Monday, August 26, 2013

Hunt to Read Trail Guide: 1,000 True Fans

Everything that we do at Hunt to Read is driven by an ethos.

Though "Read What You Hunt" is our motto, and it's absolutely applicable to what we're doing given the cool new changes we have in the works, it quite frankly leaves a bit of gray area for authors and publishers when all is said and done.

After all, we're all about providing value to everyone who visits the site, from the reader searching for a new author to sample, to the authors and publishers looking to get feedback and, thereby, increase their own fan bases.

In our research here at Hunt to Read, we came across a famous blog post a while ago (by the incomparable Kevin Kelly) outlining the importance of having 1,000 true fans.

The main idea is that artists can flourish in this day-and-age by having 1,000 true fans that will support them (and help spread the word) in whatever endeavors those artists may undertake.

So our goal is simple:

If you're an author listed on Hunt to Read, it is our goal to connect you with those 1,000 true fans.


Period.

No, we're not going to hijack these folks and make them read your books, Clockwork Orange-style.

The way we see it, there are millions of readers out there. Speaking from experience, some folks likely will dismiss your work out of hand. Actually, a vast, vast majority probably will.

The thing is, that's okay. Let those folks who don't appreciate your work read stuff that they want to--your writing is likely not for them.

But as we continue to direct our burgeoning marketing efforts at readers, it's important to remember that a reader's taste is just that; their taste. Not everyone's taste in books is going to coincide with your own.

However, there's a good chance that out of the millions of readers out there (not just in America, but world-wide), there are at least 1,000 kindred spirits that would wholeheartedly appreciate reading your works, and it's on us to connect you with those folks.

That's not to say that your books, as currently constituted, will necessarily attract those readers. Part of the beauty of Hunt to Read is that you can see whether your cover, blurb, and presentation (for the moment--we're always working on more ways to get our listers data!) are drawing in those readers who would otherwise be interested in your books.

After all, the readers are self-selecting which genres and devices they filter on HTR, right? So if they're passing your book by in the Hunt interface, maybe you (or your publisher) needs to reexamine those crucial marketing tools that your book has at its disposal.

And, I'll admit it, we still have a ways to go before we're at exactly where we want to be. We're still working on building up a reader base, though as we've expanded our marketing budget, the results have been extremely encouraging world-wide. Additionally, we're constantly working on new tools to help connect authors with those 1,000 true fans that we know already exist.

But I promise you this: from here on out, we will not rest until we figure out new, off-the-wall, out-there, or just plain old tried-and-true ways to build those connections. It is our driving force; it is our ethos. We want to forge a community based around this principle, and I think we're moving in the right direction.

If you have any ideas, questions, concerns, etc. about how best to do so, as always, feel free to let us know in the comments or at contact@hunttoread.com.

Thanks everyone, and Happy Hunting!

-D.J.

D.J. Gelner is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hunt to Read. Contact him directly at djgelner@hunttoread.com.

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