Workshop 27: Flying Monkeys: Creating A Fan Base That Will Fight For You
According to Susan May Warren, we all need a tribe. A tribe? A tribe of what? Simply put, your tribe is your fan base. They are the people who read your books, follow you on social media, and promote your books to their friends. Ah, yes, we all need a tribe like that.
Presented in the fantasy style of The Wizard of Oz, Warren’s ACFW conference workshop, Flying Monkeys: Creating a Fan Base That Will Fight For You!, explained the differences between outbound and inbound marketing to get your books into the hands of those who will become fans. According to Warren, the purpose of marketing is to build relationships and get people to like you.
To do this, you must first build trust with those fans by making sure your values stay true to who you are and the way you write. Your readers want to trust you and know exactly what to expect when they pick up one of your books. Your unique voice communicates itself to your readers.
When building a fan base, start online then radiate out to offline, building relationships through contact with your readers. Give them a castle (a place to congregate). That way, all of your flying monkeys who are promoting your books have a place to land and communicate with each other. The place can be on Facebook, Book Shelf, a blog, your website, or Goodreads. Here you have the opportunity to interact with your readers, answer their questions, and ask questions of your own.
Outbound marketing includes book signings where you can meet fans, postcards to remind those fans of upcoming new releases, and radio spots where fans can get to know you.
Inbound marketing is based on the idea that people are looking for something. Everything you do should point to your website to bring groups into your fan base whether on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog. Once you have a small fan base, train them to promote you and let them represent you. You must know who they are and where they are and that they know how to reach you.
Be true to who you are
Make sure everything you do represents you, who you are, and what you write. Warren said your brand is more about the way your book makes people feel than any theme or tagline you may have. Your website should reflect you, your personality, and your books.
The most important thing for you is to know your audience, who they are, and what they want. Everything you put out should direct them to your website. Once that fan base is built, reach out to them with your newsletter. Stay in touch with your tribe and they will be loyal followers as long as you stay true to self and are transparent with them.