When I was little, my absolute favorite activity was curling up on my bed under my purple tube lights with a book. I would spend hours on end exploring other worlds, meeting new people, and going on wonderful adventures.
As personal websites became more mainstream (WOW I feel old just typing that sentence), I loved looking up my favorite authors, eagerly exploring the burgeoning interwebs in an effort to learn now things about the books I loved so much. I would dive deep into website archives, search for blog posts and internet articles, and watch interviews. I devoured all of it.
It wasn't about the authors themselves (sorry, Tamora Pierce), but rather about the world they had created, the stories I had lived over and over in my many re-readings. I thirsted to know more, to expand my understanding of this alternate universe I had discovered.
Now, as I prepare to publish my first book, I have done a lot of things - and dedicated a lot of time - to being true to that thirst for knowledge I had as a child. I have designed my own website to be user friendly, a landing page for people interested in learning more about the characters and the world. Once the book is published, I have a really exciting plan to build out the site and community even more, with new exciting resources for any and all who are interested.
Engaging the Reader Community
We live in a world where it is normal to have a ravenous appetite for new content. This is a challenge for writers: we create a single work, pour days of our lives into it, only to immediately have people want more. It's really hard to wait a year or two for the next book in the series - as a reader, I get it. So, how do you keep your audience engaged in the interim?
My theory is simple: as a writer, draw on your love of reading. Think about what you enjoy about reading, what you like seeing other authors do, and make it a reality. For me, this has happened in a couple of ways:
I think most of all, it's important to be authentic, especially on social media. This is something I still struggle with day-to-day, because honestly I don't really get how social media works. I get really stressed and worried about everything I post, which makes it harder for me to build an audience. It's okay - I know, and I'm working on it. Sharing that on my blog, my website, and social media is hard for me. But it's also important, because it is uniquely and authentically me.
Don't be afraid to show who you are - maybe you love posting every day, maybe you're obsessed with memes, and always find the best writing jokes, or maybe you are a video kinda person. It's all good - play to your strengths, be honest with your audience, and share the journey.
That's what it's all about, after all.
Bridget is the author of Summer Twilight, available for purchase now!