Sunday, 18 August 2013

9 Different Channels for Reaching Readers

As I mentioned in my blog entry on platform management last week, it is important nowadays for authors to be present and approachable for their readers. 

Today, I will give a simple list of the different channels out there. These are a simple selection made based on personal familiarity. I categorised them into Basic, Intermediate and Advanced according to the amount of effort, time and strategy that goes into set-up. Basic and Intermediate channels don't require you to necessarily be a published author. Just pick your starting point and build your platform from there. As you go along, you will find a balance and figure out how to best interact with your fans through your chosen channels. 


Basic channels are free, online social platforms that merely require you to sign up for an account before you can get started. Sometimes it is even possible to connect these channels by signing in through a central facebook or google account. A central sign-in allows you to synch posts across platforms, meaning that e.g. your twitter posts will also show up on your facebook wall.

I am sure none of the examples in this category will be a shocking discovery. Your use of basic channels can range from short updates on your writing life, books, characters, general announcements and other interests to more strategic uses including polls, raffles, writing prompts, author encounters through events, etc. 
  1. Facebook
  2. Google+
  3. Twitter
  4. Goodreads

Intermediate channels require a bigger time commitment for set-up and can be a great addition once you have gained an audience through basic channels. Or they can be your starting point and you reach out through basic channels to spread the word about these platforms once you have published some content on them. As mentioned before, there is no real wrong or right way about what comes first. Everyone needs to figure out for themselves what they would like to tackle first. 
  1. Blog
    • Blogs should have a theme and be updated in regular intervals. A good starting cadence is once a week.
    • Category labels for different blog posts should be clearly defined to make navigation for readers easy and swift. 
    • If you don't think you can accommodate a weekly post schedule, consider sharing your blog with a fellow writer or blogger.
    1.1 Blog Tours
  2. Videos + Vlogs
    • If you feel comfortable in front of a camera and are familiar with an editing programme, you might want to think about posting your insights in form of a video blog. A vlog can also accompany a blog.
    • Videos are also an opportunity to let your readers learn more about you. You could do an introductory Author Q&A video similar to the ones that are done by publishing houses for debut authors. (Example for Alexandra Adometto) If you plan on posting on a regular basis you might even want to consider establishing a channel on a video hosting platform.
  3. Website
    • This is one up from a blog and ideally should function as a gateway to your universe: your blog, background on your books, widgets to connect readers to your other channels, latest news - the more thought-through your architecture on your website, the easier navigation in your universe will be for your readers
    • I think a great time to launch a website is with the launch of your first book. 

These advanced opportunities to interact with your readers have the prerequisite of you actually having published a book. Furthermore, they are usually handled by publishing houses or agents, if you are a signed author. 

Understandable as they require either quite a bit of organisation, sometimes monetary backing and in the case of my last suggestion some expertise. However, by reaching out a hand to other authors, your friends or local writing communities even these can be accomplished independently. It just takes a little faith, enthusiasm and some old-fashioned elbow grease.
  1. Book Readings
    • If you don't think that enough people would show up for you, why not get together with several other others and make it a book reading event? Or you might be able to get a local book store chain or library to host you and do some additional advertising to their customers. As with so many schemes attached to being an indie author, "initiative" is the keyword here.
  2. Book Fairs
    • Same principle as for book readings above. Think about banding together and renting a stand at a book fair or see if you can collaborate with local writing institutions to get a spot to present your book on fairs.

That's my 2 cents for today. I hope this list and short overview helped you better map out your channel strategy. Of course, I will probably touch on these channels and go into more details on how to utilise them in future entries.

So, got an idea on where to start? Any more channels to recommend? Any wish on what I should write about or elaborate on next?

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