How Authors Build Trust with Audience

Feedback Loop Diagram of the Value of The Right Story, Given FreelySharing content is an author’s best way to build audience. But keeping
your audience takes building trust. If your readers consistently get the right story, given freely, you can establish trust as an author. It’s about creating confidence: Your work is worth reading and sharing.

Show generosity with readers

To build trust with audience, your outreach should be generous and sincere. People will respond to acts of generosity—it’s been wired into us. Reciprocity is the powerful force at work here, and it means people will want to repay, in kind, an act of giving. By sharing your content, you start relationships with your readers through an act of generosity. It’s a great way to make a first impression. It’s also a way to establish a relationship for future contact by giving readers a chance to sign up for your mailing list. Just remember: New readers will have more trust when you don’t force them to exchange an email address for a free book.

Share stories consistently

Establish trust through a habit of sharing content: Giving freely can create goodwill with readers. If the experience is good, they will be more open to advocating for you. Advocacy can be through reviews, crowdfunding contributions, future purchases and, most meaningfully, personal recommendations. A personal recommendation from a trusted source is valuable. It’s your best way to spread word-of-mouth, and it’s how readers transfer trust you’ve earned to their network of friends, family, and followers. Keep a reader’s trust by sharing consistently to maintain the relationship.

Practice your craft through sharing

As you develop your voice and story, it’s important to try new things. E.L. James gave us a great example when she developed Fifty Shades of Grey by sharing fan-fiction around the Twilight series. This example shows that trust should go both ways: James was open to listening and learning from audience feedback to develop a story that connects (thanks to Peter Armstrong for this example). It’s also important to empower fans by trusting them with a simple way to share your content with their network—content worth sharing means you’re on to something.

Content worth sharing means you’re on to something worth exploring.

Write a story that resonates

Delivering a good product to your readers is critical to building trust. To develop a story that resonates, you need to develop a profile for your audience. The more you understand your audience, the easier it will be to deliver interesting content. Learn about your readers by discovering specific interests, likes, and dislikes. Don’t wait to start learning about readers until your book is finished—start the habit now of sharing early and often to find what works.

If you can bring together the elements of generosity—giving freely—and having content worth sharing—the right story—in your book giveaways, you’ll earn the trust of your audience. Start sharing now and begin earning their trust.