Tuesday, October 16, 2012

One Reader at a Time

“You find your fans one reader at a time.”

Author Sabrina Jeffries said that Saturday morning as breakfast speaker at the annual New Jersey Romance Writers Conference. Those words jolted me fully awake.

First of all they struck me as absolutely true. Second they prompted me to wonder. “How do we do that?” I’ve contemplated that question for three days now. Here is my conclusion.

We must each turn the question toward ourselves individually. “How do I do that? How do I find my readers one at a time?” Which prompts other questions we must each ask ourselves.

#1. What is the special gift I have to offer others – one potential reader at a time?

Maybe it is humor. Maybe it is telling memorable anecdotes. Maybe it is expertise. Maybe it is setting folks alight with inspiration.

Open your kitbag and examine the contents closely. What is in there that others might need? What is in there that others might want? Now resolve to give it away.

#2. What access can I create for giving my gift away – one potential reader at a time?

When searching for resources – first step out your own front door and look up and down the street. Start local. Cultivate that ground. Plow on from there.

Your own front door includes your rolodex. Remember those? The repositories of information about people we actually know – or almost know – firsthand.

#3. What if someone says this is too slow to go – one potential reader at a time?

Personally I do my best to fight back this fear. Because I know full well that in this internet place I am a single voice among a thundering avalanche of voices.

But as a giver of my gifts to each single soul I am singular as well. And that single number counts.

So keep on facebooking and tweeting and all the rest. Do that at least in part because it’s fun. But don’t forget how much fun it is and effective also to reach out and touch someone.

One reader – one person – at a time.


Nett Robbens said...

I attended your workshop at the NJRW conference and thoroughly enjoyed it. You gave me just what I needed—confirmation that I was on the right track with my WIP, and the motivation to stick to it. Thank you so much.


Alice Orr said...

Thank you Nett. I enjoyed doing this workshop. What a wonderfully responsive group. This was the debut of my new workshop "What a Character!: How to Create Prose People with Agent-Editor-Reader Appeal". Thanks to all of you for letting me know that this presentation works for you as well as it does for me. I look forward now to presenting it elsewhere.