrator/designer, and I enjoy ALL art forms. Art is art, weather be a painting or a beautiful poem.


  17. I was a huge fan of inspirational historical romance before I began writing it, and that hasn't changed. If anything, I read even more books now that I'm writing because I hear about other writers' wonderful stories online.

    And just for the record, I'm a middle-aged reader who does have a Kindle, thanks to my generous hubby, but I still send handwritten notes from time to time. I embrace the best of both worlds, the traditional one I used to know and the technological one of today. Just call me an adaptable dinosaur. =)

  18. I'm living proof, Jody! I don't normally read historical fiction. However, I agreed to read (and review) your book because we'd been blogging buddies for so long. In all honesty, I was scared that I would not like it. But I absolutely loved "The Preacher's Bride", and I'm a least to novels you've authored! :)

    I believe that fellow writers can become strong advocates for one another. Thanks for this encouraging post, Jody!

  19. Hi Everyone! Thanks for the vote of confidence in my blog, Michael. I appreciate it.

    And MANY heartfelt thank you's to ALL of you who've bought my book. I'm so deeply grateful for your support! :-)

  20. Agreed. But the danger is that reading writers assume other readers have similar traits. It shows up in things like when writers offer book reviews with phrases referring to things like "showing", "deep POV" or "head hopping". The average reader has no idea what these things are and doesn't care. All they want to know is whether it was a good story.

    I love the writing community. But writers have to find ways to grab the attention of readers beyond the writing community, not an easy task.

  21. I've actually been thinking about this in terms of my own blog, and you have some great points. Best of luck with all your writing endeavors!

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  22. Patricia W said: I love the writing community. But writers have to find ways to grab the attention of readers beyond the writing community, not an easy task.

    My Response: Patricia, that is such a wise statement. It's something I ponder quite frequently. How can we reach out to readers and draw them in? And do they really even want to be drawn in? I'm not sure! But I'll keep pondering!

  23. What a great post, Jody! I'm a published author that's first in line to buy my fellow writer's books (ones that I've connected with via Social Media) because I want to support them...plain and simple. I believe you get what you give, and that others will do the same for me (and they have).

    There's a saying that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I feel it's the same way with our readership: just continue to write and blog and share our enthusias and unique personality, and those that need to find us, will find us. :o)


  24. I am happy to "meet" you, Jody, and thank you for this great post! I am finishing my first novel, and have found other writers, published and unpublished, to be my greatest teachers, supporters and cheerleaders. I have discovered some great new authors, buy everybody's books, spread their good news, and hope they will do the same when my time comes. Most writers were readers first, anyway, so it just makes sense. I am so thankful to be a part of this wonderful community!

  25. I agree. I believe that writers bring a unique perspective to the table. They can influence, support, and offer ideas and constructive criticism.

    I read because I love to, but I also read because I want to improve my writing. My WIP benefits from the things I glean from reading great books such as yours. There is much to learn, always, and reading is just one way to do that. Good post.


  26. I often worry about "preaching to the choir," if I'm just wasting huge amounts of time networking with other writers. Your points make good sense, given this changing publishing landscape. Thanks for the insightful post.

  27. All of your points resonate, Jody. I tiptoed into blogging, skeptical of its advantage since I wasn't targeting my non-fiction audience, and didn't have a novel published yet. What I found was a community of like-minded writers happy to share their knowledge, experience and support. I think all of them are writers, but they're also readers. Because of my online relationships I've ended up buying books in genres I would never otherwise have read, so I imagine the same will be true of those who follow my blog -- when the day arrives that I have a novel published, at least a few cyber friends will likely buy it out of support and/or curiosity.

    However, I think the main advantage of reciprocal blogging for me is simply keeping my name out there... visibility. Even when I don't necessarily remember titles to search for, whether authors have promoted a new book or not, if I see a familiar name on a book cover, I'm more likely to pick it up.

  28. Let me turn this around. I have the suspicion that a greater number of readers than ever before are becoming writers. It may be getting harder to get a book published (traditionally, at least) but it's gotten a whole lot easier to get information on becoming a writer, on improving your writing skills, on finding critique groups and on the publishing industry. In addition, MFAs appear to be mushrooming.

    So the natural progression from reader to writer is becoming an easier jump to take.Not for the money - as you know, you'd get more per hour flipping burgers. We do it for love of the word.

    And isn't that a wonderful thing? There's nothing like reading to stock a writer's mind, and there's nothing like writing to make a reader sharper and more knowledgeable about the craft. It's writing that turns a hobby reader into an impassioned one.

    You're right to woo writer/readers, as they will communicate their love of books to the world. And I'm willing to bet that some readers of yours will find your blog, read it, and then start on their first novel.

  29. Jane, great point!! Looks like we could add a point #4 to the list: More readers are trying their hand at writing.

    In fact, I've gotten emails from readers telling me they're working on their first novel and asking for writing advice. So, I think you've hit on something very key!!

    Readers who've ever even slightly dreamed of writing their own book can find easy inspiration and advice online. And with the growth of non-trad pub, perhaps many feel even more freedom to pursue writing.

    Thanks for sharing! AND thanks to EVERYONE else too! I've really appreciated hearing the various thoughts on this topic!

  30. I totally agree that writers are a great chunk of readership. Don't know if you caught it, but I did an anonymous survey and posted results this week on this topic. Do my blog readers plan to buy my book even though I write in a niche genre? A big percentage of people (30% or so) who said they were going to buy my book said they had never read my genre before but were willing to buy my book because they wanted to show support for me. How awesome is that. All the results are here if you're interested:

    So blogging and connecting with other writers online definitely can make a difference.

  31. Hi Roni!
    Wow! Thanks for sharing that statistic. That's awesome! Think about what that could potentially mean? If you have 6000 followers between all your various social media sites, 30 percent is a great boost in sales! And not to mention how that 30 percent will also help promote, thus adding on the snowball effect.

  32. Dear Jody, thank you for your interesting articles! In October I starting blogging: I wanted to send in a story for a price and mistakenly thought it had to be published on the internet before.
    In 2011 I started seriously writing, mainly on literature. see
    I am very enthousiastic and i announce daily new articles on twitter and facebook. But now i want to write a novel, that has to be ready in august, so blogging is in the way. warm greetings, rein swart, haarlem, holland.


© All the articles in this blog are copyrighted and may not be used without prior written consent from the author. You may quote without permission if you give proper credit and links. Thank you!