Authors often say that engaging with readers is one of the most gratifying aspects of their career. And while authors provide readers with entertainment, information, or an escape from reality, readers provide authors with an audience (and revenue), word-of-mouth exposure, or support. Since readers fuel an author’s expression and success, how can a writer thank fans for supporting their work?
A little bit of recognition can go a long way to foster a relationship with fans and maintain a dedicated readership. From sharing fan art to running giveaways to sharing discounts, there are many ways authors can show readers appreciation. To help you brainstorm ideas on how to communicate gratitude, we’ve compiled a list of methods authors use to applaud, reward, and connect with their readers. We hope these examples provide inspiration for your own approach to engaging with readers!
1. Show off fan art
Leigh Bardugo reposted fan art of two of her book’s characters, expressing gratitude for how this wonderful depiction by @sartagos “revived” her spirit during a tough week.
Sabaa Tahir reposted artwork by Emilie Snaith based on her books, encouraging followers to support the talented artist by giving her a follow.
Beth Revis has a full Pinterest board dedicated to recognizing art made by her creative readers.
2. Run book giveaways
Jillian Dodd frequently runs giveaways for her readers. In this one example, Jillian kept the entry method simple; fans could enter to win an angsty paperback stack by following Jillian on Instagram and BookBub and tagging a friend in the comments of this post.
Every Valentine’s Day, Stacey Lee gives away a copy of her YA romance novel, The Secret of a Heart Note. In her giveaway post, Stacey engaged with readers by sharing a fun fact about the original title of the book!
3. Dedicate a book to readers
Morgan Lee Wylie dedicated her novel Unscrupulous Wanted, which is a sequel to Unscrupulous, to readers. She shared the follow-up novel’s heartfelt dedication on Instagram, explaining that she originally intended the first book to be a standalone, so the sequel wouldn’t exist without reader support.
Putting your gratitude in print can be extremely touching for readers. When Stephenie Meyer released the long-awaited fifth Twilight book, Midnight Sun, fans like Twitter user @TiffieStarchild flooded social media with emotional posts about Stephenie’s sweet dedication to them.
4. Send out advance reader copies (ARCs)
In celebration of surpassing 100K newsletter subscribers, Brandon Sanderson announced a giveaway of five signed and numbered ARCs of his upcoming release.
Katie Zhao ran a giveaway of two signed ARCs of her upcoming novel. Retweeting the post was one of the entry requirements, so Katie got to thank her fans while gaining exposure!
5. Give away fun items and gift cards
Sarah Nicolas chose three lucky winners to receive a gift card to an Etsy shop selling masks and embroidered bookmarks.
In celebration of her new release, Cheryl Bradshaw tweeted the opportunity for fans to win a Kindle and an Amazon gift card.
Brigid Kemmerer kindly offered to send a personalized bookplate to every reader who mails her a self-addressed envelope. She even agreed to ship these gifts internationally!
6. Let readers know when there’s a book discount
Karen White posted a screenshot of her BookBub deal in which her ebook was discounted from $11.99 to $1.99, blasting news of the “extra special price” to her Instagram followers.
Alka Joshi shared her exciting Chirp audiobook deal on her Instagram page, encouraging followers to take advantage of the slashed price by gifting the audiobook or checking it out themselves.
Alka interacted with a fan in the comments, expressing gratitude for their enthusiasm over the audiobook and discount.
7. Share gratitude for fans’ book-inspired tattoos
John Scalzi tweeted a photo of a tattoo inspired by his writing, remarking how cool it is that people get ink of his brain’s creations.
Stephanie Garber posted a photo on Instagram of a reader’s tattoo based on her books, noting that fan tattoos are one of her “most favorite things.” She also encouraged her followers to like the fan’s original post of the tattoo.
Alechia Dow expressed amazement at a reader’s colorful tattoo based on her book. She tagged her publisher in the tweet to make sure they saw the awesome ink.
8. Acknowledge readers’ messages when they reach out
Julie C. Dao responded directly to a reader’s excitement over her new book deal and compliments about her writing.
J. Elle retweeted a fan account’s International Women’s Day post in honor of her and her character, adding a heartfelt thanks in the caption.
Laura Schroff thanked a reader for posting about her book by retweeting the shoutout and offering to send a signed bookmark.
9. Thank readers for their reviews and ratings (in general or when tagged)
Sophie Gonzales took to Twitter to thank her readers for helping her title hit 300 reviews on Amazon. She used lots of tearful emojis to display her immense gratitude!
Hank Phillippi Ryan retweeted a link to a reader review that had her “absolutely swooning.”
10. Share free resources
Debbie Macomber often creates holiday-themed boards filled with fun activities. Recently, she tweeted a link to her Pinterest board with crafts and recipes in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.
Since Claribel A. Ortega’s middle grade book, Ghost Squad, takes place on and around Halloween, she shared free resources for educators and parents at the start of October.
11. Post fan cosplay inspired by a book
Alisson Wood reposted a clever photo a fan sent to her posing with her new release.
Namina Forna shared and praised a stunning TikTok video (as an Instagram reel) of a fan dressing up as one of her book’s characters.
Jennifer De Leon shared a fan’s recreation of her book cover that “made [her] heart explode.”
12. Show gratitude when reaching milestones fans helped you attain
Leena Holly commemorated her book reaching the Top 5 Best Sellers in the poetry category on Amazon Canada by thanking everyone who read, shared, or reviewed her book.
Sarah J. Maas shared her heartfelt gratitude to her readers for propelling her book to the #1 New York Times bestseller spot. In her Instagram post, she poignantly described how she felt as if she was celebrating the moment with her fans.
13. Host or join virtual book clubs
Brenda Novak runs a hugely popular book club on Facebook, hosting monthly events to interview featured books’ authors and engage with fans. If members read all 12 selected reads that year, they have a chance to win a dedication in one of Brenda’s new releases.
Ruta Sepetys took part in a series of virtual book club gatherings to discuss her new novel. When people purchased the book through a participating independent bookstore, they got an exclusive discussion guide with behind-the-scenes insights, photographs, and recipes inspired by the book as well as the opportunity to talk directly with Ruta.
14. Run free virtual events
Nandi Taylor conducted a full virtual tour through Instagram Live. Each day, she invited a different author to join her in conversation, and readers would get a chance to ask questions.
Sharina Harris and K.D. King cohosted a cocktail tasting party through Facebook Live. Sharina tweeted the recipe details in advance so fans could prep and join in on the fun!
What is your favorite way to engage with readers to express gratitude? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets!
Click to tweet: This is such an inspiring post on engaging with readers! Authors, take a look. #WritingCommunity https://bit.ly/2Pr9E1T
Click to tweet: Authors, show your readers how much you appreciate them! Here are some ideas:
🎨 Show off fan art
📅 Run free events
🎁 Give away fun prizes
✍️ Acknowledge readers’ messages
📖 Dedicate a book to readers
Check out more here! https://bit.ly/2Pr9E1T