Let’s talk about The Author’s Platform. For those of you that don’t know what an Author’s Platform is, Allow me to explain it to you in the most simplest of terms. An Author’s Platform is a foundation in which an author makes themselves more credible and visibly known. It’s hard to be specific on what it is exactly, but there are lots of factor’s that go into building an Author’s Platform. These days it’s almost essential to begin building a platform before you decide that you want to be a writer.Why? Because if you decide to go with a major Publishing house, there is no guarantee that you will sell any books.
Publishing houses expect YOU to get the word out on your book. That means for the most part you will get little help on selling your book. Just when you thought the worst was over and all you had to do was write, then you get slapped with a sledgehammer 😦 I have to point out that once your book is out, It’s really hard to sell it, ESPECIALLY without some kind of social presence to your audience.When you self publish, I can’t stress this but you need a strong Author’s Platform. Without it, you will get lost in the sea full of well established writers. Let’s explore some of the factors that help build an Author’s Platform.
1.Having a blog. And not just having a blog, but having a blog where you talk about things other than the self promotion of your upcoming or latest book. Potential readers like to get in the heads of their favorite authors. It helps them connect and relate to you as a person and not some untouchable entity who sits at a laptop writing all day. Yea you may get the urge to promote you book every once in a while, but let that be the secondary content. Our potential readers want to know what inspires us, what our interests are and how relatable we can be. This can be one of the most important ways to establish an audience. If I were you I wouldn’t skip it.
2.Having an online presence. That means being active on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and any other online social media network you can be a part of. In this day and age, Online presence is soooo important. The latest generation of people rely heavily on social media and technology. You have to experiment to see what works for you. In my personal experience I’d say Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads are your best bet. But there are so many. LinkedIn is something I’ve recently signed up for. It’s a bit confusing and I haven’t fully worked out the kinks but I’m sure once I master it, It could be a great tool to involve myself in the writing community and possibly connecting to the audience that we write for.Some others included Tumblr( A picture blogging site), StumbleUpon, Webook and Authonomy. Some of these sites you can post excerpts, connect with other writers and gain insightful input on what can work for you.
Now with that said, I have to make it known that it’s not really helpful to abuse these outlets. Do not and I REPEAT DO NOT approach every chance you get to connect with someone as a way to “sell”your book. You’re only going to alienate yourself from your potential audience and be seen as a spammer. My advice? Make friends and gain meaningful relationships. Join groups. Observe what others are reading.Share your opinions on the books that you’re reading. Look for ways to contribute or help the communities that you’re involved in. This may mean proofreading someone else’s potential manuscript or giving advice on what route you took to publish your book. It’s important to build trust with your community BEFORE you need it to make a difference for you.
3.Author Website. I admit.We don’t have an Author Website.Mainly because I think we do just fine connecting to people on our blogs. But I know there is going to be a time where we’re going to need one to share news and updates about our book and future releases.
4.Guest Blogging. Try to see if you can do a few guest posts on another person’s website or blog. I could be a great way to reach their audience as well as driving tracking to your own blog.
5.Knowing your Target Audience. I don’t think I really have to go into detail about this. You have to know WHO your book appeals to. Try to connect with others who write or read the genre that you’re writing in. If your book isn’t finished yet, offering samples of what you already have and get feedback on what’s working and what isn’t working in your story. If your book is finished, share excerpts. If the money aspect isn’t an issue, send out copies, ARC’S, e-books, whatever you have to anyone who openly wants to give you feedback on your work. Knowing your target audience will help you decide on which bloggers, reviewers and readers to politely ask for help and if your book appeals to them, they may just tell their readers about it.
6.Personal and Professional contacts. If you have them,GREAT! If you don’t you may have to start mingling at some writing conferences.Enter writing contests.Try to get some creditability to your name. Sometimes a Credible reference can make all the difference when it comes to pursuing a traditional publishing house or planning to, like us , Self Publish.
7.Making public appearances which include but are not limited to guest speaking, book readings, book signings and interviews . This can help get you local exposure, as well as giving you a leg to stand on when you send out press releases to more National publications. If your book appeals to younger kids, volunteer to do a book reading in schools.Adults? Offer to read it as part of a book club. Anything that makes you stand out from others can’t possibly be a bad thing.
Below, this author gave some really good tips on building an Author’s platform.
And for the time conscious, this blogger breaks down how you should be spending your time if you only have two hours in the day to devote to it.
I hope this helps remind you that having an Author’s Platform is both necessary and essential if your ultimate goal is reaching as many readers as possible as a self published author. If you’re going the more traditional route, It may set you aside from all the other hopeful writers who wish to have traditional representation . C’mon let’s face it, no one sells books anymore by just word of mouth alone, so that’s why it’s so important to be as marketable and seek as much visibilty as you possible can.