Amazon recommended a book, written by an indie author, to me last week that looked interesting. I downloaded the free sample, read a few pages, and was convinced that I’d enjoy reading the book so I clicked the “Buy Now” button. That night I read about a third of the book, enjoying the experience.
The next day I went back to Amazon to see if the author had written others, in what was clearly intended to be a series. She had not. Nor did she have an Amazon author’s page. So, being the book hunter that I am I began a search for her website, which I found, with little trouble. Her most recent update was in March, the month the book I’d purchased was released.
Ok, so she doesn’t update her site very often That seems like bad practice, but what the heck. I went in search of her email list sign up form. That way she could let me, a fan who liked her work enough to purchase, and has tracked down her website, know via email when the next book in the series is coming out. But there was no email sign up form. There was however a link to her Twitter account, so I went there next.
I posted a message, naming the book and letting her (and everyone else) know how much I was enjoying it. Nothing more would fit in in the 142 character limit. She responded quickly, letting me know she was half-way through the next book in the series. That was great news to me, so I asked her if she had an email list or some other way that I could find out when the new book is released. Once again she responded quickly. Essentailly her response was that there was no email list and that she posted new release information on Twitter.
Seriously? I’m supposed to wade through the river of information that flows through my Twitter account to find out when she has a new release?
Ok – let’s recap. I’m a fan of her work. I’ve purchased her work. She’s an indie writer who has seven reviews for her book and I’ve told her that I love it. Her response to me as a fan, and patron of her work is to follow her twitter feed to be updated when the next book comes out.
She’s busy writing, I understand that. She’s an indie writer which means she’s probably working full time as well. She may also have a family that she’s caring for. I understand all of that. But it would take at most fifteen minutes to add an email subscription list to her website. It may seem complicated, but it isn’t.
If you’re an author and your last name isn’t Patterson or Grisham you can’t rely on Amazon, or your publisher to find your readers. You need to make every possible effort to get to know them, and to be able to contact them when new books come out. Heck, even John Grisham has an email list. I received something from him a few days ago about a new release.
Even if writing is just a hobby for you, make the effort to get contact information for the people who like your work. Mail Chimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers to your email list. It takes only a few minutes to set up an account with them and maybe an another fifteen minutes to add one of their forms to your website to collect email addresses. Heck, if you need help, let me know – I’ll help you. This stuff is important.
Finding readers is hard enough. Don’t lose contact with the ones who already like you.
Creative Commons Image by Pascual López