Category Archives: writing

Building a Loyal Audience

I want to talk a little about audience.

I write books. Books are a special animal in that they are not readily conducive to multitasking, they are time consuming, and they draw a very specific kind of audience. People who like certain genres of book are quite in tune to what they like about that genre and if you stray from those parameters, you run the risk of being roasted, as it were.

Which is largely why I have worked vehemently to keep my book out of the paranormal romance category.

I honestly wasn’t even going to have a romantic element but I got talked into it. By the romantic element.

He’s just so damned charismatic he could probably sell water to a drowning man.

But building an audience, as a writer, is a special beast as well. One tip—or pointer or bit of advice—I found on the subject of audiences and social media is to make sure 80% of my content is on topic. It’s fine to, once in a while, show off a picture of my cat because writers have cats, right? But if I want to showcase my cat, it is better to have an Instagram for the cat and one for the words. Because if I flood my account with cat pictures and draw in thousands of cat lovers, they’re not going to care when I drop news about writing.

If they even see it at all.

What I need to do instead is aim all of my content toward the kind of reader who will want to read my books. In this case, urban fantasy readers are who I am trying to draw in. But also readers in general. So I use those hashtags and I write captions about that kind of stuff.

What all of this means, essentially, is that while I would appreciate the sales, I don’t want just everyone buying my books. I don’t want people who enjoy cozy mysteries or Christian fiction to buy my books out of an obligation to me as their friend. I don’t want family to buy my books because they think they should.

I want people who are going to dive in with both feet and devour half the book before realizing they need to go to bed. I want people who are going to be excited about my book(s). And that’s a harder audience to reach.

Casting a wide net and scooping up all the little fish in a 100-foot radius is fine but isn’t it better to use a rod and reel to catch a smaller collection of bigger fish? Who wants to clean all those little fish? Bigger fish are easier to prepare. Now that I’ve reached the 500 followers mark on Instagram, I feel like I can back off a little. Not in terms of content—although, unfortunately, that has happened—rather in terms of casting the net. I don’t need to join follow loops and just gain everyone else as a new follower. I need to draw in followers who found me under their followed hashtags. I follow “#amwritingurbanfantasy” because I want to see what I’m up against. So my goal is to end up under a hashtag someone else is following. Multiple times because it’s not something that happens on the first try.

But the real issue is I don’t want pity follows, pity buys. If you are interested in my books, buy them. If you’re not, share them so someone else might find them. Don’t buy out of obligation or loyalty then leave it to collect dust for the rest of forever. I appreciate your purchase and will never say don’t buy it, outright without quantification. But I don’t want it collecting dust on your shelves.

That said, if you would like to support my content, please join me on Patreon.

feeling disadvantaged

I have been watching various artists in various mediums and I have come to a conclusion. Writers are at a disadvantage when it comes to unique marketing.

Consider, for a moment, the amount of time it takes to read a book compared to listen to an album. Consider the active, hands-on nature of reading a book compared to the passive nature of listening to an album while multitasking and doing other things.

But it’s more than just that.

Music and art are active creations. There is behind the scenes moments. There are riffs and drum fills. There are concept sketches and models. There are levels to what can be offered to fans or perspective fans. In reference to something like Patreon, you can offer the lowest level still photos from video shoots and upper levels can get previews of songs. Lower levels can get sketches, upper levels can get a discount on commissions.

I’m on TikTok as well and I see musicians sharing the progression of their songs. I see visual artists showing their creations in progress.

What do writers offer?

Time-consuming, passive content. I can offer up all the flash fiction in the world but people have to have time to read it. I’ll be honest; I love the concept of Patreon and I want to keep using it as an alternative to social media because social media is a flaming disaster. I want Patreon to be the home my fans go to when they want information. But I probably wouldn’t pay for what I’m offering.

On the other hand, the common consensus is that a majority of patrons don’t sign up for the benefits; they sign up to support the artist and don’t really care about the benefits. Which is why I have a “choose your own price” tier with no benefits.

I’m not comparing myself to other artists. I’m just comparing what I have to offer. I feel like if I could just hop online and break out a guitar to play for my fans, or set up a canvas and paint for my fans or offer drumming or drawing tutorials, I would not have to struggle so much to figure out how to reach people.

But I am not a specialist in anything. I’m the proverbial Jack of all trades. I am a Master of none and frankly, I don’t want to be. I don’t want to shoehorn myself into posting about the same thing all the time. I don’t have the kind of attention span needed for that. Unfortunately, not having a niche means I don’t have a ready-made content library.

So, I struggle. I search and scour for ways to make my art active and interesting in a world filled with people looking for quick bursts of dopamine and serotonin, who don’t have the time or patience for a slow burn.

It seems a little desperate to say this now but if you enjoy my content, please consider supporting my Patreon.