Most career authors dream of getting to a point where their readers buy their work simply because their name is on the cover. You might have even noticed that on some covers, certain authors’ names are larger and more prominent than the title! This is a clear indicator that these authors have readers who are drawn to their name above all else, time and time again.

That’s what it means to be an “auto-buy” author – your readers will automatically purchase your latest release without worrying about its contents. These are your most ardent regular customers, and the type of reader every author should strive to have stick around!

Read on to learn how you can become an auto-buy author.

  1. Research – look at what readers are saying about their current auto-buy authors! Do they love an author who has a regular release schedule? A writer who consistently delivers relatable characters? An author who spends a lot of time getting to know their readers on social media? Make note of what works for readers and implement some of these practices into your own writing career. I guarantee you are already doing one or more of these actions that readers appreciate; this research will help you be more aware of that and hopefully encourage you to amplify what you are already doing.
  2. Market effectively – auto-buy authors have an active promotional presence, and make sure to market their upcoming releases. Keeping on top of you release schedule means your readers are aware of when your work will be hitting their digital shelves. Likewise, don’t neglect pre-orders and pre-order promotion. At KWL, we have a handy guide to setting up your pre-orders and a previous Q&A on our podcast can help you get some ideas on how to be a Kobo bestseller.
  3. Word-of-mouth – on social media – getting your book talked about is an important step on the path to becoming someone’s auto-buy. Promote your book on your own social media platforms, connect with other authors who can promote you in-kind, or even reach out to bookstagrammers, book bloggers, and TikTok users active on #BookTok to see if they have the time and willingness to read and review your title. Many book-focused content creators have packed schedules and many requests, so keep that in mind when reaching out.
  4. Collaborate with other authors – ever been included in an anthology? Have you ever co-authored a book? Have you and several other authors contributed to installments in a series? If you haven’t, now is the time to consider collaboration. Working with one or more other authors to put together a publication is enticing to readers everywhere. Short story anthologies centred around a genre, theme or trope are hugely popular, and can help readers discover your work through authors they already keep close to their hearts. Reach out to authors in your circle to start a conversation about collaboration, and see how these forms of publications can put you on someone’s auto-buy list!
  5. Keep writing – this one is obvious, but if you are looking to be a career author on dozens of readers’ auto-buy lists, keep writing! The more you publish, the more your readers have to look forward to, and the more they will return to your work. Find a release schedule that works well for you; some authors are publishing once a month, but many readers find auto-buy authors in those that only publish once a year! The amount of works you put out into the world certainly helps keep your readers coming back, but taking time to publish is just as valid, especially if it means the long wait can aid in building anticipation and assist in that important pre-order period.

Auto-buy authors are often genre authors – their work fits into a genre space, and readers can trust that their latest release will fall into that genre quite comfortably.

More recently, authors within a given genre have become known for their tropes rather than just the genre or sub-genre itself! More and more readers are searching for content that includes their favourite tropes; in romantic novels, this could mean something like an enemies-to-lovers or fated romance storylines; in mystery and thriller, readers might be seeking out a lead heroine who is on the case, or maybe they’re looking for a cozy mystery set in an idyllic area. These tropes range from the broad to the very specific, and every author has their niche (whether they know it or not). Stay on top of current genre trends (and avoid genre mistakes) to take full advantage of this aspect of being an auto-buy author.

However, many auto-buy authors are beloved for their style. The content doesn’t necessarily matter – it’s the way it is delivered. If you have a strong, distinct voice, why not lean into it? Whether your voice is satirical or poetic, there is a group of readers out there who will be drawn to the “sound” of your voice.

Recognizing whether you are loved for your characters, plots, voice, or overall presences as an author will help you narrow your focus. Attracting new readers is as important as building a relationship with your current ones so that they come back, time and time again.

Who are your auto-buy authors? Have your readers called you their auto-buy author? Share your experiences with the KWL community below!

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