The Reader Journey is a new way of looking at book marketing and you can learn all about it in my book Strangers to Superfans – which can really help you understand your readers and how to speak with them, and how to sway them with your marketing messages.
I’ve spent the last twelve months researching and testing and experimenting, and then organizing all this information into a structure which will help you understand exactly who you are writing for, and how to attract them.
But also how to treat them after you have convinced them to buy. How to turn them into the kind of superfans that will do the selling for you.
So… what is The Reader Journey and why should you care, let alone listen to me jabber on about it for 140 pages?
I looked at the journey readers take from being completely unaware of you and your work to becoming its evangelists, and identified five key stages in this metamorphosis – Discovery, Visibility, Consideration, Purchase, and Advocacy.
- The Discovery stage is the very beginning of the Reader Journey, when your Ideal Reader doesn’t know who you are and has never seen one of your book covers.
- Visibility is when your Ideal Reader is tangentially aware of you. Perhaps your latest book appeared under the Also Boughts of a popular title in your niche, or you were in a deals newsletter they received.
- At the Consideration stage, a purchase is being weighed, and your Ideal Reader will either be seduced by your cover, price, and blurb, or will be distracted by the ads Amazon is plastering everywhere.
- Purchase means you have their money, but will your book sit unopened on their Kindle for months? Or will the reader finish the book they started (warning: most don’t!).
- Finally, Advocacy is what you are truly chasing, rather than those reader eyeballs or even dollars – an army of superfans who do the selling for you.
When I delved into each stage, I discovered a few things. First, the challenges at each stage are remarkably different, and we tend to almost exclusively reach for Discovery solutions, even if we have a very different problem. This rarely ends well and it might be the biggest mistake that authors are making right now – throwing more and more traffic into a borked system.
This outsized focus on Discovery (moar traffic!) also contributes to another issue: what I call the escalating challenge of conversion. I argue that each of these stages is actually trickier, yet we put most of our effort into the first.
Superfans is far from conceptually focused though. After showing how to get a better idea of your own Ideal Reader, and explaining The Reader Journey they undergo, it quickly moves on to optimization – giving you actionable steps to convert more readers at each stage.
The solutions for each stage are very different too, ranging from traffic generation to metadata to presentation to (here be wolves!) possible issues with your story, and then the most essential part of all: nurturing of that nascent reader relationship so The End turns into the beginning of something else.
Superfans also helps you manage your ever-growing backlist – giving you something called The Failure Matrix to help you quickly identify where the problem is in your own Reader Journey so you can move fast to rectify it, and don’t mess with the things which are working well for you.
I hope you enjoy Superfans! The initial reaction has been wonderful, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all put this approach into practice, and start viewing your marketing from the POV of your Ideal Reader instead.