Wednesday, December 19, 2018

5 Tips for Collecting New Readers and Connections

by Katy Kauffman @KatyKauffman28

A tiny enchanted forest greets me each morning. My mini winter wonderland doesn’t exist in my backyard, but on my great-grandmother’s antique pine dresser. Three white trees sit, not on snow, but on a sage green doily, and send out silver glints of light that catch my eye. The cheval mirror reflects other treasures on my dresser—ivory dogwoods, red velvet flowers lined with glitter, and a “Cinderella sleigh” as I call it, pulled by two silver-tipped reindeer that anxiously wait to take a princess to a ball.

The charm didn’t happen overnight. It’s taken years to collect a few treasures at a time. I can remember the places where I’ve discovered my treasures, including the Christmas Shoppe in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, and the Biltmore mansion in Asheville, North Carolina. Finding just the right Christmas treasures and bringing them home is an investment of time and money. What special decorations have you collected over the years? Our Christmas collections develop with time and care.

Just like our platforms. As authors, we collect readers, and we also collect friendships. It takes time to find readers and build friendships with people we encounter through social media and our blogs. A beautiful “wonderland” of published books, speaking engagements, guest blog posts, and magazine articles doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and care. It takes hard work and God’s blessing. But it’s worth every hour we spend collecting our “treasures.”

So here’s a little advice from someone who enjoys collecting both Christmas treasures and new readers. See if these five tips will help you to invest in your own collection of readers and friendships as you build your platform.

1. Don’t wait for the “treasures” to come to you—go where they are.
If we’re going to gain new readers, we have to go where they are. We have to discover where they hang out—book clubs, Bible study groups, online groups, coffee shops, conferences, and so forth. Researching our target audience helps us to know where they congregate and what appeals to them.

2. See each treasure’s value.
It’s easy for us to get focused on book promotion, but what people really need is knowing that someone cares. When you find new readers, remember to see their value as people, not just as readers. Get to know them, read their comments, interact with them, share encouragement, and pray for them. Solid connections grow as we find things in common with other people and we care about each other’s lives and challenges.

3. Ask other “collectors” what works for them.
Anyone whose house is blessed with gorgeous Christmas decorations knows where to find the best pieces. The same works for authors. If you find authors who are able to gain new readers regularly, ask them how they did it. Their investment may have been in the form of videos on YouTube, blog tours, speaking engagements, giveaways, or social media advertising. We can learn from each other how to expand our platforms.

4. Seek to give, not just take.
I can’t count how many times I’ve heard writers say that they don’t want to promote themselves. It can feel awkward, right? As someone who loves Christmastime and everything about it that sparkles, I’d rather share the “pretty” with friends than have it all to myself. The same works for what we share in our writing, in our speaking, and online. If we have been given truth, hope, and love, we can share that with others. If we have discovered life-changing principles, we know they’re too good to keep to ourselves.

An essential for building a platform is sharing quality content that builds up our readers and enriches their lives. Then platform-building is not “gimme, gimme, gimme,” but let me give to others what God has given to me.

5. Let your “treasures” overlap someone else’s.
Another way to keep a selfless mindset while building a platform is to direct our readers to other writers. We can point our treasured readers and friends in the direction of similar books and websites that will bless them. In doing so, we also bless the writers we promote, and we help to build community among writers and readers.

A collection of readers, friends, and publishing connections is something to treasure all year long. May your own collection grow with time and care, and don’t let the investment dissuade you from the pursuit. The end result is worth the attention that it takes. Affecting people’s lives for good is a treasure to pursue and a joy to obtain.

In the comments below, name one step you’ve taken to build your platform that yielded good results. Share your thoughts with other “collectors,” and join the conversation!

5 Tips for Collecting New Readers and Connections - @KatyKauffman28 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Build your reader connections with these 5 tips from @KatyKauffman28 on @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)

Katy Kauffman is an award-winning author, an editor of Refresh Bible Study Magazine, and a co-founder of Lighthouse Bible Studies. Her first compilation, Breaking the Chains, won a 2018 Selah finalist award. Her second compilation, Heart Renovation: A Construction Guide to Godly Character, released this summer. Katy’s writing can be found at, at, at, at two blogs on writing, in online magazines, and on devotional blogs. She loves spending time with family and friends, making jewelry, and hunting for the best peanut butter cookies. Connect with her at her blog and on Facebook and Twitter.


  1. Great tips! Thank you. I am always looking to add to my followers. :-) Merry Christmas!

  2. Katy, I've also used Ryan Zee's Sweeps. He has an Inspy fiction Sweeps, which has readers of Christian fiction signed up. Increased my newsletter readership by 700 (retained over 2 years) readers. I'll do another sweeps with again.

    1. That's wonderful! I'll have to investigate that. Thank you for sharing, Ane!

  3. New to the world of writing, but I do now share any author book posts in my FBook feed to help out my fellow authors. Appreciate the ‘sharing the good with others’ perspective in your post. :)

    1. That's a great thing to do to help the writing community. I wish you well in new writing adventures!

  4. Thank you, as always, for the great tips Ms. Katy. How did such a young lady become so wise? What a wonderful year of learning, and collecting, this has been. Thank you Ms. Katy, and all the wonderful contributors to Ms. Edie's award-winning blog. Merry CHRISTmas everyone.

    1. Thank you for that encouraging comment, Jim. May God bless your writing in the new year, and thank you for contributing to Refresh in 2018! I hope that's repeated in 2019. Have a great Christmas!

  5. Thank you for some good social media ideas that also show care for others. Too often we get so focused on today's need to build our social media presence that we forget this.