While your book provides education, entertainment, or information for your book, it is also an opportunity to create an on-going relationship with your readers. Savvy fiction and non-fiction authors know the power of those reader relationships and write their book strategically to foster them.
You’ve seen this in action many times. For example, the Twilight books were part of a series with cliff-hanger endings that left readers hungry for more. You may not know the individual titles, but you’ve probably heard of the Twilight saga. Non-fiction writer Seth Godin cultivates such reader loyalty that any book he releases becomes a best-seller.
One of the best ways to create eager fans for your books is to intentionally foster a long-term relationship with your readers by strategically seeding your book. A book seed is an invitation for readers to go to your website for a special readers-only gift.
For example, when Dr. Michael Kaye wrote A Boomer’s Guide to Chronic Pain, he included specific exercises that persons with chronic pain should do to strengthen their muscles. While the exercises were well-described in the book, Dr. Kaye also offers videos on his website where readers could watch the exercises being performed by other Baby Boomers.
The book seeding process works like this:
- You create a compelling gift for your readers and place it on your website with an opt-in box, which means that readers must provide their name and email address in exchange for your gift.
- While you are writing your book, you insert 3-5 seeds, or invitations to readers to go to your site and collect their special gift.
- After readers register for your gift, you keep in touch with them and provide news, additional information, and insider tips about your next books. The best way to do this is via an ezine.
- Readers feel a part of your writing and your business, as if they are members of your inner circle. By giving them extra perks, they will deepen their connection with you personally and with your writing. These readers become fans who repeatedly purchase books and services from you.
There are many different types of seeds you can plant in your book. This list may inspire you:
- Journaling pages
- Additional information about the characters in your book
- Sample chapters from your next book
- Guided meditations
- Audios or videos where you share the background of the book
- Discussion guides for book clubs
- Music downloads
- Short ecourses where you deliver a lesson via email over the course of a few weeks
- Recordings of expert interviews featured in the book
- Webinars or teleclasses where you teach how to implement the material in the book
- Excel spreadsheets useful for tracking budgets, fitness goals, or anything which can be tracked over time
- Videos of you reading selected passages from your work
To effectively seed your book and harvest the maximum benefits from your seeds, you’ll need:
- A website for your book
- An auto responder service which can deliver your reader gift automatically and manage your list.
- On-going communication with people who register for your gift
When you plant seeds in your book, you will not only grow your fan base, you will create a more meaningful reciprocal relationship with your readers. Plus, you’ll create anticipation and desire for your next book. What a rich harvest from a small seed!