Building an Audience – Get the Hammers

I take copious notes everywhere I go. Because the biggest lie out there is “I will remember that.” And I have always had a pretty good memory. So when it lets me down, I am devastated. At the RWA National Convention last July in San Diego, I took notes constantly. I did so in a very unorganized manner. I learned a lot and I am ready for the next convention in March 2017. Every page will have the title of the workshop and full names of the speakers, as well as the program page where the thing is listed.

Because I went through my notes from last summer and tried to mark off the ones I have already blogged about. I don’t remember if I did or didn’t on some of them. Which means going through the archives of my own blog and taking more notes.


Cristin Harber



I am pretty sure I haven’t covered this one. Building and Audience with Cristin Harber (, Anne Marsh (, and Zoe York ( These ladies are all NY Times and USA Today bestselling authors. They shared a four-step plan to create a loyal following for new authors and to turn casual readers into loyal, long-term buyers.


Anne Marsh
Zoe York


Is it magic? No, it’s planning and learning. There are four specific steps. But there is no one way to do this. Try anything and everything. Newsletters. Social Media. Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest.

And if you write in two or more different genres, you are going to need two different approaches to your fans. They can be widely different.

Here are the steps. I’ll share details on all after the list.

  1. Pitch to a new reader, a cold audience.
  2. Convert potential reader to your reader
  3. Retain a warm audience
  4. Foster fandom


Step 1. You’ve put out your first book as a free download. The readers have no idea who you are. They got the book but haven’t decided if they are going to read it or not. Maybe, you have fans under one pen name but you are using another name for a new genre. You need to bring this cold audience up to lukewarm at least.

Action Plan: Establish a reader infrastructure early. Have a newsletter, a blog, a web page, a team update, ask for reader feedback, let your fans know you care for them. Use a Facebook page for your group of fans or street team to keep the mood upbeat and active.

Step 2. Ask for help. What would the fans name the heroine’s dog? What kind of swag do they like? Which secondary character to they want to see have their own story? Can they be your street team and ask if the local bookstore carries your titles? Be accessible. Link to newsletter subscription on Author Page. Link to ask to join the street team group there. Make up your own rules for the group, like only book discussions and naked men photos. Have your fans submit pictures of themselves somewhere recognizable like the San Diego Zoo or the New York Public Library, reading your book. Be sure to take advantage of ARCs (Advance Reader Copies).


Step 3. Write a series. Write more than one series. Connected series sell the best. Guest star cameos are loved and characters transferred from one story to another. Make use of Author Central and Google Plus.

Step 4. Target your readers. Facebook Insights will tell you details. Are they young women in college? Stay at home moms with lots of Do It Yourself hobbies? White collar crime inmates? Work those elements into your stories if possible. Join lots of Facebook Author loops. And be sure to spend time on there with your group. Only take the time you want to spend, but enough so your fans know you are reading their comments.


These wonderful ladies covered a lot in an hour and obviously my note taking could be better. But the framework is here to start building that platform. You can do it!

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.

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