The secret sauce I: How to get people to read your book

We’re living in an age where everyone is a writer. Getting published is easier than it was a decade ago. Self-publishing is a totally legit thing now and even though there are so many players competing for our time and we’re probably not reading as much as we should, storytelling and content in general is in high demand. At Juggernaut we work with about 2500+ new writers who are starting out with short stories and then working on something more aspirational like a full-length novel. We find that when we pitch these stories to film, TV studios, they are received well due to the strong concepts and plots. All-in-all, it is a good time to be a writer. (Read: Why 2018 will be the year of the writer)

And yet, I don’t have to tell you it is still a nightmare to find readers. At the end of the day, that’s what we want. We want our stories, our blog posts, our youtube channel, podcast — to find an audience. This is the part where I see most authors struggle the most.

Should authors have to worry about marketing their work too?

That’s a debate for another post. Whichever side you’re on on this ‘marketing is good/evil’ debate, if you want to find readers, here are a few things you can do:

Plan in advance: You’re done writing your book. It’s with the publishers or you’re going to self-publish it. Work on a plan. Don’t wait for the book to be out. Ask yourself -

Who is your reader? How can you make your book exciting for the press — is there a newsy angle that you can use? Are there any influencers you want should read your book? How can you reach these people? How can you impact sales?

I know this sounds like a lot of work. But it is! You’re competing with celebrity authors with a following. You are also competing with the latest series on Netflix. Why should a reader not spend his/her commute time on the metro reading BuzzFeed articles or browsing on Facebook and instead read your book? The fact of the matter is, it is an uphill battle and once you’re done writing, get ready for the battlefield. Your marketing plan is your artillery. Another reason why you should do this is because publishers will love you. Let’s be realistic, as publishers we want to do so much but we are working on several books and once and even though we hate it, we don’t end up doing justice to a book. We love authors who are willing to work with us as a team. Be that writer!

Use your strengths: You are a writer. Use that. Write as much as you can about your book. Scratch that — don’t write about the book. Write about everything that could resonate with readers or something that everyone is talking about. Here are a few suggestions -

Write about the journey of writing? Any writing tips? How can one get published? How did you create a plot? Can you write about the specific genre?

Imagine you’ve written a fiction book about an Indian princess in the 17th century. Can you write about the references you used to make this realistic? Can you talk about practices from that time that seem like fantasy but still exist? Can you write a non-fiction piece about why Indian history can compete with the ‘Game of Thrones’ of the world?

Two things — make a content calendar and make your book/writing relevant by linking it to something that might be ‘trending’.

Activate your network: When it comes to books, word-of-mouth is still the most relevant marketing machinery. Can you make sure everyone you know knows you’ve written a book? Use social media and your 3,000 Facebook friends to share links to your book, to endorse your writing to be your cheerleaders. Make a list of “influencers” — people you want should read your book and work with your publishers to find a way to get to them (that didn’t sound like a stalker at all). Be cool but persistent.

Mix online and offline: At Juggernaut, we try to create a synergy between digital and the real world through events, workshops, blogger programmes and social media campaigns. As a writer, you could on reaching out to groups and communities to speak about your experience of writing. Go where your readers are.

Reviews are a fairly quantifiable way of creating word-of-mouth on digital. Work with your publisher to reach out to the right kind of bloggers, Youtubers, reviewers to get your book into their hands. If you want a more consistent effort across this front, don’t hesitate to ask for help from individuals or agencies who specialise in this. It is worth it.

That’s all for now. Part II will be out soon!

Have any questions for me? Want to hate on me for corrupting the high art of literature? Comment!

(I work with 1,000 writers everyday and this is what I’ve learnt about life)

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Content Marketer. Changing how people read & write with @JuggernautBooks. Ex-@Makemytrip, @Zoho, HarperCollins Publishers

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Natasha Puri

Natasha Puri

Content Marketer. Changing how people read & write with @JuggernautBooks. Ex-@Makemytrip, @Zoho, HarperCollins Publishers

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