In the modern publishing world, almost every author has to take ownership in promoting their work. A great place to start is to build yourself an author platform. In simplest terms, your author platform will showcase you as a writer, position you to be visible to readers, and help you promote your books.
The essential building blocks of an online platform include a website and activity on social media. A vigorous platform can also include blogs, newsletters, speaking engagements, and more. Everyone’s platform will be different, but it will serve the main purpose of making you visible to potential readers and fans, and establishing your author ‘brand.’ Here’s a great article to help you think more about your individual author brand and how it relates to your platform: Author Brand and Platform: A Lifeline You Can’t Ignore.
Here are some things to consider as you build your platform:
Use your author platform to interact with readers.
Find out who your largest reader demographic is likely to be, and begin interacting with them online. Remember, with most social media interactions, you are not trying to sell something. Rather, you are sharing interesting content, showcasing your personality, and supporting others. When you do have a cool, new book to share, your online friends and fans will be excited for you.
Consider a newsletter.
A regular newsletter is a great way to communicate with your readers. If you can get someone enthusiastic enough to give you their name and email address, you have a great way to reach them when you have a new book to promote. Try to have a regular rhythm around communicating via newsletter, and as with social media communications, use it sparingly for self-promotion. Instead, use it as another tool to build a relationship with your readers.
Set up a mechanism for book promotions.
Having a business page on Facebook will enable you to create ads for your novel on FB and Instagram. You can announce a promotion on Twitter. Your website will be able to host your book titles and links for purchase. As you build human interactions online, you’ll also be building infrastructure to help promote your future books.
Use your author platform to build your writing community.
As you interact on your favorite social media sites, you can consciously begin to build a group of like-minded friends. Writing is a solitary endeavor, and I’ve found tremendous support from the online writing community. I’ve also purposefully interacted with and joined groups that relate to my writing genre. I write science fiction, so I’m active with other sci-fi fans online.
With so many options, how do you choose your approach? My best piece of advice is – do what feels comfortable and what you can manage. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your author platform won’t be either. But, if you do a little bit every day, you’ll create a presence for yourself, online and in your community, that can later be leveraged when you have a book to promote. Over time, you can adjust your approach, modify your brand, and add to your platform.
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