Your Platform is the Book That Holds Your Story
This week on The Writing Biz, my guest Don Stevens of Merge Publishing, shared with us some great ideas that can help you build your author platform.
Your author platform is where you build your website, your bio, your social media accounts and more. To build a platform that works for you as an author, you need to keep it consistent and create an audience that will follow, share, retweet and buy your book.
The Elements of an Author’s Platform
Bio– This is what will describe you. It should include a clear, concise description of who you are, what you have done and a great picture of yourself. This something that you will want to keep consistent across all media. 10 Tips on How to Write an Author Bio by Heather Hummel
Website–– This is a critical element of your platform. Your website is the home of your writing business and where people go to learn who you are, to communicate with you and to buy from you. WordPress is a very effective website/blogging platform. Make sure that you build your site on wordpress.org and buy your own domain name. Book Marketing Tools offers some great advice on what should be included in your website. For more information on branding yourself, check out last week’s episode: Taking The Heat Out Of Branding With Carolyn Capern
Media Kit–– This is what you want the media to know about you and your book. It should include your bio, contact information, a great picture of you, sample chapters, sample interview questions, press release, social media stats and more. Here is a sample of a media kit that Merge Publishing created for Marci Diehl Read Why some authors almost always get press coverage for their books by Alexander Hemus
Social Media Accounts–– Pick two or three social media accounts that you feel will work for you. If you plan on using existing sites, you may want to clean them up.Here’s a great video by Molly Wood that explains how you can clean your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Once you decide on our accounts set up Hootsuite or Buffer to help you manage your accounts and make posting easier.
YouTube Channel–-Yes, you should have one. Put your fears aside and create video content that can help you get your book recognized. Great video by Randy Kirk and guests How to Use YouTube to promote your Book Don’t forget YouTube is the 2nd most used search engine, after Google itself.
Email List–– This is where your gold is hidden. Your email list is THE most effective means of communication that you have available to you. Don suggested using MailPoet to start building your list. Here is an article on Building a Killer Email List by David Gaughran
Your Marketing Plan–– Your marketing plan is your roadmap to building a platform that is solid and efficient. Take time to create a marketing plan that brings all of the elements of your platform together. Read Peg Fitzpatrick’s article How To Create a Fantastic Media Plan for Writers. One of the best books that I have found for writers on creating your marketing and business plan is by Nina Amir. The Author Training Manual: Develop Marketable Ideas, Craft Books That Sell, Become the Author Publishers Want, and Self-Publish Effectively
As Don Stevens says
“If you are an author connect to your readers.” By this he means, use the social media channels that are best suited to find your readers and engage with them and also provide the content that they will find interesting. Step back and think about where you can find your readership. Take advantage of public lists in Twitter that contain your readership, the same with Google+ Communities. Join forums that fit your niche. And don’t forget about offline resources! Local media, book clubs, bookstores and others.
Yes, You Should Blog!
You don’t have to blog every day. You can blog once or twice a week if you balance your blogging with other content. Take some time to make a list of all the things you could blog about. You readers want to get to know you and be a part of your book, give them what they want!
Don’t Forget SEO!!!!
Making sure that you can be found on the noisy internet can be challenging. Use all the tools that are available to you to help with this. Use proper keywords in the copy on your website as well as in your blog posts. Use the free Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools. When you create a WordPress page or write a blog post use the WordPress SEO by Yoast. It is an easy way to make sure that you have optimized the post for search engines.
Here is some information that will help:
Building your platform takes time, planning and patience. Use the tools that are available to you and work at it EVERY day! Share with your audience your thoughts, ideas, other articles and blog posts that fit into your niche and start conversations. Ask for opinions, answer questions and build a relationship. Pay close attention to what others are doing. What are your favorite website designs? What are others blogging about? How are other authors getting their message out? Once you see how others are getting the results that you want to take that information and apply it to your business.
Don Stevens is an author and founder of Merge Publishing. His background includes PR, marketing, sales, and wine. He invites writers to submit their own work and hopes to merge more authors, editors, designers, and readers. His marketing company, Finger Lakes Copywriting helps small businesses and authors build their brand. Check out Don’s book, A Taste for Death, available this summer by Merge.