The Importance of Connecting with Readers

Posted by September 14th, 2011

Book Country Twitter Chat (August 25, 2011)

Crime fiction author Lawrence Block and publicity maven Erin Mitchell chat about why–and how!–writers should interact with their fans. 

twitter_newbird_boxed_blueonwhiteGiveaways. Email. Book signings. Twitter. Newsletters. Facebook. Skype.

There are myriad ways for writers to connect with readers these days, but some tactics seem to work better than others. But no matter what track you take, one thing is for sure: interacting with your readers is key. When writers are genuinely involved, when they interact with fans, readers’ dedication always seems to grow.

So what can you do to reach your audience? How can you interact most effectively? On August 25th, we asked experts Erin Mitchell(@ErinFaye) and Lawrence Block (@LawrenceBlock) to enlighten us.

Erin Mitchell has worked as a book publicity specialist for 25 years, helping authors connect to their readers. She also connects on a personal level through her own blog, as well as participating in the group mystery blog, “Hey, There’s a Dead Guy in the Living Room.” She also takes part in the growing #FridayReads trend on Twitter.

Lawrence Block is the bestselling crime fiction author of the beloved Matthew Scudder series. His most recent release, A Drop of the Hard Stuff, hit shelves in May 2011. Lawrence has taken to Twitter and e-mail like a fish to water, building his relationships with readers through social media and other online venues.

Here are some of our favorite quotes from the chat:

@ErinFaye: Remember why people subscribe to newsletters: because they love your writing. And want insight into characters, too

@LawrenceBlock: Point to remember: what matters is the writing. if the other gets in the way, maybe it’s not such a Good Idea.

@BrendaCopeland: Readers are the best advocates for authors. Much better than marketing departments. And it all starts with what’s on the page.

@lilysea: I’ve been known to sneakily reposition a twitter acquaintance’s book at the bookstore for better exposure. Feel it’s a “friend”

@ErinFaye: Start with one venue, whether that’s twitter, fb or a blog. Trying to do all at once can be overwhelming

@LawrenceBlock: I answer every email, unless its from a certified PITA.

@zbarnes: I liked how @swierczy wrote post cards to reader who won a contest. Great way to connect!

@Chumplet: My one bookstore signing garnered sales & great conversation. Not easy to set up but I loved it!

If you missed the chat, you can view or download the entire transcript as a PDF here. It will open in your browser and you’ll be able to save it to your computer if you like. You can also get to know your fellow genre fiction lovers by clicking directly on their Twitter handles.

Please note that the chat appears from newest to oldest tweets, so start reading on the last page and work your way up to the first page.

Thanks to all who took the time to share their experiences and ask questions.

REMEMBER: Book Country Twitter chats occur every other Thursday night from 9-10 pm EST. Just use the hashtag #bookcountry to participate or follow along. Topics are announced in advance in the Book Country Discussion forums, so be sure to take a look!

Follow us on Twitter for more: @Book_Country


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