The question I’m most frequently asked by authors on Twitter is “How on earth can I find readers?”
Every author I’ve met with a Twitter account is keenly interested in the answer to this question, because they know that directly engaging with readers can lead to significantly increased readership of their books.
But while it’s easy to locate fellow authors on Twitter, how to find readers baffles almost everyone.
The challenge we all face is that readers don’t identify themselves in their Twitter profiles. An author’s profile might state: “Historical Fiction Author.” But the vast majority of their readers don’t identify themselves as: “Historical Fiction Reader”.
The result is that in spite of endless Tweeting, interactions and building follower numbers, most authors still can’t find their reader-audience.
The reality is that finding readers on Twitter is actually quite easy, if you know where to look for them.
No matter which book genre you write in, Twitter truly is an ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of information about the fiction readers you’re looking for. So I thought I’d share how to find them. This will be a game-changer for many authors, yet is ‘smack your forehead’ simple to do.
Readers Can Be Found By Using Twitter Search
The method is to type into Twitter’s search panel certain words and phrases that readers of your fiction genre might be using in their Tweets. Doing a few of these searches will start to reveal readers of that fiction genre in significant numbers.
Then just go through the search results and follow those readers that you feel belong to your book genre, based on what they say in their Tweets. Many of them will follow you back.
Here are three suggested search methods:
1: Search using the names of successful authors in your fiction genre.
This approach finds the readers of successful authors in the same genre as you.
For example, if you’re a YA author, you might search for author “Lemony Snicket”, who writes the hugely popular YA series ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’.
This search will reveal readers in the YA fiction genre, because many of the Tweets will clearly be from people Tweeting about their “Lemony Snicket” reading experience.
Simply go through the search results and pick out the users who are obviously YA readers in your genre. Click on the names you like, and their profile will pop up - then click each one to follow them. (The idea being that many of them will follow you back.)
Note: When searching, remember to click the “All” link at the top so you can see all the Tweets that include a particular phrase, not just the most popular.
2: Search using the titles of bestselling books in your genre.
Another way to search is by using a well known author’s popular book title – from your own book genre.
For example, if you wanted to find readers of paranormal fiction, you could search for titles by author Amanda Hocking.
She wrote a million selling paranormal series called the ‘Trylle Trilogy’. Searching for that title (using the search box) will generate a list of Twitter users many of whom will be reading the books and Tweeting about their experience.
Using the content of the Tweets as a guide, choose users who are obviously dedicated readers of paranormal genre fiction.
3: Search using the names of popular characters, places and concepts that occur in other books in your genre.
This requires searching for the names of characters, places or other unique things mentioned in bestseller books from your genre, that people might mention in their tweets.
For example if you’re a fantasy author, you might search for names of things that appear in Robert Jordan’s famous ‘Wheel Of Time’ series. If you search for “Rand al’Thor” – the name of the main character in the books – you’ll find fantasy readers talking about him on Twitter.
As in the previous example, pick Twitter users to follow who are obviously readers, and who fit with your genre and style.
I could go on giving examples, but if you use your imagination, you’ll easily be able to come up with other relevant search terms. With a little work your searches will produce a treasure trove of readers who are fans of your genre.
How To Turn Your Twitter Followers Into Book Buyers
Finding these genre readers is of course just the first step of the process. You then need to persuade them to buy your books.
The worst possible way to do this (something many authors still do unfortunately) is to start shouting “Hey here is my book, you should buy it!” at them. People find this extremely annoying, and will often unfollow you.
Instead, converting your Twitter followers into buyers only happens if you interact with them the right way. Twitter is all about engagement. You need to become familiar to them, so they feel connected with you and your work, because you both love the same things… and then they buy your books.
I cover the entire process step-by-step in my ‘Twitter For Authors’ mini-course. The course contains some other great ways to find readers and grow a large following, plus how to use Twitter to find a publisher.
What do you think? Do you like Twitter? Do you think it’s more effective than Facebook? Please leave a comment.
Article written by Jonathan Gunson
Author / CEO Bestseller Labs
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