the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
As authors, we have a lot to be grateful for: the words that poured out of us somehow, the publishing contract we may have received, the book sales that were more than we were expecting, and of course, the raving reviews.
And while we should sing praises to God for showering us with all those blessings, we also need to show our appreciation to those who have supported us along the way - our readers! But how do we do that when we may not know them personally? Or when there are way more of them than us?
It’s a real dilemma!
Thankfully, there’s an easy solution to the problem. Well, five, actually …
How to Show Gratitude to Your Readers
If you’re looking for ways to show gratitude to your followers rather than scare them off, here are five simple ideas to make your readers feel appreciated all year long:
Host giveaways. Each month host a giveaway where one member of your community wins a prize. It might be a signed copy of your book, the eBook version of another author’s book, or a small gift card and trinket related to your book’s theme. It doesn’t have to cost much, but it’s an easy way to give back to your readers and to say thanks.
Be real. We often think that people aren’t interested in our lives, but that’s simply not true! Not only do readers follow you for your expertise and storytelling abilities, but they also follow you because they like you as a person. Don’t be afraid to give them your authentic self and share glimpses of your life, your writing journey, and the struggles you’ve encountered along the way. You don’t have to be overly personal, but find ways to connect and build relationships with them rather than always selling to them. Keeping it real with your community can go a long way in building trust and showing your appreciation.
Include them in your process. Want to make readers truly invested in your book? Include them in your writing/publishing process! Ask them to help you name a character, choose a setting for your book, or decide on the best cover. Giving them “skin in the game” will not only make them more excited for the book itself, but it will also let them know you value their opinions and insights as readers. That’s a huge act of kindness that won’t go unnoticed!
Spend time with them. While you may not be able to sit down with the members of your community 1:1 over a cup of coffee, there are several ways you can spend time with them:
Attend reader book festivals and meet them there. Sign their books, take pictures with them and ask questions to learn more about who they are and what they’re wanting from you as an author.
Create a private Facebook group just for them. Discuss various books (yours included, of course!), debate book topics (Are bookmarks for quitters?), or host Zoom calls and answer their most pressing questions! Having a direct link to you will give them all sorts of good feels!
Join reader groups. Hang out where they hang out! Share your favorite books and ask for their recommendations. They’ll love knowing that you are an avid reader like they are and that you struggle to find your next great read too!
Pray for them. While it may seem strange at first, praying for our readers is probably the best way to show our gratitude! Paul says in Ephesians 116 (NIV), “I have not stopped giving thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers …” How you pray for them can vary (you might pray that they will be drawn closer to God through your story/that their hearts would be open to the message you’re sharing, or you might even consider asking how you can specifically pray for them), but it’s unlikely anyone would be unwilling or ungrateful for you to intercede on their behalf!
We have so much to be thankful for as writers. As we count our blessings one by one, let’s not forget to pour back into some of the most important people in our lives - our readers. When we do, we’re certain not only to make followers, but life-long friends as well.