Whether you pursue traditional or indie publishing, in this day and age you’ll find that the majority of the marketing work for an author’s book lies on their shoulders. As a result, now more than ever it is vital for authors to set up and establish an author platform and brand—as early as possible. If the thought of building an author platform and brand seems overwhelming, don’t worry! There are simple steps that any author can take to get started.
Just What is an Author Platform?
Often people have a tendency to think that platform is only relevant for non-fiction writers, experts in their subject matter. The truth is that platform is for all writers. Platform is about an author employing their unique voice or perspective to reach as many readers as possible and make more sales as a result. Whatever tools the author uses in order to reach that audience—whether it’s a website, a blog, social media, newsletters, podcast, etc.—that is the author’s platform.
Whether the tools an author uses to reach readers are online or not, to be successful it’s necessary to use as many opportunities possible to raise awareness and reach more readers. An author platform will help readers not only discover their books, but also can be used to engage readers in their brand (and make fans who will read their next books), as well as connect with other people who have the power to help an author sell books, such as media personalities and social media influencers. When establishing an author platform, there are some important steps to consider:
Find Your Target Audience
An author should be very aware of the market they are targeting, both in terms of demographics (age, gender, etc.) and also where their audience may be most likely to discover them. A romance writer’s audience is not going to find books in the same manner as a middle grade writer’s audience.
What is an Author Brand?
An author’s brand is much more than logo and genre: it’s the unique image an author presents of themselves to their audience. The savvy writer will aim to present themselves in a way that will attract their target audience. The more the audience can connect with the author on a personal level, the more chance they will feel compelled to read that author’s books. Here’s more on how to build an authentic, effective author brand: Building Your Author Brand.
Use Your Web Presence to Build an Author Platform
The best way that an author can begin to establish a platform is by creating and maintaining a web presence. A website is minimum, but social media is also useful to help reach out to and connect with an audience. A website also adds professional credibility, especially if it is done well. In addition, a website can be an excellent place to create a blog. Blogging on a regular basis can help not only improve an author’s writing, but it can also do wonders for building that personal connection that is so vital to branding. Here’s more on using social media effectively as an author: How to Connect With Readers on Social Media Without Losing Your Mind.
What About Email and Newsletters?
As a result of a website, an author can start to build an email list in order to reach out to people who are interested in their writing. Email can be used to make announcements about a book’s pre-order information or publication. It can also be used to reach readers on a regular basis through a newsletter, where an author can keep their readers up to date on their writing news and works-in-progress.
There are many more tools an author can use to connect with their audience, but the important thing is that they make an effort to do so. After all, the more avenues an author makes for their books to be found, the better chance they have for their books to be read.