July 7, 2016

Self Publishing? What’s Your Plan to Keep Readers? — Part Five

Stick figure at a chalkboard with text: What's Your Reader Retention Plan?

It’s time once again for my monthly guest post over at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University. We’ve been exploring the choices for what path we want to follow in our indie publishing career, and today, we’re digging even deeper into how to walk our chosen path.

My series about Indie Publishing Paths at Fiction University has highlighted some of the choices we have to make and given us a few guidelines for figuring out how to make the best decisions for us.

We started off talking about knowing our goals. The retailers’ “rules” and best practices for self-publishing are ever-changing—and the advice is ever-conflicting—so we need to have an understanding of why we’re choosing certain paths so we can adapt as the industry changes.

Depending on our priorities, we might make different choices about distribution, release schedules, or pricing. I focused on each of those areas in the previous segment of the series, calling them the where, when, and how much of our decision process.

My current posts in the series are focusing on how to make the most of those choices we made. We’re in the midst of a discussion on how to keep our readers after they finish our book.

Janice Hardy's Fiction University banner

Today’s Part Five digs deeper into another option we mentioned in Part One for how to keep our readers from one book to the next: offering extra content on our website.

Bonus content on our website encourages our readers to engage with us or form a deeper connection with us. Either way, an engaged and connected reader is more likely to stick around, remember our name, want to support us by purchasing our books, etc.

Sounds great, right? But how do we do it?

In this month’s post at Fiction University, I’m covering the basics of what our website should include as well as giving a brainstorming list of ideas for extra content we could offer.

  • The Basics: Do you know what three questions our website must answer? Do you know what goals we should focus on when including those answers?
  • The Extras: Whether we’re at the beginning of our publishing career or have a ravenous fanbase clamoring for our next book, something on this list is bound to give us ideas.

Unless we’re a web-programming wizard, we probably don’t want to take away from our writing time to create a complicated website. Luckily, many of these ideas don’t take much time at all.

For example, I love Pinterest and often save images that inspire or remind me of my stories (which I do use while drafting the story), and it doesn’t take any time at all to make those Pinterest boards from each book public. Then, with just a minute of my time, I can embed a widget of each board onto that book’s page on my site.

For instance, on my page for Treasured Claim, I have a teaser of that book’s board:

Get a behind-the-scenes look at Treasured Claim on Pinterest

 Follow Jami Gold’s board My Books: Treasured Claim on Pinterest.

(Newsletter readers: Click through to this post to see the widget image.)

So this step doesn’t have to be a time-stealer—unless we want it to be (putting together some of these extras might be fun for us!). From book-specific extras like deleted scenes that would otherwise go to waste to general extras like photos of readers holding our book, we can entice our readers to connect and engage more deeply with us and our books—all while keeping our writing time in mind.

I hope you’ll join me at Fiction University for this month’s post!

Have you thought about what bonus or extra content you could include on your website? Do you have some on your website already? If so, what do you have? What bonus content do you most enjoy as a reader? Has it worked to get you more interested in the author, signing up for their newsletter, their future books, their story world, etc?

P.S. Last call to enter my 6th Annual Blogiversary Contest!

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Comments — What do you think?

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I wonder how Mark Twain went about getting and keeping his readers. He was self published, wasn’t he?

All good thoughts Jami. Thanks.


[…] you self-publish, you do it all. Jami Gold discusses how bonus material can keep your readers coming back for more, while Thad McIlroy examines Barnes & Noble’s announcement that it will sell self-published […]

Bella ardila
Bella ardila

It is a great methods to attract more people to read our books.

Click to grab Pure Sacrifice now!