How to make a connection with your biggest fans.

We don’t know where our first impressions come from or what they mean, so we don’t appreciate their fragility.

It’s important that first impressions matter. That is why you will find a lot of advice about how to get noticed as a writer. How to make your work look better. How to format it for your readers and whoever you are sending it to. Malcolm Gladwell.

The surface of the impression is too slippery to stick to if it is challenged later. What comes next? Malcolm Gladwell said that first impressions might be fragile. I think it is worse than that. They are often either transparent or slick.

When someone comes back for a second look, it is the second impression that matters most. We have the chance to make a connection with them. It will make them remember us.

The best thing we can hope for is that they will come back. Continue reading. When a friend needs a book to read, think about us again. When they see our name again, remember us.

I had this experience before. How we manage followers who become fans is very important.

He has tried to sell me everything. I have sold his stuff all over. The first time I saw him, I was impressed. It was shiny and slick.

I really like an author. I received his newsletter. I have all of his books.

He wrote back and said that he would have to decline. I was going to be in his city a couple of years ago and I decided to email and introduce myself. I told him that I would love to buy him coffee.

A few months later, I checked my Amazon links and realized that I had sold more than 100 copies of his books. I told him that I would love to interview him since my audience loves him, and that I showed him proof that I did. Okay, okay. He was not obligated to meet me. His reply was very nice. The first impression is intact.

He wrote back and said that he would have to decline. Is it possible to send him a few questions via email?

I don’t expect anyone to do what I want or I will hate them forever. He is a famous dude. He gets to say no, period. The same email was sent. I had two of them, so now is a cut and paste.

I felt like this man’s work was my, in a small way, because I loved it so much. I was excited to spread the news about it because I had a connection to it. It was similar to sharing something of mine with people who trust me to send them cool stuff. The tarnish is off the shine of the first impression and I can’t help it. It is just the breaks.

The author was not very sticky in my second impression. My first impression was not good. I am a regular fan these days.

It doesn’t feel like it’s mine anymore, but I still appreciate his work. I was a big fan of the universe. Pat Flynn is a super fan.

I was excited to start the program that I signed up for. I had never heard of an innovative mastermind community. I was excited to be a part of the conference that the guys running the program put on. This is another experience.

The first couple of days were rocky. The owner of the program had an issue with Facebook. He wasn’t fond of it. It was at all. He started a temporary Facebook group for people to get to know each other before the program started. The first impression was pretty. It was nice and shiny.

I got an email from one of the guys who was running the program. In the video, the man addressed me by name, talked about why he was happy that I was joining his program, and how much he was looking forward to what I could bring to it. He moved to a forum on his own site after he deleted it completely. The forum was very slow paced and less interactive. It was a complete dud. The first impression was spotty.

The program was undone by that forum. The momentum that started on Facebook did not come back. It didn’t suit me. The person who developed the program took the time to make a good second impression on me when he had something else to offer. I felt connected to the program again after watching a little video. I was willing to wait through the growing pains, at least for a little while.

It is the same for all kinds of marketing. Even for writers. The second impression was sticky. They made a fan out of the first thing I did with them.

We aim for those good, shiny first impressions and put our best foot forward. The chance to make a first impression is something we have. We put our work out there. People read it and they enjoy it or they don’t. Either they share it or they don’t. They either tell their friends about it or not.

They will become your fan if you give them a chance. The second impression matters more. The second impression is the most important part of the marketing for writers. Readers who are interested enough to come back or reach out for more are the ones who want to be inspired. They want something that is sticky.

Casual readers who only read if they come across it are at the bottom of the pyramid. The base is sturdy. Most of your readers won’t allow you to have a second-impression interaction with them. That is okay. It is the way the game is played. Most will read and move on, but you will never really know they were there.

There is an advice about social media that says you shouldn’t follow as many people as you want. You need to give the impression that you are popular. Some people will seek you out on social media. They will join your email list. They will look for your next book. They will talk to a friend about what they read. They will ask a question.

You know what? She still adores Meg. You know what else? I still adore Meg. My daughter was made a reader by her. She had two deeper connections with readers because of that one little follow. When my older daughter was in middle school, her favorite author followed her on social media. My kid was followed by Meg Cabot and she was over the moon.

What does it mean? I realized that I wanted to make people feel the way Meg Cabot made my daughter feel that day, even though I had no published books.

You don’t necessarily need to make a personal connection with every reader. You are only one person. Readers are people who have chosen to spend their free time with you. I think it means that if you don’t make a connection, you can’t read all the advice and strategy guides and tip listicles.

If you pay attention to your readers, your work will become a conversation with them, instead of you pontificating and getting upset when no one listens. The adages about how many people you should follow can be thrown away.

Ray Bradbury, Judy Blume, and a hundred other authors invited me to read their stories. It is harder to do. It’s harder to follow someone on social media. It is what I meant when I said I was in conversation with your reader.

I think about Meg Cabot when I think about sticky novelists. Chuck Palahniuk was teaching me about thought verbs. Stephen King wrote to his readers. I think about how Ellen traveled to schools all year long to meet her young readers.

I have bought all of the books by the author. I have shared them with many young friends. We stood in line for hours to meet her at a book event and it was worth it. In the sixth grade, she made a big impression on me.