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  • Writer's pictureDebra Leigh

Acquiring Followers

Hello and Happy Wednesday!

When I decided to buckle down and focus on developing a writing career, I had no clue where to start.

I purchased a few books on the subject, Googled like crazy, and followed advice from notable authors, and it all boiled down to two things: write really good books and get people to buy them. Well, sorry, but no shit.

The question is how. How do I get people to buy my books when I'm an indie author and my budget is a joke?

Knowing that social media was my largest tool in building an audience, I set to work on my author Instagram, Facebook, and website. Once completed, I thought "Okay, let the followers start rolling in."

Spoiler Alert: they did not.

My first book was scheduled to release at the end of August and it was already late-June, so I had less than three months to figure it out. I, of course, knew how to use social media, but I lacked the overall understanding that my author pages would need to be ran differently than my personal accounts. Solely following people I know, not following pages back, and only posting about a book and author no one has heard of, was never going to gain the attention of anyone new.

I needed to updated my content before anyone was going to look my way.

The Overall Overhaul

Diving deep, I asked myself why I follow the author/bookish pages that I do? What makes these people I've never met so appealing that I take time out of my day to see what they've posted?

I came up with the following: in addition to writing books, they're funny, inspiring, and relatable enough to make me feel a little less alone in the world. Yes, that last one is a little dark, but it's real.

Knowing what motivates me to press that follow button, I started listing things I could do to gain the attention of others by making them feel the same way.

Downloading an app to help me create clean and professional looking content, I started posting every day. In addition to personal author and book updates, I added funny memes, inspirational quotes, and relatable posts to my repertoire.

Now that my content had merit, I needed to get it out there for others to see. So who would actually appreciate a page full of book puns and author struggles? Other book nerds of course!

Follow Your Fellows

I started following A LOT of bookish and author related pages and hashtags, choosing ones with actively supportive users who like, comment, share, and follow back. Wanting to be a good follower myself, I always try to like, comment, and share in return. Even the briefest of interactions can turn to a great connection. I've also joined and hosted follow trains and highly recommend doing so if you're looking to gain traction.

It is of course annoying when you come across that lovely "follow to unfollow" type of person, but there are free apps out there to help track who your unfollowers are. And if you are one of these people, please don't be. You're just manipulating people for a personal gain and I promise, you're not sneaky. The bulk of us know and we unfollow you right back.

Side Note: following hashtags is a great way to see content pages that share your interests.

Grow Your Goals

The last thing I did and continue to do is set goals. Before my first novel released I wanted to reach 1,000 followers. Nothing groundbreaking, but it was my goal dammit. So I set to work and low an behold, by August 31st, I did not make it.

The following week, however, I did manage to hit my 1,000.

Continuing to post and interact with others, I moved on to my next goal: 5,000 followers by February 7th. (Surprise, surprise, the date of my next book release)

Not wanting to fall short again, I took that number and determined how many followers per day I would need in order to reach my goal. I've since used that information to track my daily intake of followers, and managed to reach 3,500 in 6 months, putting me on track to break 6,000 by February 1.

No, Debra Leigh is no where near the level of James Patterson, E. L. James, or Neil Gaiman, but we have to start somewhere, as long as we actually get off our asses and start.

Lots of love and good luck to all my fellow newbies out there!

Debra Leigh xo

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