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SuperFans: Building Your Publishing Platform – Part Two

As promised, here is the second installment on building your publishing platform(s) from guest expert, Dr. Judith Briles, aka The Book Shepherd, and the author of Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (among others).  In Part Two she explains how to get your own SuperFans and SuperReaders.  (If you missed Part… [Read More]

superfans: building your publishing platform-part 2

As promised, here is the second installment on building your publishing platform(s) from guest expert, Dr. Judith Briles, aka The Book Shepherd, and the author of Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms (among others).  In Part Two she explains how to get your own SuperFans and SuperReaders.  (If you missed Part One, you can read it here.)


superfans: building your publishing platform-part 2 by Judith Briles

Ashography Event Photography

You’ve envisioned your Author and Book Platform and have committed the time, energy, and yes, moneys to seed and build it.  Now it’s time to start filling your fan stadiums.  I live in Denver Colorado, the home of the most recent Super Bowl mania when the Broncos brought home the coveted title as Super Bowl 50 Champions.

Mega millions watched on their TVs, mega thousands traveled to Northern California to watch the game.  How do you, dear author, create fans who will travel miles, sit in any kind of weather, pay whatever you price a book (or service) at…just to see you or read your words?

Meet the SuperFan...someone who is a Reader and will:

  • Buy anything you write (including audiobooks and videos);
  • Shout out your name and your titles to anyone and everybody and goose them to buy your book;
  • Gladly shares their email and/or contact information;
  • Enthusiastically preorder anything you announce is “coming”;
  • Become part of any marketing effort you ask for help with—both online and in person;
  • Defend you in social media from those who aren’t fans; and
  • Provide “social proof” that you are the real deal and that others should become SuperFans as well; and
  • Add to your book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

In other words, the SuperFan is the secret sauce to your marketing efforts that can help your success soar.  Imagine them as a team of ninjas out to defend, protect and boast about you.superfans: building your publishing platform-part 2

Basically, when you set out to develop and build SuperFans, you create a cult of sorts.  You are “the one” that they are dedicated/devoted to.  Whatever your words are, they think you are the cat’s meow.  Whew, heady stuff.  And wouldn’t you love it?

How powerful is that?  Let’s talk numbers and money.  If over this next year, you focus on building a SuperFan base of 2,000 SuperFans and produce one book a year using Amazon as your primary seller for a book that sells for $18.95, and Amazon pays you a net $8.52 (45% of 18.95)—that’s $17,040 in revenues. Double the number of books or the SuperFans count and you increase your revenues to $34,080.

That’s just online sales.  What about personal appearances?  Signing events and/or speaking events would bring more SuperFans and definitely more book buyers.  If you did 40 events per year with an average of 40 books sold at each event, you would bring in another $30,320 (40 x 40 x 18.95).  Am I stretching here?  Nope.  Can you do 40 speaking events a year and sell an average of 40 books at each of them?  Sure—but you have to book the events, be engaging and compelling, with a call-to-action for nonfiction, and awesome storytelling for fiction, to get buyers to the table.

Which, by the way, will generate far more than the average author makes.  The tipping point is dual: the gathering, feeding and growing of SuperFans, and speaking about your books and expertise.superfans: building your publishing platform-part 2

Finding Your SuperFan

Before you can build your base of SuperFans, you need to discover the SuperReaders.  If you had on your FBI (Find Book Idol) hat and decided to do a little profiling, you would need to know what a SuperReader looks like.  They are:

  • Responsible for almost 50 percent of all print book buying and 60 percent of all eBook buying;
  • Buy one book per week;
  • They gobble up any book in their genre of choice, usually consuming more than what just one publishing house produces;
  • Mostly women (62 percent);
  • Over half (55 percent) work full time;
  • Willing to buy self and indie published books; and
  • Household income ranges from $50,000 to $75,000 per year.

In other words, SuperReaders devour books.  It is estimated that there is a pot of 16,000,000 SuperReaders in the U.S. alone.  Your SuperFan resides in that pot.  Using the Harris Interactive Poll of Adults as a research base, you will learn that there are 2.2 million readers of Self-Help.  If you write in the Self-Help genre and your goal is to have 2,000 SuperFans, that means that you need to convert .018 of the 2.2 million.  If you are in the Romance genre, you need to convert a few more.  There are 2.8 million readers of Romance—you need to convert .071 of them to your support team.

Where do SuperReaders Hang Out?

The jackpot answer will require you to become a joiner...a SuperFan yourself.  That means you need to think like, act like, and go where they do:superfans: building your publishing platform-part 2

  • Become a browser: go to the Top 100 lists … both Paid and FREE … in their preferred Amazon genres—you only follow your genre.
  • What are the key words and key work phrases used—start building your list.
  • Know what the popular and trending hashtags are within your genre.  Use Hashtagify.me to assist you.
  • Check out Goodreads in the same appropriate groups.  What’s the buzz that the Readers are chatting about?
  • Find and follow an online book community, such as OnlineBookClub.org and Goodreads.com, so you can be a reader of blogs and comments (read others, add yours), not to be a promoter of your book.  You want to “pick up” their thoughts/beliefs and get into the mindset of what participants do and how they respond to each other.
  • Join a local book club—your local bookstore will most likely have a list of in your area with the “preferred theme”.
  • Become a follower and reader of the most popular or certainly trending blogs in your genre.  Make comments and become part of its community.  In Mystery, FlashlightWorthy.com and Goodreads are good candidates; for Romance, DearAuthor.com may top your list.  One of my favorite all around blogs is Bill Gates’—his GatesNotes are a treat and can be found on his site: GatesNotes.com/Books.
  • Google “best online <genre name> reader communities” and see what is generated.  Make sure you go beyond page one of your Google search.
  • Check out Meetup.com in your area that feature book groups, writing and book reviews and see what you discover.  Join and show up.

Start Engaging

Once you start connecting, your efforts need to be directed toward engaging with them.  Start communicating.  Reach out.  Give them a reason to buy.  If any are in your region, how about a Meet and Greet?  They can become beta readers or vote for cover ideas.  Create a special event for them—either in person or via Skype and offer them “goodies” like bookmarks or sneak previews to “what’s next” in your writing and/or series.

How about a special Facebook group just for them?  Within it, you will have a Fan Club that you need to nurture on a daily basis—share photos, their shout-outs, tag fans, give them a special name.  You could create a special edition of a previous book, current book or your next one, made available to only them.  If you create a contest of any sort, or offer rewards, it’s wise to have a few options—one item won’t fit all.  If you have a special cause that you think your fans could get behind, invite them in.

It takes time to build to build your SuperFans—they want more of you, your words, your work—you don’t want to be a one book wonder.


Dr. Judith Briles is the author of 35 books. Her book, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms was the IndieFab Book of the Year. The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors and Writers was released last summer and her next book is How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers and Boo-Boos will be available in May. She’s the Founder of AuthorU.org and is known as The Book Shepherd. Get her Weekly Kick-Butt Tips on her website, www.TheBookShepherd.com, and follow her on Twitter @MyBookShepherd. Join the new Facebook group, Publishing with the Book Shepherd.


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One thought on “SuperFans: Building Your Publishing Platform – Part Two”

  1. Jonah says:

    Hi. I’m Jonah from Hashtagify.me. Thanks for the mention 🙂 !

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