Having an online presence is a given these days. Authors have to be visible to readers. And in order to have visibility, authors have to go where readers go. Your reader demographic influences where you find your readers, and should be used to tailor your online presence.
Website – An author website is definitely a necessity. It’s your home base for everything. At a minimum, it’s where your readers can find all your published (and soon-to-be-published) books and learn a little something about you. Bonus content, like free downloadable excerpts or novellas are a plus, as are a media page, links to social media, your Amazon Author page (see more below) contact form, and newsletter subscriber form.
Amazon – Amazon covers the gamut when it comes to age ranges, and since Amazon is the largest online retailer of books, this is a lot of potential readers. According to a 2017 survey by Prosper Insights and Analytics, an average of one third of U.S. Amazon consumers are spread across the three age groups: 18-34, 35-54, 55 and above.
There are two ways to gain visibility on Amazon: An Author Page and Books pages.
Author page – Through Amazon’s Author Central, you can set up an author page, complete with an author page URL. The page features a bio, a place to add author events like speaking engagements and book signings, upload videos, connect a blog, and upload photos. Once you’ve “claimed” your books, the books will also display on this page. Be sure to include any awards in your bio. There’s even a follow button that will show up on your individual book pages. Encourage readers to follow you so they’ll receive new release alerts.
Books page – After you’ve “claimed” your books on Author Central, you can add editorial reviews. I also list any awards under that section.
Social Media Platforms
According to the Pew Research Center, the median American uses three of the eight most popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, WhatsApp, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You need only pick one to three yourself, but pick the ones you’re most comfortable with using.
Facebook – Facebook followers are skewing older these days. Seventy-nine percent are between 30 and 49 years old, and 55% of those 50 and older use Facebook. Many may have been Facebook faithful since the early days, thus, they’ve aged along with Facebook (my conjecture – nothing scientific). With over 2 billion monthly active users on Facebook, it is still the social media workhorse, with 68% of U.S. adults using it, according to the Pew Research Center.
Twitter – As of January 2018, Twitter had 330 million monthly active Twitter users, 45% of which are Americans between the ages of 18-24. Interestingly, 79% of Twitter accounts are based outside the U.S. That’s a large international market for your books. With the recent character increase from 120 to 240, you can now say more with your Tweets.
Instagram – There are 800 million monthly active Instagram users, and if you write young adult or even new adult, Instagram is where you need to be. Seventy-one percent of Americans ages 18-24 use Instagram (Pew), 38% of whom are females.
Pinterest – Pinterest has 175 million active monthly users, and is substantially more popular with women, than with men, 81% in fact. The median age of Pinterest users is 40, and Millennials use Pinterest as much as Instagram.
In addition to pinning your favorite recipes, Pinterest is a great place to create inspiration boards for books. When I begin a new book or series, I create a private Pinterest board and pin photos of my characters, settings, cars, clothes, etc. Once the book/series is ready for release, I make the board public.
Goodreads – As of March 2018, there were 65 million Goodreads users. I was unable to find specific numbers for the U.S., but 2018 statistics for Great Britain indicate that there are twice as many female users of Goodreads than men, and the age ranges skew younger (ages 18-44). If you write romance, seems like Goodreads is a place you need to be.
BookBub – I couldn’t find definitive numbers for BookBub subscribers, but they appear to be over 3 million, with 2 million contemporary romance subscribers and 1.5 million historical romance subscribers, according to their pricing list. Also, according to BookBub, 76% of their subscribers are women, and most are middle-aged. Again, if you write romance, BookBub is another good place to hang out.
I get it. BookBub deals are pricey and often difficult to come by. But you can also place paid ads in the newsletters, and claim your author profile and invite readers to follow you. BookBub will send email alerts to your followers when you have a new release or a featured deal. Finally, when new readers sign up, BookBub will suggest authors to follow and send emails to readers suggesting authors to follow.
Where do you find your readers?