We hear so much in author circles today about how you need to have a platform to capture the eye of a publisher, editor, or agent. What the heck is a platform? What make up the parts of an author’s platform?
- Know your expertise, your niche, and your audience. Then create a “brand”identity around it. Keep in mind your brand is not a symbol or logo; it is what you deliver!
- Create a website with blogging elements that promote who you are and what you write and then optimize the heck out of it. Search engine optimization (SEO) is not some woo-woo science project that only techie-geeks can master. The internet runs on words and authors KNOW about words. Learn about SEO and what you can do to make it a part of each element in your author platform (another blog or 7 or 8 to follow on this subject soon!). To drive traffic to your site you have to think like the reader…just like you do with plot development!
- Make your blog visible. Work really hard and really smart at promoting your blog and creating interesting audience centered content. Content is king! Keep readers coming back for more and wanting to share your site and your content with others.
- Create a Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page. Facebook for advertising and promotional purposes, Twitter for getting the word out and making connections, and LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in the writing industry, in your niche, and to join the largest social web presence in the world.
- Learn how to target online and offline media. Write press releases, hit the online radio stations, podcasters, blogs, etc and do interviews, ask for book reviews, and plan monthly virtual book tours for the first year of publication at the very least!
- Speak publicly. Teach, talk, present, emcee events, get out there and get involved in places where your market gathers! Do public readings and teach paid and free workshops.
- Write articles or short stories about material related to your niche, about your passions, and publish them with boilerplate that sends readers back to your blog, your website, and to ultimately buy your books over and over.
- Get busy learning how to work Amazon. Ask for reviews on Amazon, get people talking and buying your book.
Building an author platform is all about getting out there and getting noticed. You can’t be a wallflower in the publishing industry. You have to grow a spine and learn some shameless self promotion techniques.