In this modern internet age, authors have numerous places they can connect with readers. I love the variety of ways that we can interact. I've found that I can relate to readers just about everywhere.
But for those authors who need to limit their social media time, who want to put their scarce time and energy into the most effective place, what would that venue be? Where is the best place to chat with readers?
This may vary from author to author depending upon genre, age of readership, and the author's own dynamics. But here's what I've discovered:
I rarely connect with genre readers through blogging. As Addison Moore pointed out in my post about whether self-published authors should blog, many readers don't have blogs and therefore don't have accounts that allow them to comment.
Blogging has been a way for me to connect primarily with other writers, build friendships, as well as gain a network of supporters. My "team" has helped me spread buzz around the releases of my books.
My blog and website are also an excellent online "home base" where readers can come and find out more about me and my books.
But very few readers leave comments, even on the posts where I ask for reader input.
I connect with more readers on Twitter than I do through blogging. In fact, I've started a column on Tweetdeck titled "Readers." But it's not a very long list. My lists with other writers and industry professionals are all much longer.
Occasionally readers mention my name when they finish my book or post a review. Sometimes readers tweet about my book from Goodreads. But overall, I don't have a large following of readers on Twitter.
I'm still in love with Pinterest. But I've found that in these early stages of its development, it's still a bit cumbersome for interacting with others. While I've enjoyed creating boards for my books and developing my brand on Pinterest, I don't feel that I get to know readers on a personal level there.
I really like Goodreads not necessarily as an author, but as a reader. I enjoy being able to keep a record of the books I'm reading. And I also think it's fascinating to read other reviews of books I've finished, especially on books I adore but others don't like. It reminds my thin-skinned writer heart that people won't always enjoy the books I read OR write!
As far as interacting with my fans on Goodreads, I rarely do. I try to keep my author hat off when I'm on Goodreads. Occasionally readers will send me messages or comment on a book I've read. But overall, I try to view Goodreads from the perspective of a reader.
I frequently get emails from readers who've read my books and want to share their enthusiasm with me. I absolutely love the one on one connection that an email provides. Of all the modes of communicating, it's probably my favorite, simply because it allows for a longer and more personal exchange.
But we have to make it easy for readers to find our emails. I put mine in my books. And I also have a contact form on my website for easy access.
Of all the social media sites, readers seem to gravitate toward facebook. And even though facebook has lost its effectiveness as a promotional tool (unless you're willing to pay), it's still the best place to engage readers.
It's no wonder. The latest statistics show that Facebook topped one billion users last month.
As frustrating as facebook can be (like the fact that facebook now offers paid promotion not only for Pages but now for personal accounts!), we're stuck with the system. We really can't do much about the frustrations. If we decide to throw in the towel on Facebook or boycott it, we'll only be hurting ourselves.
The fact is, most readers like and use facebook regularly as their main form of social media. I know this to be true from my own readers and also in talking with other authors who have said the same thing.
Readers: Which social media do you like the best for interacting with authors?
Writers: Where do you find that most readers hang out? Have you sensed a trend in a favorite social media?
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