Building a community around you and your book has a long-term impact on your success as a writer and provides you with a support system, an engagement system, a fan-base system and so many other systems that you can benefit from.
To clarify, when I talk about 'building a community' in this post, this doesn't have to mean buyers. It could mean building dedicated followers who engage and share with your posts or building a network of supportive writers who are on hand for you to ask questions.
Use common interests
In order to build a community around yourself as an author and your books, you need to find common interests with your target audience, here are some examples;
Writing (for connecting with other writers)
Books (for connecting with readers)
Certain genres/categories (for connecting with readers in your genre)
Personality traits (Leigh Bardugo is best known for being gothic)
Outside activities (sports, fashion, baking, etc)
By using your common interests, you'll be able to build your community by attracting those with the same interests as you.
Social media is a community tool
The most common, and arguably the best way to find and build your community, is on social media as that's primarily what these accounts are for. You then want to start connecting, following and engaging with people within these communities who will support your journey. Here are some ways you can find communities on certain social media platforms;
Twitter - The writing community on Twitter is huge, so this would be a great place to start if you want to connect with other writers. On Twitter in the search bar, type #writingcommunity and see post after post from writers tweeting to people like you, those search the hashtag. Comment on these posts and even reach out to these writers to start up a conversation.
Facebook - Facebook is great for groups, which is a huge advantage when finding a community. I have found that Facebook groups aren't as communicative as Twitter or Instagram, but they're still great for reaching another level of target market. On Facebook, in the search bar, type a key word that you're trying to find a community for. It could be 'books, 'writers', 'anime' etc. Then, navigate to the groups tag and request to join ones that interest you. Once they've accepted you into the group, do a welcome post and ask others to introduce themselves.
Instagram - Instagram is the place of the well-known #bookstagram, a group hashtag where book lovers meet other book lovers and share their reviews, character art, book merchandise, etc. #bookstagram is huge but so is the #writingcommunity on Instagram, so this is possibly one of the best social media to use. Do a post and include relevant hashtags such as the above.
Use other people's communities
If you're trying to build a community, it's wise to use other people's communities that they have already built. For example, when marketing my book(s), I select a number of book influencers to post about it to their followers. This, in turn, gets their followers to buy my book and follow me if they're interested, which builds my community.
Another thing I've done for Patreon is ask others to share about it on their social media, which in turn will hopefully get others to join my Patreon if they want to make use of the number of benefits.
Word of mouth is key, so make sure you're building your community by using the communities that others have already built. It doesn't just have to relate to sales either. When I first created my author Instagram account, I reached out to a number of #bookstagram influencer accounts and writers to shout me out on their stories. This helped me gain around 200 followers in half a day, so this tactic really does work. There is always the cause of being spammy, so if an influencer doesn't reply, please don't continue to message them as this can be annoying and can put a barrier in the way of making real connections.
Make sure you're providing something
Finding a community is the easy part, it's creating and building a community that requires the most work. Answer the question of why? Why should someone want to be in your community? Why should they want to engage with your posts?
Many writers, including myself, go down the route of building a community for other writers. For example, Bethany Atazadeh does this well, as her community is built on helping writers learn more about the business side of publishing. You are part of my wonderful Patreon community for writers which, although does have the benefit of helping you learn more about writing, marketing, publishing, etc, it's primarily to help provide you with a community of other writers who want to support you. That's what I provide and is why others want to be involved with my community (my Patreon). So, what do you provide?
Build a hype team
To find out more about how to build your hype/book launch team, click here. Building a hype team is a great way to build a community around your books. A hype team is a number of dedicated people who will engage with your posts and shout about your book. These people will serve as your 'fan base' and will help grow your community by introducing your book to others.
Building a hype team is great for when you're launching a book, but you can also build a general one that is there to primarily sell you as an author and your books.
Be who you are
People are more invested in people who are themselves and it's so important for your own mental health that you're making sure that you're happy and authentic on the platforms you're putting yourself out there on. Top authors and influencers are so well-known and liked because they're true to themselves and have found a community of others like them. To reference again, Leigh Bardugo is known to be quite gothic and, rather than pretend to be someone she's not, she's fully embraced that and it's why readers love her. It's why we choose to follow her.