Building That Local Readership

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Happy Tewe’s Day, Everyone! Sure has been quiet around here, so guess it’s time for me to put my writing aside for a bit and give a shout out to all you wonderful contributors, and a welcome to all new members. We are growing at a pretty nice clip!

I’ve posted before on increasing sales and name recognition through building a local readership, but just wanted to touch on that again. When you are new to the game, like I am, every single sale is a celebration, so I’m always looking for ideas. As I’ve mentioned before, my second series is set here in central Florida, in a fictional town called Riverbend. I’ve carefully placed Riverbend between two very real small Florida towns, and I’ve mentioned both in the books. Plus, my main characters in Book 1, Swamp Ghosts, were inspired by a real life couple, which gave me the opportunity to thank them in my Author Acknowledgements at the end of the book, and to link to their very popular eco tours on the  St. Johns River. This is all by way of letting you know that I have a perfect set up for reaching local readers via local businesses.

Some of this was pure happenstance, but in Book 2 of the series, Hunter, I’ve looked for chances to mention places and small business (only where appropriate to the story, mind you) that people living here will recognize. The upshot of all of this is that I have been asked to give Meet the Author presentations by several local venues, and I now have my books for sale in two more area gift shops.

Will I get rich doing this? Well, in a word, no. Even though I sign and sell books at every event, and one of my shops is doing a bang up  job of selling for me, as well, it won’t amount to what I’ll sell in eBooks during the same time period. But I look at it as an unqualified success anyway. First of all, there’s name recognition being built. This is advertising that doesn’t cost me a thing, and even manages to make a wee bit of profit for me with each sale. Name recognition translates to more sales on amazon, as readers who enjoy this Florida series look to see what else I’ve written, and tell their neighbors about my books.

And then there’s that magic phrase, Word of Mouth. I think I’ll work it up in needlepoint and hang it on my wall. In spite of all the dollars spent on advertising, word of mouth is still the number one reason people buy books. You can’t beat it, and anything that garners it for you is GOLD.

And last…meeting your readers is FUN. Pure, plain, and simple. Nothing makes me feel better than talking to people who have read my books and enjoyed them, or are looking forward to reading them, because they heard they were good. That’s when I know all the long hours at the computer were worth it. I thoroughly enjoy every chance I get to talk books in general, anyway, and the people I meet at signings are just the icing on the cake!

If you can think of any way to get your books, and yourself, “out there” in your local area, I highly recommend giving it a try. If nothing else, it will get you out from behind your desk for a few hours. And if all goes well, you’ll start building a local market for your work at the same time.

2 thoughts on “Building That Local Readership

  1. Thanks, Louis! I’m really having a wonderful time with this. I’m still blown away by the fact that people are asking me for my autograph! Me! Hahaha. I’m the biggest Fangirl…er…FanGranny…in the whole world. I would never have imagined I’d be signing books, and people would be all excited to meet me. Might be doing a special boat tour in a few weeks, too, if all goes well. Workin’ on it! 🙂

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