The Career Author Podcast: Episode 81 – Our Reader Engagement Failure

Reader engagement

Zach and J. provide an update from episodes 48 and 56 where they had high hopes for an experiment to tap reader engagement. They’re not so enthusiastic about the results. You will discover exactly how badly their experiment failed and more:

  • J.’s experience at ThrillerFest and the continued stigma surrounding independent publishing
  • Zach’s close call with a hurricane
  • An exciting new tool for coauthors + how it will revolutionize collaborative publication
  • How Kobo Writing Life, Draft2Digital, and Publish Drive are transforming the publishing industry
  • A new tool that makes it easier for you to generate leads with Facebook advertising
  • Why understanding your audience is essential to marketing success
  • Two ways J. and Zach tried to boost reader engagement over the past few months
  • How and why these content marketing initiatives failed + what you can learn from the guys’ failures
  • How you can develop a better understanding of your audience and use that deeper understanding to build successful marketing campaigns

Plus, submit your ways and hacks to The Career Author Podcast at https://thecareerauthor.com/waysandhacks/

The Career Author Podcast is a podcast where co-authors J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon share their struggles and successes as full-time authors, advice for improving your writing craft, and honest discussions of what it takes to build a successful career as an author.

Thanks to our newest Patron: Marc Graham

Podcast sponsored by Kobo Writing Life – https://writinglife.kobobooks.com 

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“Abacus for Co-authors” royalty split, by Publish Drive – https://account.publishdrive.com/register/thecareerauthor

Announced in episode 48 – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-48-collaborative-story-building-rock-apocalypse-and-content-marketing/

Full explanation in 56 – https://thecareerauthor.com/the-career-author-podcast-episode-56-content-marketing-for-fiction-list-building-part-2/

2020 Events – https://thecareerauthor.com/events/ 

The July Giveaway is up now! – http://www.thecareerauthor.com

The Career Author – http://www.thecareerauthor.com

The Career Author YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCmIYVcr1UdWgSvYpb3Ol3xg 

Story Levels – http://www.storylevels.com

Molten Universe Media – http://www.moltenuniversemedia.com

Events – https://thecareerauthor.com/events/ 

12 thoughts on “The Career Author Podcast: Episode 81 – Our Reader Engagement Failure

  • Morning guys. Enjoyed the weather news – you’re getting more British every day 🙂 – that’s all we talk about in Britain.
    You mean Zeke isn’t real? 😭 I wondered why he wasn’t in July. I thought he might be ill or something. Bring back Zeke 🧟‍♂️.
    I think it’s great that you evaluate what you do and are open and honest with yourselves enough to take action where necessary. The equus caballus has gone to meet its maker; no point in flogging it.
    Great show today.

  • Some thought provoking commentary here. A quick note from my own experience with group forums. 95% of my time on FB is spent in groups. Most have members in the high 100s or more and yet regular engagement posts tend to only get the same people speaking up. I have also been in off FB forums where I see the same pattern emerge all the time. Though saddened, I am therefore not surprised your own forum has gone the same way.

  • Another point I think to consider is that it is very difficult to get people onto a platform if they are not already using it. It creates a higher barrier of both entry and engagement. Slack and Facebook are low barriers for a lot of people because they’re already using them. So if you create a FB group or a Slack workspace (or Discord, for a lot of folks), it’s just adding on to what they’re already using. Similar with email lists–everyone has an email. You’re just adding to it. I really liked the idea of Mighty Networks, but I had to remember to go check it, because I didn’t have anything else going on there. And when I changed phones (and phone ecosystems, going from Apple to Android, hallelujah), it wasn’t something I remembered to add. Higher barrier of engagement.

    Sarah KL Wilson has a pretty active Discord for her readers, bringing in other YA fantasy authors for events. She’s the only one I’m aware of with an active reader engagement off Facebook, but I know there have to be others out there.

    • Yeah, I get that. I honestly thought it would be a challenge to get people to join Mighty Network but it wasn’t. It was getting them to engage once they were on it.

  • Great episode, I love that you guys keep it honest on successes and failures. Do you have a link to the e-magazine that you did. I’d love to see some of the issues. It sounds really impressive. Thanks.

  • I must admit, this is kind of the result I expected when I listened to the episodes explaining these experiments. Most short stories are also novel readers, but that’s not true in reverse. A lot of the short story market is quite incestuous, really, with the primary readership being writers who want to learn the short story format. And most of the rest of the short story market is on Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, funding anthologies around very specific themes that fit their interests. It is really, really hard to get engagement with short fiction, beyond getting readers to subscribe to a newsletter with short fiction.

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