Engagement remains the watchword when it comes to building author platform on social media. That means it’s not just about how many unique visitors—readers—your blogged book attracts, or even about how many followers you have on Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus. It’s about how often they share, talk about and comment on your posts. As you blog your book, pay close attention to the engagement level of your readers. In particular, notice if readers comment on your posts. If they do, reply to those comments to encourage more feedback and engagement.
Remember: One of the primary advantages to blogging a book lies in the fact that you can gain real feedback from real readers. You don’t have to go to a critique group with a bunch of wannabe authors who don’t care about your book or know anything about your niche to receive feedback. You can have the actual people who would read your book give you the kind of feedback you want. All you have to do is ask your blog readers to tell you what they like. They are your actual readers, and they are reading your blogged book.
Ask for Feedback
Don’t be shy. Ask your readers for feedback on how to improve not only your blogged book but your blog in general. Request they do a blog or book review for you! You can ask:
- Are you enjoying my blogged book?
- What topics would you still like to see me cover in my blogged book?
- How can I improve my book or my writing?
- What questions you would like me to answer?
- Are you enjoying the story I am telling here on my blog?
- What problems do you have navigating my blog?
- How can I improve my blogging?
- How can I improve my blog?
- Is my blog legible and reader-friendly?
- Is something missing from my blog?
- Do I blog often enough or too often?
You can send your readers a survey using a service like Surveymonkey.com or place a survey right on the blog using a plugin, such as WP Polls. Or you can use your email service to ask them such questions. You might want to survey readers about your book one month and your blog another month. It’s easy to do this if you have built an email list using Aweber.com or some other such provider.
There’s also a skill to getting readers to actually comment on your posts. Sometimes all it takes is a call to action. Other times, it’s about leaving your post open-ended so readers feel the desire to finish it up for you. In an interview, Liz Strauss, the queen of comments, offered some great strategies for encouraging reader comments.
Reply to Your Readers
It does take a while for readers to comment. How long this takes can be dependent upon:
- The type of posts you write.
- The content in your posts.
- The number of readers you have.
- The way you write your posts.
- The length of time you’ve been blogging.
Once readers do begin commenting, though, be sure you reply! This will encourage more reader engagement. Additionally, it allows you to engage with your readers. You can now enter into a conversation with your readers. One of the people I know who does the best job with this is Porter Anderson, who blogs for Jane Friedman at “Writing on the Ether.” He really takes the time to “talk” to his readers via the common function of his blog.
If you are blogging a book, comments can provide valuable opportunities to ask readers all sorts of things—including whether they are finding your book useful, interesting or enjoyable. You can also ask them who they are, what they do, where they shop, and why they are reading your book. This is important market research! If you are writing nonfiction, you can ask them for anecdotes to include in your book.
But you’ll get better information in general if you engage with those who engage with you. Get to know them. Let them get to know you. Reply when they comment. Your blogged book will be better for it.