I saw this post over at Writer Unboxed and it got me thinking. As writers, do we spend more time finding our community of readers and not enough time serving them?
I worry that I spend too much time trying to attract people to my books because I don’t know how to serve a community of readers.
Why I don’t feel like I serve my community of readers
First of all I do think of myself as part of a community of readers. I write books I like to read – I read many genres and that’s why I write in more than one. If a writer doesn’t think about about their readers as a group they belong to, but as a group they lead, there may be a problem in serving the community.
Then there’s the problem of finding out how to serve. As a business person I know how to serve that community. I network and I make good referrals to other business people so they can help my clients in areas where I don’t have expertise. As a resident of New Westminster, I vote, I pay my taxes and I take part in community events.
The thing is, I can’t put aside my writer personality to figure out what my reader personality would like.
What I think I should do is exactly what people tell me I shouldn’t do
Just as in the Writer Unboxed post, the easy thing to do is tell everyone about my books. Even I know how annoying that can be when it’s just a ‘buy my book’ onslaught.
I want to thank people for leaving reviews, but I’m told that way lies dragons of unprofessional flaming. Let’s be clear on that, I am not the type of person to would attack a reviewer for their opinion.
It’s a bit of a Catch 22 – excellent book by the way – I am allowed to give away my books, but I’m not supposed to tell you they are free or on sale.
And, the easiest thing for me to do is talk to other writers. To discuss craft and process and challenges. I’m pretty sure readers aren’t interested in that.
What I am going to do
The great thing about this industry of self publishing in an electronic world is the opportunity and ability to change direction.
I’m going to start asking instead of telling. I’m going to start recommending books – not reviewing because it’s hard for a writer to look objective when they review another authors’ work.
Dear readers, what would you like?