First of all, let me apologize for my long absence from All Book Marketing. Today seemed like a good day to get things back on track after a particularly pleasant exchange with an editor who demonstrated an important element of book PR: building a relationship with your audience.
It's no secret that I'm a big advocate of author blogging to promote books and interact with your potential buyers. However, I strongly believe authors in this day and age need to be willing to go much further to build the all-important "relationship" with their customers or potential customers. Let's face it, if I like you, I'm probably going to not only spread the word about your current book, but keep buying what you put out. So make me like you. Show me you're a "real person" behind the book. Remind me that someone's blood, sweat, and tears may have gone into its creation. I'll appreciate it that much more. So will your other customers.
Recently I ordered Horror 101: The A-List of Horror Films and Monster Movies Vol 1. It's a collection of essays on the best horror films, edited by Aaron "Dr. AC" Christensen. As a side note, I haven't been much of a horror fan for years - I wanted to pick up a copy because a good friend contributed one of the essays.
Normally I would just order from Amazon (I've turned into quite the book-buying junkie), but they didn't have it in stock, so I ordered directly from the official site (linked above). I received an email from Christensen earlier today letting me know of a delay in the shipping, and offering to sign the book.
That seems like a very simple thing to do, right? Just shoot off an email. But frankly, most of the times I've ordered directly from an author's site, I didn't get so much as a template thank you email in response... just the order confirmation (otherwise known as the "Woohoo! I've got your money" letter). Why is that?
I know authors are busy. So are your customers. But they took the time to order your book. That's them telling you that they're already interested, and right there for you to start communicating with to build a long-term, more "personal" relationship so you can sell them even more in the future (your books, seminars, etc.).
As far as I'm concerned, there's very little excuse not to interact with your readers with every opportunity you get. As you may know, I work more with musicians than authors. In that group, an artist / fan one-to-one communication is a given these days. I don't see it to the same degree in publishing yet.
So tell me why....
And more importantly, tell me how you keep in touch with your readers and customers. What could you personally do to build better customer relationships? What advice can you share with other authors struggling to make a connection?