Understanding Your Rapidly Evolving Audience

They laugh, they cry, they go through a whole range of emotions when reading your works, and they’re your audience. If you want more of them lingering around your blog, hanging on your next book release, then you’ll need to be a quick study of their behavior. Granted, your audience-base will never be 100% predictable. However, there are some commonly used tactics to retain your fiercely loyal cult-following.

Burning Man 2013 CARGO CULT | Understanding Your Rapidly Evolving Audience

Woah, woah, woah! Put your virgin sacrifices away! Not that kind of cult.

Consider Your Store a Circuit

Circuits don’t quite act like circuits unless they’re closed. When your reader habitually returns to your store for more books you’re doing it right. Readers will circuit through your store when you present value that incorporate their habits. Such is the reason for niche markets.

If your work doesn’t have potential in a niche marketing, then you’ll still want to consider specializing your product for a particular reader base. If you’re writing fiction, then the themes and character development in your story-telling indicate your market. Be mindful of the demographics you connect with when you’re the marketer of your own product. Make sure you know where to find these “biggest fans” online.

Auditorium audience | Understanding Your Rapidly Evolving Audience

We found your biggest fan waiting for your next book release. He could use some water.

Identify Bandwagons

Regardless of what software you’re using to manage your sales it’s important to have a method for measuring band wagon fans. Short term readers don’t give you an honest forecast of your career. They create deceiving bubbles in your sales charts. Not to say they’re not valuable. The more the merrier!

The point here is that short term readers navigate to your store because of a recently launched promotions or because a “spy” leaked that their favorite character is going to die. “Leaking” information to people that are able to tell thousands of people about their findings is also an invaluable marketing tactic for any fiction writer. Remember, readers jumping on board for any reason other than enjoying the style of your writing or the subject of your book series are fun for now – but don’t count on them next month.

Measure Economy of Readers

The interesting thing about highway traffic reports is that they don’t tell you anything about particular drivers in a traffic jam. Any car is replaceable by another in the value of the report itself. A traffic jam from one year might even appear identical to one in another year. It’s a useless report if your goal is to identify the drivers moving through traffic. Your web analytics are going to present a similar scenario.

Knowing what volume of your following is organic, and what volume is the results of short term marketing is invaluable. There are a variety of CRM’s out there to pick from. Several self-publishing services like Amazon and Notion Press also offer volume-analyzing tools. Readers that have downloaded your app, followed your social media, or subscribe to your email newsletter can be counted on as reliable platform. They’re the ones that are going to react to your latest releases first.

A Gathering of Horned Puffins | Understanding Your Rapidly Evolving Audience

Sh- sh- sh! Guys, I think Derek just posted another blog article!

Listen to Social Media for Promo Opportunities

Remember those pesky bandwagon fans that riddled your analytics? Well they’re actually amazing fans to have and you’ll want to make room for those fans in your campaign.

One of the easiest ways to get reader feedback is to run regular contests. Find a contest schedule that works for schedule whether it’s once a week or twice a month. You’re going to have to judge who wins after all. Popular contests on on fiction writer profiles show fans demonstrating costumes of their favorite characters. Non-fiction writers, especially in weight loss, will run contests requiring followers to post pics of their progress.

Being A Financially Responsible Writer

Whether you’re a natural Shakespeare or a merely passable writer the future of your career hangs on being a financially responsible writer. Aside from logging invoices and saving copies of work – regular goal-setting and simple math can keep you in business. Here’s a few quick fiscal tips to keep you writing instead of counting outstanding balances:

Budget | Being a Financially Responsible Writer

Just hit this button, and you’re done! Okay, but seriously, let’s talk money.

Respect Your Anticipated Minimum Cost

You’re not like other businesses. You’re a freelance writer. Nearly all your business expenses come from the same cost of keeping up your home: mortgage, internet bill, computer maintenance, etc. If you’re writing as an only source of income then don’t forget to include any student debt, credit card dues, even loan balances and interest.

Even if your debut in the industry is in its infancy; don’t let employers talk you into being paid less than the minimum required to keep your life moving forward. Don’t let beginner-mentality count your starting pay.

Some bloggers will direct new writers to low-ball their entry-price to get attention from clients. That strategy may be worth running if your goal is to get your first ratings and reviews, otherwise stick your original financial outline.

Adjust Your Profit Margin

plan: dont panic bitstream vera serif 2 | Being a Financially Responsible Writer

Breathe! You won’t being worrying about the risk of change as long as your take smart steps.

Freelancing, like most things worth doing, comes with a healthy dose of risk. The most consistent pattern of the writers market is that it’s consistently changing. Everything from formatting, to sourcing, right down to which publisher’s in business is subject to change any day of the year. All of which, can have an effect on your income.

Proofing your income for change requires diversifying your clients, and over-shooting your goals. Keeping all your eggs in one client’s basket is never a smart move. Trickle income from multiple sources so you still have momentum if one goes south.

Keeping your lifestyle dry on the shores of chance require you to keep a safe distance from the tide. Set yourself up to make at least a few hundred dollars above the cost of your lifestyle on a perfect month. That margin will soften the impact when life inevitably bumps into the details of your work life.

Save Taxable Information

Needless to say, every one of those invoices belong in a dedicated folder. Receipts and statements for internet, computer maintenance, and software all turn into tax write-offs, which the self-employed are entitled to. Even travel expenses for research can return as good tax-karma.

These tips aren’t going to full-proof your career. Quality will always be king of the market. The better your writing the better your payout, and the easier it will be to manage your budget. Creatives belong in environments where hours can be poured into the originality and impact of their content. Getting there isn’t easy, and neither is the stress that comes with financial independence. Just keep calm and follow a smart plan so you can enjoy more time doing what you love.