In order for a writer to sustain their work they must have an audience. Here’s my ‘how-to’ take on how- to cultivate a colossal readership.
1. I Avoid Content Writing (such as this)
Content writing is for click bait writers who want to drive traffic and market. I prefer the ‘build rapport’ approach. In order to do so, I believe I need to be upfront and open with my readers.
I need to be a person. Not a content pumping machine.
Although the factual number of my following is large, I have what I refer to as “my tribe.” It’s a small percentage of my following that I engage with regularly who I know are reading almost every story I publish. While the remaining number of my following may occasionally read something (or are bots), my tribe is consistent. They are my true fans and supporters.
2. I’m Respectful of My Readers
If you’ve read my stories then you already know I tend to lean toward the use of profanity. I don’t do it to be rude or because I’m a foul mouth. I do it to add tone to the story.
Believe it or not, profanity can set the mood. Whether humor, sarcasm or frustration and rage.
I understand that some people feel uncomfortable with the use of profanity and I respect that. I would never use profanity when directly engaging with readers such as when responding to emails or comments.
I once had someone tell me they loved a story I had written even though they greatly dislike profanity. She was able to see past it and continue reading my work. I felt this was the highest honor for me as a writer.
There are other ways to show your audience respect. Acknowledge their feedback and keep an open mind when they are sharing their stories and opinions with you.
Respect is knowing your audience.
3. I’m Personable
Don’t be the person who posts something on social media and then ignores the comments followers leave for you. Be a part of the conversation or start the conversation if it’s too quiet. The independent writer plays many roles and wears many hats.
Yes, the number one reason readers come back to read your work is because they enjoy your writing, but if you’re an asshole they’ll probably stop coming back.
I’ve heard lots of writers say, “there just isn’t enough time to respond to everyone!” If that’s the case, block a chunk of time in your regular weekly schedule and respond to as many as you can.
I’m vastly passionate about writing, and I’m equally as passionate about my audience. I write for my audience.
Engagement is key.
My audience guides me and provides inspiration when I’m struggling to get words on paper. My readers feel acknowledged, and I’m getting to know them and build rapport. I’d say that’s a good day.
4. My Sole Purpose Isn’t Marketing
I want to keep writing. I love writing. I love my readers. I love the sense of community. I love the engagement. I had someone leave a response on one of my stories last week where nine other readers commented on his response. It’s amazing and exactly what I’m trying to create.
My financial goal as writer is to be able to afford to my publish my essays publicly, giving the entire cyber-world access. I offer memberships on Patreon. This way, those who enjoy my work can financially support it in exchange for rewards.
In fact, my intentions aren’t to sell anything. Ideally, I don’t want to sell you my book, I want to be able to afford to give it to you. My intentions are to earn enough income to continue to write full time while building an engaging Patreon community.
I want to do this without appearing like a marketing spam bot hustling to sell my sweat for pennies, or sell an online course, or manipulate you to download my free book so I can get your email address to send some marketing your way on the same day, same time each week.
5. Do Cool Shit
If you’re excited about your work in progress, your readers will be too. Do cool shit. Share your work, inspire others to share your work. Include your readers in your writing process. Allow them to be a part of your writer’s life. Do cool shit and wow ’em.