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Nine ways to find readers: Editor's Notes #358
February 09, 2022

An author spends months writing a book, and maybe puts his heart's blood into it, and then it lies about unread till the reader has nothing else in the world to do.
—W. Sommerset Maugham

In this issue:

1. Nine ways to find readers
2. Tickled my funny bone
3. Interesting Web site
4. Writing prompt

1.Nine ways to find readers
First, a friend overseas sent me, in Canada, a link to a news story that happened in the US. Then, I saw the same story on an American broadcast. The story got me thinking about ways writers get their words in front of readers’ eyes.

The story of how eight-year-old Dillon Helbig got a great following is told in the Interesting Web site section and is a bonus in this issue, so I won’t go into it right here. This is where I’ll share nine other ways I’ve seen writers successfully draw positive attention to their books.
  • They use their contacts. They tell everyone they know about their book. They make phone calls, write emails, send snail mail, and use social media.
  • They capitalize on organizations. They connect aspects of their books with organizations they may or may not personally belong to. For example, a writer who writes about the history of potatoes contacts a garden club and offers to do a talk.
  • They use media. They let their local and regional radio or TV stations and newspapers know what they’ve written. So many people do this that I’m tempted to assume everyone would think of this, but if you haven’t, use this idea. You’ll be a big fish in a small pond, highly noticeable
  • They use the calendar. Anything in a book that relates to celebrations can open doors for sharing the news about a book.
  • They contact local schools. They welcome authors who can talk about their writing process or the topics of their books. Before you go, research what would be expected and appreciated in the specific school you contact.
  • They present their books at gatherings of teachers. Sales there go both to individual teachers as well as whole schools or school boards. Be sure you have plenty of business cards and other promotional material on hand for those who go home to talk with the people with power to buy in bulk.
  • They write letters to the editor when their books apply to a local situation. They propose an interview where they are the experts.
  • They use all the research they do for their books and apply even the bits they didn’t directly use in the book to the ideas above.
  • They set up tables to do readings or use props to draw attention to their books at fairs, festivals, and anywhere else other vendors are selling directly to the public. Our local newspaper often catches them on camera if their props are interesting enough, giving them yet another contact with readers.
  • One author I interviewed at a writers’ festival told me he had read the chapters of his first book one by one in a podcast. That alone garnered him many sales, and he has gone on to write other books, all of which have sold well nationally.
  • Another author called our national radio station and sold them the idea of his writing a story with the listeners. He wrote the first chapter or two, and then, each week, he asked the listeners to critique his work, teased them with what was coming up, and asked their advice about the direction he might take next. He had phenomenal sales.
Let these ideas inspire you to find your own ways to find readers for your books.

PS. You might set a goal related to finding readers for your book. If so, use the reminders set up at to keep you on track. If you choose to make your goal public, you may inspire others to follow your lead.

2.Tickled my funny bone
There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can’t get away.

3. Interesting Web site
For more on Dillon Helbig’s story, click the links below. Here’s the written article.

And here’s the video.

4. Writing prompt
Dillon Helbig figured out where potential readers of his book were likely to be, and he went there. Think about other times physically going somewhere is important in reaching a goal. Write a short piece showing that link between place and goals. I’d love to see what you do.

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