Building a Long-Term Relationship With Your Readers

For some authors, the main goal of building a writer’s website is to sell their book. But I encourage most authors to think a little more long-term than that. Because one of the best things you can do with an author website is to make it a long-term destination for readers. The benefits of that are many, including:

  • Building and maintaining a fanbase for future books
  • Providing additional information and resources for people interested in your subject matter
  • Getting a chance to interact with your readers and find out what they would like more of from you

So how do you build this long-term relationship? How do you get people to visit your website after they read the book, and then come back regularly for weeks, months, or even years after that? Here are a few ideas…

  1. Blog, blog, blog. I always tell authors that if they’re willing to make the commitment to a blog, they should do it. It’s the best way to keep an author’s website new and fresh, and encourage people to come back regularly.
  2. Talk to readers. Have a place on the website where people can submit questions or comments to you about your book, your writings, or your field of expertise. Then pick out a few questions/comments each month and feature them on the website. And, of course, include your responses to each one. Make it a conversation.
  3. Have contests. Hold writing contests on the website. Or design contests. Whatever best suits your genre. Then the “winner” each month will get an autographed copy of the book, or a phone call with you.
  4. Review other books. If someone likes your writing, they would probably want to hear what other books in your genre you’re reading, and what you think of them. So have a regular book review page, where you recommend books for your fans to read. You could even include a message board where fans can discuss your recommended book each month.
  5. Add resources. If you’ve written a non-fiction book (say, on, how to get the job of your dreams), then you should have a place on the site where you offer things you couldn’t offer in print. They might be a list of other websites that might be valuable. Or downloadable worksheets. And, again, make it interactive. Have a place where readers can share their own recommendations for resources.
  6. Tie in your social networking platforms. If you regularly Tweet or update your Facebook page, make it easy for people to connect with you through those platforms on your website. Again, it’s a new way to interact with people and let them stay in the loop on what’s going on.

These are just a few of the ways to make your website a destination. Remember, a writer’s portfolio only goes so far. A writer’s website can build a community of people that may make your next book a bestseller.

Do you have any other website features that made your author site a destination? Let us know!