How Authors Can Stay Connected to Their Readers (and Each Other!) in a Virtual World

Collaborating with fellow writers and meeting readers are two exciting parts of being an author, but in-person gatherings cannot always be easily arranged due to budget constraints or unforeseen circumstances. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to virtually stay in touch with other authors, your fans, and potential readers around the world. Below are some recommendations on how to connect online, with lots of links to recorded webinars and further reading. With these ideas, you can continue to improve your skills and knowledge, engage with readers, and promote your work, no matter where you are.

Join online networking and writing communities

A writing community, whether in-person or online, offers many advantages, including the opportunity to give and receive support and feedback. When you can regularly communicate with the same writer or writers, you will find yourself inspired and constantly learning from others’ experiences. Start building your writing community by determining your wants and needs from a writing group, and reach out to like-minded authors.

If you want to find inspiration on your own time, there are plenty of writing prompts and exercises to be found online. An online writing workshop or program such as Camp NaNoWriMo can help you overcome writer’s block and get your creative juices flowing. You can also start learning how to write more productively and effectively.

Remember that the Author Learning Center is also here to help connect you with other authors from all over the world. Create an Author Circle with authors of similar experience, genre, or goals to get the support and encouragement you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book.

Create your online author platform

Your online platform, which includes your website and social media, serves many functions. Increasing your online visibility builds your network and makes you and your books searchable. With a strong online presence, you can meet other writers and industry professionals, keeping your finger on the pulse of the writing community. Your platform can also help you engage with your current readers, while increasing the chances of new readers discovering you. You can become an author who readers like to engage with and trust.

Don’t let the big world of social media overwhelm you. Learn the basics and find which platforms work best for you. There are different strategies for promoting and selling books on social media, depending on if you’re using Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook.

Beyond social media, your website and blog are places for people to learn more in-depth information about you, your expertise, and your work. You can direct your social media followers to your website or blog, which can in turn direct viewers to your books. Feature positive book reviews or interviews that you’ve done to drum up excitement for your work.

Build your email list and create a newsletter

You may consider including a link on your website or social accounts for visitors to join your newsletter or email list. Weekly or monthly newsletters can be a great way to keep loyal readers updated on your projects and upcoming events. You can also use email newsletters to share exclusive news or poll your readers.

Launch and promote your book online

Another way to increase your online visibility or launch a new book is through a book blog tour. Get in touch with bloggers who cover the sort of work you create, and see if they’ll feature a review, interview, guest post, or other content highlighting your book. If you’re able to secure this content on multiple blogs within a certain time frame, you’ve effectively “toured” your book and will get increased traffic to your website and social media through these different outlets.

There are plenty of other ways to promote your book online, including digital advertising. Even with a small budget, you can explore and test advertising options with Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

To create even more excitement around your books, consider doing a giveaway or contest through your website or through a site like Goodreads.

Create video communications and podcasts

Video and audio are powerful forms of communication and are becoming more popular in the publishing world. You can stay connected to other writers and readers by creating videos and podcasts. Both formats can be a more exciting way of educating or entertaining your audience, promoting your work, and sharing a message than a blog post or Facebook post. Plenty of authors have created YouTube channels and podcasts to promote and sell their books. There is a huge, virtual community to be discovered here!

You may also choose to communicate with others in real time using a web conferencing program, like Zoom or Skype. You can video chat with book clubs, writing groups, and other gatherings for a more personalized and interesting digital conversation.

We live in a time where networking and marketing can be done from the comfort of your own home. Take advantage of what the internet has to offer and stay virtually connected through online communities, social media, and more. If you’re interested in further research on this subject, just use the ALC search bar to type a keyword or topic and any related content will be listed. You can use the filters to drill down on content type and subtopic. Don’t let a lack of in-person opportunities limit you; the online opportunities are limitless!

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