Romance Writers & Their Fans
Copyright Judy Bagshaw - All Rights Reserved
Writing is generally a very solitary pursuit. But once
your book has been written, you need to find an audience for it, or the effort to create it has been wasted
(unless you write solely for your own pleasure, in which case, this article is not for you). And once you
have that audience, you want to keep them so they will come back and buy all the other books you plan to
There are few more loyal than romance genre fans. Once
they find a favorite writer they don’t want to let them go. But the romance field is enormous, and the
romance author is competing with thousands of others. How can you make yourself stand out from the
Most obviously, you need to write the best book you can,
and keep a high standard for all the work that follows. Nothing will send readers packing faster than
You also need to be willing to put some leg work (or
cyber leg work) into promoting your own work and your “brand”…who you are as a romance
Basically what you are doing is setting out to build a
community of friends who will support you no matter what. And to create this
community, you need to attract true fans and keep them coming back.
Essential to this process these days is having a web
presence. Any author, at the very least, needs to have their own website, and they need to make it
professional looking and keep it up to date. On your website you can have a guestbook that visitors can sign
and leave messages. Make sure to respond to these people who have taken the time to visit your site and leave
a note. Thank them for their interest and time, and invite them to join your community.
This could be as simple at the beginning, as having a
newsletter that they can sign up for. The newsletter should be full of information about your currently
available work, your works in progress, your process as a writer, even some autobiographical stuff that
allows readers to feel that they know you on some personal level. Make sure the newsletter is friendly,
informative and fun to read. Offer special things to your members…free stories, fun
contests, things like polls that involve them in your career.
I was lucky enough to have a friend set up a Judy
Bagshaw fanclub. It provides a special place for the fans to visit where there are interviews, a photo
gallery, sneak peaks at works in progress and excerpts of existing work.
Make use of promotion services like Books We
Love www.bookswelove.net BWL run several contests a year
that attract HUGE numbers of readers. Their prizes are generally books and ebooks donated by member authors.
Each member author has a page with its own guestbook. You can harvest the names and emails of people who sign
your book. Thank these people for stopping at your page, and invite them to join your community. Some will
decline, but many will accept, thereby building up your fan base.
This is the age of the social networking sites. It’s
easy to build a Facebook, MySpace or Twitter page. Keep your pages current and include lots of information
about your books and where they are available. Use the invitations capacities of the sites to invite people
to your book launches and signings. Invite new “friends” or “followers” to join your community or to buy your
Blogging is also huge right now, and can be a powerful
tool in building your fan following. It helps if you can write an engaging, informative blog on issues
relevant to the stories you write. For example, my books often have plus-sized characters and deal with
issues of size acceptance. This would be great fodder for my blog. Readers of blogs have the chance to leave
comments on posts. Make sure to respond positively to these comments, letting the reader know you value what
they said and encouraging them to come back again. You also have the opportunity through your blog to
periodically plug your fan community and invite readers to join in the fun.
Unless you’re a highly prolific writer, there will
sometimes be long periods between the releases of books. To keep your readers interested and to give them
something to read until your next book is out, why not offer something for free? An e-serial is a great way
to fill this void, but you have to be prepared to commit to providing chapters (around 5000 words on average)
every month or so. One spec. fiction author I know, has been writing free stories for
years. She has used Lulu.com to publish trade paperbacks of these stories. Her true fans snap them up,
wanting a “full collection” of her works.
People love presents, so you could offer special things
just for your fans, to thank them for their loyalty and support. You could have free short stories just for
them. One way of doing this is to run a poll asking them which of your characters they’d want a story
centered around, and then provide that story. If you have some flair with digital art, you could make free
wallpaper for them to download, or trading cards of your characters they could
collect. You could create posters of favourite characters, or ebook collections of
excerpts from your work.
As well, the really avid fans might be into writing fan
fiction, or creating fan art. Encourage these tributes to your work, and have a page on your fan site where
they can be displayed and shared.
If your readers feel special and appreciated, they are
sure to come back time and again to you and your books, and for a writer, that is a very good
You might also consider reading:
eSerials: A Gift to your Readers by Judy Bagshaw
Free and Inexpensive Ways to Market your
Romance by Judy Bagshaw
More Free and Inexpensive Ways to Market your
Romance by Judy Bagshaw
About the Author: Judy Bagshaw has been published since
2000. Writing romance featuring full-figured heroines, her publishing credits include 4 novels, 1 collection of
short stories, and short stories in three anthologies. She was also part of the writing team for the Ginn Reading
Series, and Reaching Readers Series, used in many elementary schools. Retired from teaching, she writes full-time
from her home in Ontario, Canada. Visit Judy's website: www.judybagshaw.com