Developing an Author Platform

Author Platform : The Indie Author’s Holy Grail Or A Complete Waste Of Time?

So you’ve written your book, spent months revising and editing, and created an eye-catching cover. Now you’re ready to hit that publish button. But wait, how are you going to attract people to your book and get them to buy it?

The answer: develop an author platform.

But what exactly is an author platform?

A platform, simply put, is your visibility as an author. This includes social media outlets, a website, email, networks, and any other unique path you take to put yourself out there.

Building a platform it not about being the loudest self-promoter on the planet. It’s an ongoing process that allows you to stand out among other authors. The best way to do this is to focus on your audience, not on yourself. Your platform is about readership and audience development. It’s about offering new and interesting content. It’s about telling your story, a story that separates you from other writers. A powerful author platform represents an emotional connection between writer and reader.

To become a successful indie author, you have to actively work on building your platform. It takes time, but it is invaluable.

A successful author platform consists of many elements, including but not limited to:

  • A website
  • Focused, quality content, such as a blog or podcasts
  • Social media
  • Associations with writing groups and other authors (your network)
  • Speaking engagements and author appearances
  • Your email list

This foundation is important in productive platform building. As an author, you have to open the funnel and try to capture as many potential readers as possible. Figure out what works for you and what is sustainable then flow with it.

Start with content.

Content refers to print books, ebooks, your website, online courses, live webinars, magazine articles, blog posts, digital downloads, podcasts, videos, and events. Quantity can help you. The more content you have, the more options you have available.

There are many ways to attract new fans. One way is to consider offers people can easily say “yes” to. These might include:

  • giveaways
  • discounts
  • free e-books
  • the first book in a series
  • free workshops
  • free downloadable guides

Freeloaders will never pay for anything, but superfans will pay everything. Everyone else is at some level in between. Offering giveaways and discounts will attract readers from all ends of the spectrum, and could potentially lead to book sales.

If you’re short on content, join forces with other authors, preferably in your genre, to create bundles and box sets or collaborative blog posts.

 

Image result for author platform

(Image from Authors-Platform.com)

While we’re on the topic of blog posts, as an author, you should have an author website. However, your website should not be separate from your blog. Your blog needs to be part of your website. Your website is a central hub of information and a place for you to guide your readers. Lure them in with your blog.

Your website should have a clear identity that not only evokes who you are as an author, but also showcases your work.

Your website should include the following:

  • a page dedicated to all of your books
  • individual book pages that feature the cover, a brief description of the book, and purchase links
  • a mailing list sign up form
  • links to social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Youtube, LinkedIn, etc…)
  • about me author page (bio)
  • current blog posts

As far as your blog is concerned, develop a regular posting schedule and stick to it. Talk about what you love. Repurpose things you’ve shared on social media. Feature other writers or books. Be sure to include images that relate to your content. Engage with your audience and gain their attention.

You’ll have much more successful launches if you have an engaged audience. One of the best ways to get people to want to buy your books is to offer them sample sections. An alternative to providing samples is to create short stories or poems that are exclusive to your blog. When you have a book about to come out, show your appreciation by offering your readers a discount or some other promotion.

Along the same lines, set up a newsletter email list. Your email list primarily builds through your website. Offer ebook giveaways where readers have to give their email address to get the free book. Newsletters are much more successful, however, if you offer content other than just book promotion. Post something interesting at least once per month.

People want to hear from you. One of the best ways to do this is through social media. Start an account on each major social media network even if you’re not active on it. Be consistent in how you describe yourself across these accounts.

Social media is about showing up, day in and day out, and sharing who you are to your audience. Share something in your life you do creatively. Offer a snippet for free and include images. Share blog posts on topics of interest. Interact with your followers and comment on their posts. If social media overwhelms you, choose one or two social networks to focus on, and enjoy them.

An author platform isn’t just about establishing an online presence so people buy your books. It’s about making connections. Even though some people may not interact with you or like your posts, they are still watching and will support you.

A successful author platform is the combination of small efforts that are sustainable and purposeful. Build your body of work. Establish a website and an email newsletter. Look for collaborative opportunities and partnerships. Create a network and make connections. Always think about how to get new people in and how to move them to be loyal fans.

Most importantly, be patient. Your platform won’t build overnight; it takes time.

 

Free Radio Promo!

Hi veryone!

I would like to let you know about a radio show that promotes authors for free. There are two shows, one for Texas Authors (DEAR Texas Radio) and one for authors around the world (Indie Beacon Radio). These are great ways to help spread the word about you and your books!

Plus, for a limited time, they are giving away opportunities for you to win a commercial spot on their radio show heard around the world. Here is the link to check out the contest and enter: https://txauthors.com/index.php/pages/radio-contest

I hope you enter so you can get signed up for a radio show or win a commercial spot. Don’t forget to mention me (L.M. Nelson) as the referral.

Good luck.

An Author’s Secret Weapon: Marketing Advice for Twitter

Here’s some more marketing information you might find helpful.

Nicholas C. Rossis

nnlightToday I have another guest post for you, by another one of my friends, N.N. Light. She is the author of the fantasy book “Princess of the Light.”

She’s not here to speak of her book though. Instead, she has some great tips to share about book marketing, and specifically how to best use Twitter to promote your book.

Aaaand, take it, dear Ms. Light!

Marketing Advice for Twitter

“What is the secret to marketing my book?”

I see this question a lot on Twitter and various blogs I subscribe to.  In this age of self-publishing, the world is filled with authors trying to sell their books.  Everyone wants to know the secret and to increase their sales.  I also am asked this question and as I am just starting out in this great big world of book marketing, I have to rely on my experience as a professional…

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Book Marketing 201

I’m not a marketing expert, but am proud to say that after countless hours learning about the subject, I am now the proud recipient of an Author’s Marketing Certificate.

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I’ve gained marketing advice from some of the best in the business. Through this training, I’ve learned that marketing involves three main things. 1. Creating your brand and promotion. 2. Getting people to want your product. 3. Getting people to buy it. Of all the marketing trainings and workshops I’ve attended, several things seem to be consistent in regards to book marketing, no matter who the trainer is.

  1. People say, “never judge a book by its cover,” but this statement is a lie. People do. Your book cover is the initial selling point for your book. It needs to be professionally designed and needs to attract attention.
  2. Your sales pitch. What is the one sentence that will make people interested in your book? Find it and perfect it.
  3. Book signings and readings. You must make public appearances. Let people see that you are “real.” Set up book signings or readings at bookstores, bazaars, and public libraries. Some venues are more open to this than others, so do some research and shop around. Find the best matches for you.
  4. Attend book festivals. What better way to meet potential readers than at a book festival? Readers go to these events looking for new authors. Make an appearance and get people interested in what you write.
  5. Hand out bookmarks. I’m not talking about excessive, pointless swag here. I’m talking about a useful item that has links to your social media sites or website so potential readers can get in touch with you. There is no point in handing out bookmarks if they don’t have your contact information or social media links printed on them.
  6. Speaking of social media, you must be active on social media. If you haven’t already, create social media accounts. You don’t have to have a profile on every available site, but in this digital age, you need to have a presence online. Personally, I get the most interaction from Twitter, but choosing the right social media platform(s) is a personal preference. If you aren’t comfortable with a particular platform, get trained by someone who knows how to use it.
  7. Videos. I admit, this is one aspect of marketing I need to work on, simply because being in front of a camera gives me anxiety. But research has found that people watch videos when they are online. To get the most from social media, create videos and post them on your profile. This creates interest and will get you more profile views.
  8. Become a member of local writing organizations. Not only do they offer support to you as a writer, you can also learn from experts about the craft of writing and gain information about local events, such as book signings, conferences, and critique groups. You might even make a few friends along the way.
  9. Donations.  Donate your time, money, and books to worthy causes. Offer book giveaways and donate to local libraries, bookstores, or other literacy programs.
  10. Think outside the box. I think this is the advice I’ve heard the most. There are billions of authors out there. If you want to sell books, you have to stand out in the endless sea of authors, blogs, books, and social media sites. What are you doing that is different than what every other author is doing? Don’t be afraid to be unique. The uniqueness is what draws people to you. And once you draw them in, you may create a potential reader.

“The people who think they are crazy enough to change the world are the ones who do.”

Author’s Marketing Continued

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This is the second year I’ve attended the Author’s Marketing Event. Last year, it was in Austin. This year, I made a weekend trip out of it and traveled to Houston. The information I received from these conferences are always insightful, and they help me realize that I’m not alone in the book marketing struggle.

By listening to marketing experts, I’ve discovered three things. One, some things regarding marketing I am very good at. Others, I desperately need to work on. Two, effective marketing requires time and effort. It isn’t something that happens idly. Three, marketing isn’t about selling your book. It’s about selling yourself, which for someone like me who is an introvert and uncomfortable with self-promotion, this is more of a challenge than people may realize.

Marketing is probably the hardest thing to do as an author. It entails much more than just selling your book. In fact, pushing your book at people isn’t marketing. It’s annoying. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing I find more irritating than logging onto Twitter or Facebook and having my feed filled with authors constantly shoving their book in my face and saying “buy my book.” I will be less likely to buy if I see that all the time. Marketing is not about your book at all, it’s about you, and the key to marketing is making connections.

To market effectively, you must be able to interact with people and get them to become interested in who you are. Only then will you generate interest in your book, which might get people interested in buying it.  But it all starts with your brand, which is what people say about you when you’re not in the room. Creating your brand involves many things, most of which require you to think outside the box.

  1. Your book cover(s) represent not only what your story is about, but defines you as an author. You know the old saying, “never judge a book by it’s cover.” But people do. Make the visual aspect something that will attract people’s attention. That’s where your brand begins.
  2. Your author bio should be about YOU, not about your degrees. Everything listed in your profile should be about who you are, including your profile picture. And your profile picture should be consistent across platforms. Share information and put up links so people can find you. Let people know who you are. At no time should you have to justify yourself.
  3. Book signings and readings allow potential readers to get to know you personally and make one-on-one connections with you. Reach out to people and let them know where you’re going to be. Make an appearance at events and personalize your encounters. Take a photograph with anyone who buys your book and post it on social media. This will help make connections and establish relationships.
  4. Attend book festivals and and art fairs and represent yourself well at these events. Create an eye-catching display with layers and interesting items. Make sure the covers of your books are facing outward. Add height and depth to your booth, and dress the part. Get up and talk to people. If you spend the entire event staring at your phone, people will bypass your booth. Mingle, interact. Talk to other authors. We all need to connect with likeminded people, and these events are GREAT for networking.
  5. Bookmarks and other swag you hand out can say a lot about you. Are you the one handing out candy like every other author does, or are you offering something different? I hand out syringe pens with my website on them. Pens are useful and people will use them. Postcards have little value and usually end up in the trash. Bookmarks have value, as they are useful for people, but if you hand out bookmarks make sure your contact/social media information is on printed on them so people know how and where to connect with you.
  6. Social media platforms are designed for communication and engagement, not for constant links to your Amazon author page. Share with people. Post interesting information. Comment on other’s posts and retweet things that are important to your followers (look at their pinned tweets). Relationships are important. Use social media for making friends. Contribute to conversations and give to others. Join groups and use hashtags. There are a ton of valuable hashtags for writers. I could spend an entire blog post just on this topic. The point is, let people know you are human. Get yourself out there and give back to people. It helps build your platform and gets your name out there. Marketing experts recommended that you NOT automate your social media platforms. If you do, you become too impersonal and people see you as a robot, not someone they can relate to. Be reachable. Making people verify themselves in order to follow you makes you unreachable to potential readers. Most won’t bother to go through the process. I know I don’t.
  7. Videos and photos. Practice your sales pitch until you perfect it, then record it on your phone or tablet and put it on your website or social media page(s). Create book trailers, or simply post videos of you living your life–trips to the beach, videos of events you attend, or pictures of your dog. Look for news shows or radio shows that promote authors. Make your site and social media pages visual.
  8. Get involved in writing organizations, local or otherwise. These groups are valuable in many ways. They can help you improve your writing, connect you with other writers, and members of these groups promote and support each other. Check your local Writer’s Guild, local chapter of RWA, or any other local writing groups. There are also writing groups on Facebook (although some are better than others) and Twitter that you can contribute to. This allows you to connect with other writers. Don’t be afraid to reach out.
  9. Donations. Work on public relations by donating your books and your time to worthy causes. Offer to guest blog, offer giveaways, speak during school Career Days or other events. I donate books to US troops in remote areas and give to local libraries. I also have a Pinterest page for indie authors, where I offer free promotion. I also retweet other authors on Twitter. It benefits people and exposes readers to authors they might not have otherwise heard of. Offer freebies, donate books, and do things for free, simply because you enjoy doing them.
  10. Writing books sells books.  Don’t neglect writing. The more books you have to sell, the more you will sell. Create variety so potential readers have choices. Afterall, if you don’t have books, you wouldn’t be marketing in the first place.

In short, don’t follow the same pattern everyone else does. Go against what is socially conditioned. Write YOUR book YOUR way, and be who you are are. Your brand = YOU, and that’s what people are “buying.”

Author’s Marketing

After a long drive dodging through Friday evening traffic, I made it to Houston for the Author’s Marketing Conference. I spent my day learning about various ways to market my books and myself as an author, including setting up mailing lists, gaining e-mail followers, perfecting Soundbites, and how to effectively use Twitter.

Through these seminars, I will become certified in Author Marketing.

To top off the event, this evening, all of the 2017 Award Winning authors, myself included, will be recognized during dinner.

The event continues tomorrow morning with more marketing seminars before I head home. I’ll later post what I learned from this conference, in hopes that the wealth of knowledge I gain might help some of my fellow writers.

To be continued…

FREE Promotion is Right Under Your Nose

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

READERS will also find this interesting (and they can *see below how they may help), but …

This post is mainly for all you angst-ridden authors out there who moan and groan about how little promotion and publicity you receive for the books you publish. Yes, it’s true, there are definitely fewer outlets reviewing books or interviewing authors. So what are we supposed to do to get the word out and attract new readers to our work?

I have a cunning plan!

When I ePublished my first novel, I received “some” attention (i.e. Not a lot …) for my efforts, but I carried on regardless and continued to promote other authors, as well as my own books, through my business Alberta Books Canada. Then I moved back to the Caribbean and become much more involved in the online writing community, especially with regards to indie authors around the world who…

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179 Hashtags writer needs to know

This is helpful information.

Ashli Avalon

Every writer needs to be on social media, but most don’t know which hashtags to use. I have compiled a list of 179 hashtags to help you grow your audience and increase your reach.

Hashtag rule of thumb on social media:
Facebook: Most people don’t use them or search for them.
Twitter: 2-3 per post
Instagram: 11-30 in the first comment
Pinterest: 2-3 per post

#140Poem
#1K1H (write one thousand words in one hour)
#99c (to offer or pick up an eBook bargain)
#99cents
#ABMlifeiscolorful
#Amazon
#AmazonKindle
#Amazonlikes
#AmazonPrime
#amblogging
#AmEditing
#amreading
#AmRevising
#amwriting
#ArchiveDay
#AskAgent
#AskAuthor
#AskEditor
#authorlife
#AuthorRT
#bestread
#bibliophile
#blogger
#bookaddict
#BookBuzzr
#bookclub
#BookGiveaway
#bookhaul
#bookish
#booklove
#BookMarket
#BookMarketing
#booknerd
#bookoftheday
#bookporn
#bookreview
#Books
#booksofinstagram
#bookstagram
#booktastic
#bookwhore
#BookWorm
#bookworm
#boolnerdigans
#borrow
#calledtobecreative
#Comedy
#CopyWriting
#creativeentrepreneur
#creativepreneur
#creativityfound
#Crime
#DarkFantasy
#Dystopian
#eBook
#EditGoal
#Editing
#ePubChat
#eReaders
#Erotica
#FaithLitChat
#fiction
#FollowFriday
#FreebieFriday
#FreeReads
#FWRT (Freelance Writer Retweet)
#GetPublished

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