How To Find Your Readers – The Author Hangout (Episode 3 w/ Cristin Harber)


>>SHAWN: Hi, I’m Shawn Manaher, host of The
Author Hangout. The Author Hangout is brought to you by book marketing tools which aims
to equip authors with the right tools, education and community to help you market your books
better. Today on the episode for the author hangout we’re gonna be tackling the topic
how to find your readers. That’s a topic that every author is asking about, or wondering
about, they cry about it, they’re afraid of it. Have no fear, put away your tissues. We
have Cristin Harber on the show today, and I’m really excited to have Kristine harbor
on the show. She writes romantic suspense with, how does she say it, with sizzle. And
she is a resident from northern Virginia. She graduated from university of Louisville.
Her and her husband have 2 kids, and an English bulldog. Kristin, welcome to the author hangout.>>CRISTIN: Hi, thanks for having me. I have
both these kids around here somewhere so if you hear, they’re just saying hello.>>SHAWN: That’s cool. It’s really great to
have you on the show. With today’s show, what we’re going to be talking about as I mentioned,
how to find your readers, audience, we’re doing the same thing as we’ve done before,
using the hash tag the author hangout, so we’re gonna track your comments and questions
as we go through the show. So audience, do your thing. Now as I said, everybody listening,
we’re tackling the topic, how to find your readers, I have to tell you that Kristin is
a pro at this, she’s an expert at it, and we’re gonna jump right in. one of the first
questions we have from sally is how do I find sic if readers, but a caveat, don’t include
Google plus, and don’t include facebook groups.>>CRISTIN: Okay, no facebook, no Google plus.
My automatic reaction would be to look at good reads. The interesting thing about good
reads is that we can really look at genre specific fiction. And I am a reader first,
and I think a lot of writers are readers first, and that’s really how we can utilize good
reads by joining groups and participating in discussions, a lot of those groups give
the opportunities for authors to in a separate area host their books and what they’re working
on, interacting with fans and building relationships on good reads I found to be pretty helpful.
I haven’t done that in the last couple months, I have a new baby at home, but that’s really
something I think that genre specific, and I don’t know a lot about science fiction,
but that would be my first go to.>>SHAWN: Thanks for that. The next question
we actually have a couple questions in the same genre, and the next question actually
comes from rob, I’m looking for baby boomer readers, probably 50 and up. What do you think
about that?>>CRISTIN: Yeah, I got to tell you rob, I
do not know. I don’t have a good answer for that, so I wouldn’t want to volunteer any
information other than the fact that I would say that good reads is huge, I’m not just
trying to push good reads, but good reads is huge, you’re gonna find different reader
oriented groups there. I don’t have a good answer.>>SHAWN: And that’s okay, Cristin. I did
some homework on this one. I made some assumptions about rod’s questions, he’s looking for baby
boomer readers, and my initial assumption was rod, you need to get on linked in, you
need to focus in on that area. I was completely wrong.>>CRISTIN: Okay.>>SHAWN: I said you know what, yeah, I was
like oh, this is great, so I looked at it further, and what I came to find out, I made
those assumptions, but then when I researched it. facebook is huge for boomers, they are
on it at an incredible percentage over the last 3 years, they’ve increased a tremendous
amount, so rod, for your baby boomers that are 50 and older, depending on your topic,
you’re gonna be looking at facebook, you’re gonna be looking at facebook groups, and what
you can do is you can search for keyword specific groups that might be in your area. So let’s
say your book is on finance for boomers, so simply go into facebook, type in baby boomer
finance, or even back out of facebook, go into Google, and search for facebook groups
whatever the name of your book is, and I think that will get you a lot of opportunity for
those types of readers.>>CRISTIN: You can actually also target facebook
advertising by age, I believe, and various other demographics. You’re gonna run an ad
or if you wanted to pull likes to an author page, you could target that by sex, age, education,
vocation…>>SHAWN: You run facebook ads, Cristin?>>CRISTIN: I love facebook ads, absolutely.
The first couple things I did was to set up affiliate links, so that I know when people
are purchasing and also I use evenly links that I track, when I do an advertisement.
So I target for, I personally have only targeted for things that I think encourage sales. I
recently did a facebook advertisement for a 99 cent box set, and I had a release party
and I did a full price advertisement push for that. Both of those, I targeted by author
interest, demographics, age, and women, because I write romance, and that’s primarily a group
I will say, I have a lot of guys that have contacted me, I write a lot of guns and bombs
and things like that.>>SHAWN: You know, RJ is a big fan of romance
suspense. He doesn’t like to tell anybody, but he’s so into it. I can’t believe it. He
tries to hide behind things, but you know, it is what it is. Exactly. Talk about things
you might know something about, and tell us a little edit about your story with this question,
Trish is asking I write romantic suspense, I would love to know how to identify my readers.
Tell us about your story, and then answering this question if you don’t mind.>>CRISTIN: From the very beginning, or?>>SHAWN: When you were born and then later
on in.>>CRISTIN: Well I published 5 titles at once
in September, so I’m coming up on my 6 month anniversary. But so I had 5 titles, and they
are romantic suspense, and after each title I have a file, so someone can move on from
one book to the next book. As for targeting romantic suspense, I focus on keywords and
getting on subgenre lists. Specifically the military romance list was very important.
So I use keywords when in was uploading to Amazon, and also I have a relationship with
a few eiders one good reads and I also use net galley for reviews. And I target people
that were heavy romantic suspense readers who have e as history of reviewing
and those type authors, and I would look to
see if it was their cup of tea, and from there I would let them spider web to their fans,
so if they posted a review, their fans tended to be romantic suspense readers, and it kind
of went from there.>>SHAWN: Okay, and with that, when you’re
targeting other, targeting for readers, do you actually target the other books that are
in your genre, that is, do you look at the reviews that are on those to find those same
people online, or do you do anything like that?>>CRISTIN: You know, no, not necessarily.
The amount of time I have to spend, that would be time intensive, so I let them come to me,
and then I sort through who I think would be a good fit, because there are some people
that would request a book and if I see they’re constantly awarding 2 and 3 stars, they can
go buy the book if they want to.>>SHAWN: Yeah.>>CRISTIN: And so that’s what I did, but
I didn’t go searching, I will say I have probably 20 or so facebook pages that I follow as a
reader, and I sent my art for my book to them with a review request, and I think that like
2 of them reviewed the book. But I also met a ton of other facebook reviewers that had
blogs also, and they reach out to me, and we now have established a relationship, I
did a blog tour, they jump in the blog tour, the relationship has been building over the
last 6 months. A lot of that has been offering the opportunity for them to read the book,
and then talking to them. A lot of authors, I found that a lot of them feel like authors
that are just throwing things at them. So I took time to say this one, a friend of mine
named Sharon recommended a blog, Mandy’s blog, straight shooting book reviews, she said you
need to contact Mandy. And so I did, and we’ve established this relationship, she’s a great
reviewer, I never would have founder without someone passing her name along. I also asked
people where do you read reviews, where do you find recommendations at, and then I introduce
myself way before I ask them to review my book.>>SHAWN: And so that goes a long with he
same question that robin had, my biggest question would be how to find legit book reviewers
for upcoming KDP eBooks. Thanks robin for that question. Anything to add with finding
reviewers?>>CRISTIN: I spent so much time, I realize
the last week of September, my anticipated release date was October 1st. I spent 2 days
contacting book reviewers and filling out forms and I sent out emails, the return on
my time was awful, and it just didn’t really net me anything. and so I put one book into
net galley, as the first book, and it was expensive, I think it was almost 400 dollars,
which is a huge amount of money for somebody who’s never published anything, it was a big
risk. And it paid off. So much so that I looked at the numbers and reviews. A couple weeks
later I put the 2nd book up, and the next week the 3rd book. The 2nd one in November,
the 3rd in December, the end of December. But it has been worth it to me, I only have
a set amount of time, I basically do everything book related during naptime, before everyone
gets up and after everyone goes to sleep. It was worth the investment to spend the 400
dollars in emptier, November, December.>>SHAWN: Very cool, William rock popped up
a good question, there are tons of good questions come through here, we’re going to continue
to answer the questions after the show, if your question does not get answered, that’s
ok, we’ll answer every question that comes through. Good thoughts coming through. William
rock, do you also read and reviewed other books, and where do you do they?>>CRISTIN: I don’t post reviews anymore,
I think I did, as a reader, I used good reads for maybe a year or two before I decided that
I was going to self publish, and I went through and I changed, I took down anything that was
critical, because I want to find the balance of being a reader and an author on good reads,
and I only posted have either read it or I want to read it. And I think I have one do
not read due to the pirated book. I have for my critique partners, given them 5 stars,
and I have written reviews for those, and there’s 3 critique partners, and they have
5, 6, or 7 books out. Those are the reviews I’ve done, and I’m pretty open about the fact
that they’re my critique partners. I’ve posted those on good reads and on my facebook pages.>>SHAWN: How important is it to have a critique
partner in the process, not only the write the book, but to market it after, do they
help in any way like that?>>CRISTIN: I’m a huge believer in cross promotion.
My critique partners don’t write romantic suspense, so you might assume our readers
might not cross genres, but we do all read and write romance. And I think that somebody
that likes romance will going to visit another genre. We share readers and we pimp each other’s
books on our pages. They might be the single largest sources of word of mouth. We’re just,
it’s such a great opportunity, I have found that cover shares, reveals, teasers, a facebook
party, we all came to gear out each other’s books, readers like to interact with authors,
I think with the advent of indie authors and self publishing, we’ve become accessible,
it’s a whole new things where people can get online and just chat and ask the question
about character, or storyline, even when I’m reading, I get emails constantly, what are
you reading, who are you reading. My critique partners are also ways on top of the list,
I’m really invested in them doing well. They’re got great stories. And I sometimes critique
partners writing a book by committee. That’s not the case at all with us. We bounce ideas
and I think it’s part of our process, but at the end of the day, we each have a very
specific style of writing, some of us write 1st person, 3rd person, all kinds of stuff.
But readers are readers, critique partners are a huge part of publishing books.>>SHAWN: You heard it here first, Cristin
Harber, pimp your books with critique partners, tweet that wherever you need to go, we’re
gonna make t-shirts about that, you have to do that. Speaking of politics, good segue,
tell us how politics has flavored, influenced, helped you in writing your books?>>CRISTIN: Writing the books not so much.
Selling the books, that’s been helpful. I write about black ops guys that interact with
government, but there’s so partisan pool or sway, party isn’t addressed, politicians get
in the way of things I guess. But I did work in politics for a while, and I learned that
except on the tippy top, politicians much like indie authors have to fight for every
vote. We have to fight for every book sales. You have to have a marketing plan, much like
their campaign plan that is mutli faceted, it’s going to be, they interview some people,
they have commercials, they show up at county fairs, we are on facebook, having conversations,
having, tweeting about things, we’re learning all about google hangout, which is new for
me. You know, we use advertisements on facebook and goodreads, we have the opportunities to
get reviews, and basically that’s just hand selling your book from one person to the next
person, creating word of mouth, giving them a reason to want to buy your book. In politics
It’s you want to find a new voter for a new candidate, you would say candidate A is very
similar to candidate B, you like candidate B, so consider candidate A, so what I would
say is I would be in a conversation with somebody, not necessarily being this direct, but if
somebody likes this new glen Hernandez book that’s out, or my places I go to because I
love her, but if you like mya banks, you like KGI, you might like Kristin harper. That’s
where I make the connection. That’s all about finding something that motivates a buyer to
one click.>>SHAWN: Cool. Yeah, that makes a lot of
sense, and you probably have lots of elephants and donkeys to play with politics.>>CRISTIN: Stay away.>>SHAWN: That’s funny, I
have a question for you, so why is September
30th, 2008 an important date for people to remember you about?>>CRISTIN: Oh, okay. Hold on, September 30th,
2008. Yeah.>>SHAWN: So I’m gonna tell you why it’s important,
I want you to listen up and listen in. that’s when cristin got on twitter. That’s the first
day she sent this, she said I am trying to figure out twitter. And I just want to tell
you guys this, if you’re doing anything with marketing your books, there comes a day when
you just need to get on twitter, you just need to get into a facebook book group, get
into a linked in group. Figure it out because it starts one day, now we’re looking at 6
years later, and she is a self-publishing rock star, and I’m gonna through, is it okay
if I share your numbers? On average, cristin is selling 10 to 15 thousand books a month.
That is a month. Guys, it starts someplace, and at some point, you have to get in there,
start marketing, really dive in and try it all out.>>CRISTIN: I remember when we first started
every night I’d look at my numbers, my husband said that if we can sell 100 books in a day,
or week, or something like that, we can do this. We can really do this, what can we do
tomorrow, what one thing am I going to do tomorrow to sell however many more I need
to get to that number at the end of the week, I have no way of doing this, so I would have
a conversation on twitter, or make sure I liked every single e person on facebook, I
wrote back. But everyday I would say, what could I do to meet one more person. It’s really
hard. At the time, the first 3 or 4 weeks, I was 9 months pregnant, I was humongous.
And I had a toddler running around the house screaming she wanted to do bubbles, I can’t
explain to you how hard it was to wanna have a conversation, but ally wanted to do was
sleep or eat, one of the two. But I didn’t. And it paid off.>>SHAWN: Yeah. That’s pretty cool, that goes
in line with your martenerity marketing, you’re in the maternity ward, is there some story
I heard bout this, what is this?>>CRISTIN: So I believe that content is king,
and you have to continually feed the beast, the beast being Amazon. And I had the five
stories that I put out, and I know that I needed to keep writing, I was going to start
the next book, so I spend 3 weeks marketing and meeting new people, so I was like this
is a great time to start my next book. Feels like a vacation. My husband can find on his
home. And tried to chapter 1, but it didn’t go as well, but I hand sold a couple books,
and I gifted books to the nurses. I was just telling everyone about my books. One of my
best friends an critique partners, she took over my facebook page for the entire week
I was in the hospital, and we posted a 500 likes character interview that she had done,
n and then had a contest, Burt encourage people to post what the characters looked like while
I was out. And then the following week I tried to catch up with everything. So by that time,
enough people had asked to have a separate page where they would talk with the character
and the plot lines. I ended up started up the teen titan page, more erasers are comfortable
posting what characters they look like.>>SHAWN: And with that kind of talking about,
what are you currently doing to capture more readers, what are some things, like twitter
in 2008, what are some new things that you’re trying today to get more readers?>>CRISTIN: New things that I’m trying today,
I did a sty. Patrick’s day facebook party, where I posted for 15 minutes of action in
this picture. Last week, I was sharing Hamilton to get on her facebook, and I got new readers
off of that, and she was online for this party along with a handful of other authors and
I thin that we found that we had the opportunity to meet new readers think facebook launch
parties are huge at the moment because authors are more comfortable cross checking with each
other. Readers realize thane can’t share these events and go with their friends, but I always
have. It is so much fun, and I got to tons of good friends.>>SHAWN: Very cool. And
we have another comment that came up here,
and I just lost it, the question is how, what do you mean about the twitter connections?
How are you actually, I studied your twitter profile, stalked you on this, how do you foster
the engametm on your twitter profile.>>CRISTIN: I think there’s 2 main ways that
I do that, I use hash tags, there’s one that I use a lot. And there are a few people that
have come to automatically retweet anything that I have tagged, and so that relationship
is probably been we’ve been building it, a couple months ago, they would retweet a couple
tweaks, but now it’s automatic, they have it set up on auto retreater, I don’t know
why we’re on facebook and twitter at the same time. The other thing is, I don’t constantly
just push my book. I have writing relater things tied into everyday life. And I always
come up, I guess a major part of my life. Constantly watches movies, and last night
I was watching those movies, I was watching die hard, Steven had them on, so I should
have been writing but I wasn’t, but I was tweeting out, I had a couple people retweet
that like oh, you should have been writing, but yeah, I watched die hard, too. So those
are not romance readers that are retreating that, they’re just people I’ve met or I know
online but they also have their networks, so when they, it’s the spider web effect,
they retweet someone else tweets, it, so I always notice anytime somebody retweet something
that’s not just a blink, I get new followers, and then eventually those people will see
my blink.>>SHAWN: And can I just say I wrote down
I think it’s 6 or 7 things that I, when I was studying your profile, I think that number
1, study cresting’s social media stuff, honestly, if you want to hack what she’s doing, and
get into the things that she’s doing, look at what she does, and here’s some of the things
she does. Be yourself, engage naturally, engage frequently, engage in multiple forms, create
a sense of excitement, so all of those things as I studied cresting’s profile, just on twitter,
those are the things that are very practical that you can do, don’t create a persona that
isn’t you. Jump on twitter, be who you are, and out of that, it’ just theses relationships
will foster and grow over time.>>CRISTIN: I think a few years ago, there
was a big push for romance authors to picture the hot guys, and I remember thinking gosh,
I really need to do that constantly, because I think it’s fun, but it’s not me, I’m just
like this nerd, and it just, it wasn’t always me, that’s somebody else’s thing, and that’s
awesome, but I had to find my own niche, and it took a while, I took a while for me to
be the stay at home mom who has to chase her toddler who enjoys actions movies, and once
I was comfortable with that, then it kind flew from there.>>SHAWN: Awesome, well Cristin, I hate to
end it, but we’re close to the end, and what I would like to say, thank you, also the audience,
you guys are like blowing up the comments, and I appreciate that, again, we’re gonna
answer these comments coming through, keep them coming if you have more questions, cresting,
where can people find you, what’s your next project, what’s going on with you?>>CRISTIN: You can find me on twitter, but
it’s @cristinharber. And I’m on facebook and I you want to talk about teen titan, you can
search team titan, on facebook, it’ll bring you to a closed group, and we’d love to chat
with you there, I’m on there all the time, and the next book I’m working on is a prequel
to the second book in the series and I’m hoping to pick up some new readers with that, and
I have 2 more novels planned for this year.>>SHAWN: Keep us posted, we’re going to have
you on again, and we’re gonna get all geeked out on numbers and spreadsheets, you and Tara,
I’m sure that Jason wiser is into numbers too, if you haven’t already downloaded book
marketing tools on the author checklist, do it now. Go to bookmarketingtools.com/blog
on the right hand side, go there, fill out the form, click the blue button so that you
get that, not only are you going to get the guide which is a really good reserouce in
giving you a plan to follow, but you’re also going to get the weekly emails for marketing
author tips. So in 2 weeks we’re going to be here with Kathy mice who is the owner of
publish, in 2012, her company launched that because she and them were just frustrated
with the economic distance in the publishing world and wanted to create a platform for
authors to be part of, so thanks everybody, see you in 2 weeks. Take care.

3 thoughts on “How To Find Your Readers – The Author Hangout (Episode 3 w/ Cristin Harber)

  1. Want to watch specific tips from "How To Find Your Readers" with Cristin Harber? Click "read more" on this post and click on any of the time stamps to be taken right to that section of the video!

    1:59 – How to find readers in _____ genre?

    3:39 – Watch +Shawn be completely wrong.

    4:55 – Using Facebook ads to laser target readers.

    6:55 – Cristin's launch story and how she found readers.

    9:11 – The RIGHT and WRONG way to engage with influential reviewers.

    10:53 – "The return on my time was awful" and what she did that WAS worth her time.

    13:42 – The importance of having critique partners for marketing.

    See the blog post write up for the link to the critique partner website she used.:

    http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/how-to-find-your-readers/

    16:21 – Elephants, Donkeys, and Book Marketing

    17:40 – "Giving them a reason to want to buy your books."

    19:09 – Watch Cristin be absolutely stumped! Her reaction is hilarious!

    20:06 – "She is a self-publishing rockstar" complete with sales figures!

    20:35 – "What one thing am I going to do tomorrow to sell more books?"

    21:17 – Cristin: "I was humongous!" & "She wanted to do bubbles."

    21:52 – Maternity Ward Book Marketing

    23:58 – What is Cristin currently doing to capture more readers?

    25:43 – How Cristin promotes via Twitter (Great tips here!)
     
    27:44 – Shawn's 5 reasons for Cristin's success with engaging on Twitter.

    28:34 – "Pictures of hot guys" (or more on engaging with readers)

    29:40 – Where you can find Cristin and her work

    ——————————————————————
    ——————————————————————
    Come read the write up, and listen to the audio/podcast version of the show here:

    http://bookmarketingtools.com/blog/how-to-find-your-readers/

  2. I write funny novels. I'm an ex-stand-up comedian (8 years pro) and a full-time copywriter. I've nearly finished a series of five novels. I've just got the first in the series accepted as perma-free. So now the promotion starts. I have about twenty 4 and 5-star reviews on amazom (.co.uk and .com). This video is very interesting but out of my league in terms of where I am. Do you have any really basic information for beginners like me, particularly as I hate Goodreads (unfathomable) Twitter (who would bother?) and facebook (incomprehensible). My perma-free book is They Win. You Lose. PS I hate iPhones too. Am I a lost cause?

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