Dylann Rhea asked: "I'm just curious about how you get readers interested in your book? I have followers on twitter (which are mostly companies and other indie writers) but no one seems to be interested in reading my story. I know I'm really new to the writing world and I'm just grasping how to advertise and all that jazz but I still can't figure out how to get readers interested."
I have a very simple answer for you.
It's harsh, but it's true. If you work hard at "getting readers interested in your book", as in, you will shove it in their faces, you will foist it in their hands, you will shout at them on every corner how they absolutely must read your timeless masterpiece and how if they don't, you will follow them all the way home and nag them there until they take your book just to get rid of you and later barf on it or give it to their dogs or burn it or throw it in a trash bin where raccoons will pee on it in the night, oblivious to your literary genius shining forth from the pages within. That's not how you get people interested in reading your work. Want to know why?
When you start out, you're an unknown entity, so nobody cares.
I've blogged a bit about writer's online presence, if you want to read more on the subject. But one simple rule to apply here is the human rule. Or, in other words, a general rule for why someone would be interested in your shit in the first place. Forget about writing or books. This rule applies to anything you produce. Think back to your drawing of a frog. You were 5 and you drew a frog (or a robot or a truck or a kitten or whatever). A nice fat green frog that to other people looked like a hideous blob on a piece of paper, or maybe even some weird doodle, but to you, to YOU, it looked like the most magnificent frog there has ever been. What did you do after you drew it? You wanted to share it. We all do that. It's the social bug thingy we have. It's no good if we can't share it, right? So, who did you share it with? If you were lucky and you had both parents, you probably shared it with your mom or your dad, or maybe with an older sibling. Again, if you were lucky and your family was loving, they probably said: "Oh, what is this?" And you said: "A frog!" Meaning, what, can't you see it's a frog? It's obvious, isn't it? And then they would've said: "Oh, what a lovely frog!" And that made you smile and want to draw more. Why did they say it? Because they truly believed it? Most likely not. Then why? Because they loved you and they wanted to encourage you.
Same applies to beginning writers.
At first, before anyone has any time or desire to read your writing, they have to know you. You. The real YOU. Not some shiny pretend facade. They have to like you enough to be willing to spend their precious time on reading what you've written. Because the first book that you will write won't be your best. Maybe not even your second or your third. It really depends on how much experience you have, and if you're starting out, chances are, at first you'll write a lot of shit. And that is OKAY. Your goal is not to get people to read it, your goal is to get people to know you. Share your process, your struggles, your triumphs, share everything. Once people know you're not a flake and you mean serious business, they will be curious to check out your work, but not before.
Forget about advertising.
Advertising is a waste of your time (and money). It used not to be, it is now. Yes, you can argue that there are various mechanisms to advertise your book on Goodreads and on Amazon and on various author networks and forums and Facebook pages and Twitter and Googe+ communities and...you want me to keep going? There are a gazillion places. Yes, by forcing people to look at your book cover you will garner their attention, but it's a disruption. People hate advertising. You can at first gain a lot of numbers, simply because you're new and people might be curious about you, but there is no relationship built between you and those people, and they will abandon you in a heartbeat, especially if you won't deliver on your promise. Like, BEST SUMMER READ EVER to them will sound like the worst book they had ever tired. These people are not loyal to you, they don't know you. Guess what they will do. If they don't like your story, they will trash it to 10 other people. Who suffers here? You. Twice. How so? Simple. Not only did you waste your time and money on advertising, you created a bad rep for yourself that will be very hard to fix.
You can of course frown here at me and ditch me and never come visit my blog again, thinking I'm some crazy wacko writer who is a hypocrite or truly doesn't know what she is talking about. And by all means, do. I do know, however, that what I'm talking about is the only way to do it, and if 1 year ago I couldn't prove it to, I can now. I have accumulated enough data that will show you that by simply writing and sharing yourself with people you can create a loyal following and readership without spending any time on advertising, because people will advertise FOR YOU.
Recent example: Wattpad.
I have put all my books on Wattpad, which is a free book sharing platform, so if you're not into giving your books away for free, you probably wouldn't want to try it. But I'm telling you, you should. ROSEHEAD, my second novel, is exploding there right now, being featured (they contacted me to have it featured, not the other way around) and having been read 42,855 times at the time of publishing this post (it was at 15,000 times 6 days ago). If you're a beginning writer, forget about copyright and protecting your work. This is the thing of the past. Anyone can pirate your books online. Why make it hard for people to read your work when they want to read your work? Make it easy. Share, share, SHARE. People will give you money, AFTER you make this first step.
Now you might sneer at me: "So, you're telling us not to advertise, and here you are, putting your books on Wattpad, which essentially works as advertisement?" I will laugh here a little, before I tell you this.
I put my books on Wattpad because my readers asked me to.
I had no idea about its existence. I didn't spend time looking for places where to put up my books, I've spent my time writing books. You should do the same. Readers won't just magically materialize at your doorstep if you won't do any work. Work, work, work. Write, write, write every day. Read, read, read every day. Share your progress every day. Keep talking about it, be consistent, and they will show up. Not today, not tomorrow, maybe not even in a year, but you have to keep faith and keep showing up, and they will too. If you think this is hard work, let me ask you this. Did you think writing is easy? Writing is not easy. Writing is hard. It's very rewarding, but it's very hard too, and unless you absolutely love it, why torture yourself? Do something you love.
If you do love writing, however, no matter what you will share with people, your love for stories will shine through, and it will attract them like moths to a light. They will want it. And then, only THEN, can you start cranking up interest in your books. (Meaning, you will have enough of a loyal audience to advertise to.) I can do it now, I did it at the book fairs and my first convention and am doing it occasionally on Twitter and on other social media channels, but always with humor. Like, I tell people, "I will take your cash", but with a smile. My job is to entertain. I'm a writer. Even if I coax people into buying my books, I still aim to entertain, in case they decide not to buy them. If I made them smile, if I made them feel good, chances are, they will come back.
Rant over. Get to writing and sharing your progress on writing. Or else.