Building a fanbase is one of the most prominent mountains to conquer as an author. A loyal fanbase will be an author’s champion throughout their publication journey and beyond—but how exactly do you build one?
There are the typical answers, like getting a website, a Facebook group, or simply posting on Instagram and Twitter. These are vital tools on an author’s journey, but there are other creative ways to cultivate a following. Here are some methods of strengthening a fanbase that go beyond the norm.
For authors trying to build a loyal following, we recommend stretching your limits outside the well-traveled roads of social media. Blogging, for instance, is an easy way to start. Whether you’re writing down your controversial thoughts on the Oxford comma, sharing your newest story concept, or just giving your readers an update on your personal life, blogging is a public outlet for you to stay current with your readers.
If you already have an author website, consider adding a blog element. If not, here are some of our recommended sites to begin your own blog:
Guest Posting for Other Companies
Not a big fan of running your own personal blog? That’s okay! You can also build a readership through online publications that allow contributors. Contributing posts and articles gives you the opportunity to appeal to individuals who weren’t on your radar before as an outside company offers you a wider reach. We recommend searching for companies that have the same audience as you want to attract for your fanbase.
Here are just a few companies who welcome outside contributors:
- She Writes
- The largest online community of women writers. Blog about your writing journey!
- She Reads
- An online community of readers to help you find your new favorite book. Submit articles about what books you’re reading and why you’re excited about them.
- Thought Catalog
- An online magazine for personal stories, advice, opinion articles, and product reviews—this platform welcomes you to share your ideas with the world.
- Elephant Journal
- This publication shares original articles focused on “the mindful life,” like yoga, sustainability, nutrition, ecofashion, spirituality, etc.
- The SITS Girls
- If you have a post about social media tips, DIY tutorials, or blogging advice, this is a great site to check out.
- Write to Done
- Submit to this community if you are already a blogger with your own blog—they want guest posters who have useful advice for writers, whether pertaining to fiction or nonfiction writing.
- BuzzFeed Community
- Do you want to write a quiz? A poll? A list? An article? You can post it on BuzzFeed Community!
- The biggest comedy website in the world, you can sign up for the writers’ forum for Cracked.com. If they like your funny article, you might get paid too.
If you aren’t familiar with Patreon, here’s the lowdown: Patreon is a membership-based platform so creators can “develop a direct relationship with your biggest fans and generate predictable, recurring revenue from your creative work.”
This is a great platform if you’re looking to inspire activity within your current fanbase. Even if you have just a small number of dedicated fans, Patreon is an awesome way to foster direct connection between creator and consumer. If a fan has a membership with you, they have the option to pay for content that other fans won’t get to see.
Creators have the option of offering different levels of content in exchange for a patron’s membership. If you write short stories, you could offer each fan at the five-dollar tier a personalized 500-word flash-fiction story starring themselves. If you’re working on a new book, you could offer a sneak-peak at the first two chapters to patrons in the ten-dollar range. Whether it be early updates, exclusive content, or fun swag, Patreon is a great way to strengthen the author-reader relationship and build up a deeper sense of community and interest within your fanbase.
Get started here.
You may be asking: What does fanfiction have to do with building a fanbase?
By definition, fanfiction is fictional writing that is based on particular books, movies, television series, or even real-life celebrities. Essentially, fanfiction writers are asking what if? Perhaps you always thought Harry Potter would be great as a Slytherin. Maybe you didn’t like the ending of Game of Thrones and want to rewrite who gets to sit on the iron throne. Maybe you had an idea for a hilarious crime that you think your favorite pair of television detectives would have an interesting time solving. Or maybe you just like cute little drabbles of two characters baking cookies. If you want to know more details of what fanfiction is, read about it here.
Not only is fanfiction enjoyable because you get write a story from within your favorite fictional universes—it is a great way to build up your readership. In the fanfiction world, if you want to write it, there are definitely people who will read it. Fanfiction readers are a loyal bunch who provide eager feedback and excitedly share things they love it with others. When you write fanfiction, you’re tapping into a new community that will happily back your future projects.
Here are the most popular platforms for posting fanfiction:
Wattpad is a storytelling platform that gives writers the chance to cultivate their fanbase. With a global community of 70 million readers and writers, you’re guaranteed to find a community that you can connect with here. No matter what you like to write, there is a niche for your work. You might even get featured on Wattpad Picks, where Wattpad puts a spotlight on your work and puts it front-and-center on the site for curious readers.
As a platform focused on empowering writers to come forward with their untold, original stories, Wattpad is an incredible tool for writers to gain readership. And with resources like Wattpad Studios, dedicated to finding the next big storytellers in the industry, you might even get discovered by one of their multi-media entertainment company partners. Whether your story’s potential is in publishing, TV, or Hollywood, Wattpad gives writers the opportunity to be seen and connect with others.
Get started here.