TEN STEPS TO SET UP YOUR READERS GROUP
In her last blog, Alyssa expertly covered the reasons ‘Why every Author needs a Reader group?’ So may be this is what you want to say to her…
“That’s wonderful, Alyssa, I’m sold, but how do I go about building a Reader’s Group?”
So here she is back again, answering the very same question…Over to Alessia.
Great question. I wondered the exact same thing several months ago when I was recruited by a boxed set organizer for her anthology. She sent me a list of requirements: website (check), Facebook page (check), social media (check, check, check), reader’s group…wait, what?
I froze, a deer in headlights, and reluctantly admitted I did not have a reader’s group; it was something I meant to do, but never got around to creating.
Oh. Okay, I’ll do it right now. So, here we go…
TEN STEPS TO SET UP YOUR READER’S GROUP
1) FACEBOOK PROFILE
Make sure you have a Facebook profile. I realize this seems very basic, but you would be surprised by how many people forget this step.
2)CREATE A GROUP
Create a group. Yes, it’s that simple. Facebook makes it very easy and the process is similar to setting up a new page. If you need help working in Facebook, this post is not for that kind of detailed explanation. But you may reach out to me separately, if you wish.
3)NAME YOUR GROUP
The name. Seriously, this was the most difficult part for me. Pick a name that resonates with you, either based off your name (Alyssa Drake’s Dreamers) or off your writing (a friend of mine uses Bella’s Heartbreakers). I’ve seen some extremely creative names and some borderline inappropriate (watch out for FB police). Go, with what you are comfortable using and posting.
I bounced a couple ideas off the boxed set promoter. At this point, I really did not have anyone to ask and I was extremely grateful for her guidance (one of the bonuses of a reader group).
4) SETTINGS OF THE GROUP
Privacy settings. I do not recommend keeping the group ‘public’. You need some control over group members (although I’ve never denied anyone or had to ban them yet). Most groups are set to ‘private’.
5) THE LOOK
Banner and profile pictures, just like your regular profile and author/PA page. Make sure they reflect the flavor of your group. Don’t be shy for this is about promoting YOURSELF and YOUR BOOKS. This is all about you.
6) INVITING MEMBERS
DO NOT INVITE PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR PERMISSION! This is a huge no-no, do not add people without receiving consent. It is at best annoying and at worst can get you reported for spamming.
So how do you get members? First, I messaged my close, personal friends and authors that I worked with and ASKED if I could add them to my group. Then I posted to my profile page and author page and invited people to join. Every newsletter and every takeover also has the link to my readers’ group listed somewhere.
7)INCREASING THE NUMBER OF MEMBERS
Pumping up membership. Slow going, isn’t it? Some days it seems like that. If you are happy with membership trickling in, then you’re doing fine. If you want them faster, you have to go out and get them.
How? That is the million-dollar question. I’ve tried several new methods recently to incite more readers. First, I offer reader group only giveaways and ask my members to invite a friend (but only if they want to join). This worked so well, I’ve done it twice now. Second, when I post giveaways outside the group, I’ll announce that members of my group will receive better prizes if they win (i.e. swag, chocolate, or whatever your group loves) or a second entry merely because they are a Dreamer. This has had moderate results. Third, I just opened the group for author takeovers (this brings in new fans and encourages your members to interact more). This is a new experiment for me, but I’ve seen it work well in other groups, so I’m trying it out for a two-month test period.
8) THE FIRST POST IN THE READER GROUP
Your first post! Do I remember my first post? No, did I agonize over what my first post would be? Yes. Did I write it and delete it several times? Oh yeah. Here’s the thing. No one remembers my first post. Just go for it!
9) STOP WATCHING YOUR NUMBERS
I know that sounds like strange advice.
Your group is organic and people will come and go. You have writing to do, focus on that instead. Have fun with the members who want to be in your reader group and do not compare yourself to the membership of other groups. This is not a contest; it’s a support system.
10) KEEP POSTING
Now that your group is up and running, it’s important to remember that your readers are there for you. They want to hear from you. Start talking.