How to Win Readers and Alienate Authors

Can you imagine the marketing potential if Henry David Thoreau had been gifted with a platform like Instagram while secluded in the woods of Walden? It is no secret that some authors prefer their solitude when working, and an author’s work is never done given the importance of publicity. In an interview with Neil Gaiman, the famed and rather brooding author shares the secrets of his solitude as a writer and how social media has provided him with an important connection to his fans. With the ever expanding digital world, authors like Neil, who thrive off the grid, now have more opportunities to connect with their readers without ever leaving their writing dens.

There are new forms of marketing emerging as the publishing industry becomes more innovative, but a book gains priceless public exposure when the author makes attempts to connect with their readers. This is especially true for established authors who already have a captive audience, but the global reach of social media also allows new authors to access popularity from the comfort of their homes. One digital trend in author-centric book marketing can be found in virtual book tours. An author can schedule a series of virtual question and answer sessions to connect with dedicated or potential fans across the world with an ease that simply can’t be achieved through a traditional book tour. This not only gives writers the comfort of staying home, but also saves the time and money it takes to execute a multi-city book tour. The creative potential for virtual book tours also exists on a wider spectrum than the traditional predecessor, and can involve podcasts, guest bloggers, social media events, contests, and more. The flexibility allowed when doing a virtual book tour gives the authors a chance to reach a larger audience with less work. Virtual book tours, also referred to as blog tours, can be done by the author without the need for marketing assistance, though there are companies that have cornered this marketing strategy and focus solely on making all the virtual arrangements. Virtual book tour companies generally provide packages an author can purchase which can cover blog posts, virtual events, social media promotions, and more.

Another trend that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream in book publishing is the creation of booktracks: soundtracks created to reflect the ideas and emotions of books. Some authors may choose to create a soundtrack to be played in tandem while reading the book, while others simply create a soundtrack that summarizes the book or gives readers a glimpse into the story before publication. Regardless of the individual approach, this multimedia marketing method has the potential to attract new readers while giving established fans a glimpse into the author’s mind. Music delivers an experience unique from, but compatible with, reading. Just like a good movie deserves an equivalent soundtrack, why shouldn’t literature breach that barrier between story and song as well? Some ebooks are even adopting soundtracks into their formats as this trend continues to rise. Companies like Booktrack have formatted this trend into a collaborative platform where readers can adjust their book soundtracks as they prefer.

The internet, and social media specifically, has created an opportunity for an open-door policy between writer and reader. Authors still have the benefit of solitude when it’s needed while remaining accessible to their fans, allowing for stronger marketing strategies for their books. Especially considering the global reach of literature, the internet can often be the only window through which readers and authors can interact. The ever expanding ways in which authors can interact with their readers is a product of the innovations of social networking and creative marketing. As an antisocial writer, I feel that the internet should be a tool for authors to share their ideas from within the book and beyond.

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