Five Blog Topics Readers Want from Authors
What do readers want to see from authors on their blogs and social media feeds?
That's the question I posed to YABC's Twitter audience this past week. They gave some great answers, which I'll post below. Overall, I saw a trend for the same five topics over and over.
Here they are, in order of most-suggested by our readers:
If a reader enjoys an author's work, chances are they have things in common with the author, or share the same tastes. Readers told us they like it when authors post about music, books, films, and TV shows they are currently enjoying. Got a photo of your cat? Post it! Authors who share bits of their personal lives with their readers appear more real and accessible. Readers who enjoy feeling connected to their favorite authors will appreciate the personal touches. They love to peek inside the life of an author. Tell readers a story!
Behind the Scenes
Those deleted scenes scattered on the edit room floor? The playlist or song most listened to while writing? The main character's favorite book or film or band? Photos and art that inspired certain scenes or characters? (Pinterest boards are great for compiling these for easy access.) Novellas, short stories, prequels from secondary characters? Alternate ending? Photos of the book cover design process? Slap it up there for all to see!
Especially if you have a lot of aspiring writers as your audience
Why do you write? What was the editing process like for you? How did your story grow from a fledgling idea to landing on a bookshelf? Do you use beta readers or critique partners? How important are they? What are your thoughts on getting an agent? The submission process? Writing prompts? Any insider info you feel comfortable sharing, share it! Aspiring writers like to feel like they're not alone and that everyone has to start somewhere.
This one is probably a no-brainer, but readers want to hear about the contests and giveaways authors have running. Readers love it when authors give back. And they don't have to win much. A bookmark is an awesome prize! Authors don't have to break the bank to make readers feel appreciated. (Bonus tip: Respond to @ replies! And always say thank you! Simple gestures like these that take a fraction of a minute can make a reader's day and forge a fan for life.)
News and Updates
Another no brainer. Appearances, release dates, events, conferences, book signings, new book deals, and any other announcement pertaining to the author's work. These items should be easily accessible on an author's website. Maybe a list of upcoming events and important dates on a sidebar?
Just remember: don't pepper your social media outlets with too many promotional announcements. Many of our readers expressed a strong dislike of promo tweets/facebook statuses. A few are OK, but they all agreed that social media should be for cultivating personal connections, first and foremost.
So what's the take away?
What I see here (and I hope you do, too) is a lovely mixture of the personal, the artistic, and the business side of things. Authors who are too heavy on one topic will cause reader burnout. A balance between all five hits the magic sweet spot and feels new and refreshing from week to week.
Also? Notice how the promotional posts and giveaway posts are at the bottom of the list. The other topics were far more popular. It could be that these are the no-brainers of the bunch, so our readers didn't think to suggest them, but it's interesting to note that the personal posts and the behind-the-scenes extras were at the top. So it definitely doesn't hurt to add these to any author's repertoire.
One final tip: Don't force it. If an author doesn't enjoy posting about a certain topic, it will show. It's best to leave it out instead of forcing that sweet spot balance. Social media and blogging should be enjoyable. If it feels too much like work, or it's taking too much time away from writing the next great novel, then scale back. A tiny bit of quality work is better than a whole load of crap.
(Words to live by.)
What do you think? Did we miss anything? Have anything to add? Let us know in the comments!
As a thank you for your comments, which are heartily appreciated, commenters will be entered for a chance to pick a book from the YABC Prize Shelf! I'll choose a winner August 1st.
Yep this is exactly what I want from authors! I also like when an author recommends a book they enjoyed or they give a link to a entertaining review with gifs or something along those lines.
So interesting to see what readers want to know. I would have thought contests would have been higher on the list.
Blogs make connecting with the author of my favorite books so much easier. It's nice to get a glimpse at the person behind the book. Nonetheless you're perfectly right, if an author isn't comfortable writing his/her blog it shows, so I fully respect some authors' choice to not have their own blog. I too would have thought contests and giveaways would be higher on the list of what readers like to see!
Definitely all stuff I love seeing on author blogs, especially the first one. I love finding out that I have things in common with authors I love, that just makes me love them more xD
Something else I love seeing on author blogs/social media outlets is when authors reach out and get fans/readers/bloggers to help participate in cover reveals or chapter releases (:
I definitely agree with the personal tidbits. I love learning about authors' favorite TV shows (Friday Night Lights FTW!), seeing pictures of their adorable babies, and reading their funny tweets. I think it makes a difference when you can see an author as being a real human being.
I enjoy when authors try to engage their fans. I absolutely love when I tweet an author that I enjoyed their book and they tweet me back with a sweet reply.
Overall, I really agree with your list!
I absolutely LOVE deleted scenes. It's so interesting to see what was deleted and why. It's always great to get little tidbits about personal lives, without getting too personal. I enjoy hearing about what books the authors are reading. Or movies they love. Really just interacting with my favorite authors is just fabulous!!
I just posted a satire making fun of YA and NA romance titles on my blog http://www.ElizabethFamous.com/wtf. Marketing fail?