An Author Platform is the cornucopia of ways that we make ourselves known to our readers. Like Rome, it does not have to be assembled in one day, BUT it does have to be built, if you want to be an effective and popular author. The goal is to create and launch a platform that quickly communicates your genre and entertainment value if you’re writing fiction, and your expertise and credibility if you’re writing non-fiction.
“I don’t care if a reader hates one of my stories, just as long as he finishes the book.” ~ Roald Dahl
1) Be Alert – Setup a virtual Nanny Cam on the web by signing up for a Google Alert (google.com/alerts). At periodic intervals that you set, Google will email you any mentions of your name, your book’s name, your blog, your Twitter handle or whatever URL you set. You can mine this information by becoming friends with those who are talking about you and share ideas, guest blogs, back cover blurbs or reviews.
“In truth, I never consider the audience for who I am writing. I just write what I want to write.” ~ J. K. Rowling
2) Don’t Play with Every Stranger – Get to know your social media contacts before allying with them because, just like in real life, there are web predators mucking about that will take advantage of the unwary and you could become guilty by association. Basically, if you could not or would not be friends with this person or support their cause off-line, look elsewhere.
“To create something you want to sell, you first study and research the market, then you develop the product to the best of your ability.” ~ Clive Cussler
3) Know your Competition – Study what they do and how they do it. Emulate what you admire, discard what you don’t, but above all, come away with an improved product or outlook.
“To gain your own voice, you have to forget about having it be heard.” ~ Allen Ginsberg
4) Go Madison Avenue – No need for loose morals, freely flowing whiskey and Mad Men here. Although posting affiliate links or ads on your site probably won’t buy you a penthouse on Park Avenue, consider them as another way to get yourself in front of the reader.
“It had better be quirky or perverse or thoughtful enough so that you hit some chord in them. I mean we’ve all read pieces where we thought, ‘Oh, who gives a damn.’ ” ~ Nora Ephron
5) Build your Bio – Succinctly tell people about you and your work, including your credentials, credits and awards. Keep it to one page and use it in your book, whenever you pitch your book, in your publicity package, on Amazon Author Central as well as on your website and blog.
“A reader reads to confirm a reality he knows is there, but which he has not experienced.” ~ Lawrence Durrell
6) Give It Away for Free – Create a signup list on your website/blog by offering a free excerpt of your work, a newsletter, an article, eBook, or video/audio product. The payoff will be a list of people who are interested in your book or product (readers = sales.) Integrate your e-mail marketing by using Aweber or Mail Chimp to handle your lists, newsletter, emails, and auto-responders.
“Like a small animal burrowing into its hole, I shift furniture around, and back myself into a cozy corner, with my back to the wall…and then I can write.” ~ Danielle Steel
7) Reel in the Reviews – Having a high number of reviews will attract new buyers because they are proof that your book is worth the reader’s investment of time and money. To get started, offer to swap reviews with other authors. Post your musings on Amazon, Goodreads and Red Room.
“Remember: A best-selling book usually follows a simple rule, It’s a wonderful story, wonderfully told; not, It’s a wonderfully told story.” ~ Nicholas Sparks
Watch for Building your Author Platform, Part Two, where we will discuss ways to put your best foot forward, make engaging offers and sustain your author platform over the long haul.
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Thanks for stopping by.
Roger Harris , www.IndieAuthorCounsel.com