An author platform is a means of bringing your book, work, and brand to the attention of potential book buyers.
Building an author platform means figuring out how what you have to say fits in with the needs of book buyers—and figuring out how to get the word out to those book buyers via a platform. To start building an author platform, follow these 7 steps and begin to create a following for your book now, regardless of where you are in the process of writing it.
Step 1: Begin speaking and writing about your story and the topic of your book if you haven’t already. If you’re writing a memoir to inspire other women to take control of their finances after a financial crisis, get your thoughts together and try them out on a Facebook page or a blog attached to a simple website. If you want to write a memoir based on your experiences, start writing—and start talking about your experience with others online and in person. Discover where people interested in what you want to say congregate in the real world and in the virtual world.
Step 2: Analyze the market. You’re not the only person out there with something to say on a topic similar to yours. What are others with messages and stories like yours doing to get the word out? What social media do they use? How do they connect with their followers?
Step 3: Put down the megaphone for a minute. Communication is a two-way street. Yes, you have something to say, but you also need to listen to your followers and potential book buyers. How are you going to connect with them in such a way that you aren’t just talking AT them but WITH them? How can you use social media or a blog to hear from them? How can you do a workshop with them to hear their questions for you? What do THEY need from you, your work, and your book?
Step 4: Brand yourself, your story, and your work. If you do public speaking on a topic, or have a professional reputation that’s integral to the book you wish to write, you already have a brand, although it may need some tweaking. A brand is an identity or image. What is your public image? How do you get it across on your Facebook page, YouTube Channel, or website and blog that you showcase you to people outside of family and friends? If you have no brand and no public image that strangers who would be interested in your work and your book can access online, you need to get one—now.
Step 5: Find or tweak your tagline, hook, or title. If you write on parenting, what type of parent are you? What is your message to other parents? How can you sum it up in a few words that will resonate emotionally for other parents who would be interested in your work and your book? If you have a hook already, is it working for you? Did you outgrow it? Is it hard for people to remember? Too much like someone else’s trademark? Play with it! Get a great tagline, hook, or title.
Step 6: Develop an online presence. It’s not enough to be out and about in the real world talking about your story and your ideas. You must have an online presence that includes social media accounts. Social media not only allows you to express yourself but also allows you to get feedback and questions from others. Your fans can easily share your posts and videos with others and do publicity work for you. Don’t delay creating an online presence just because you’re not sure how to go about it. You can get started with a website and blog and begin blogging. Go to WordPress.com and begin WordPress blog. Or, start with a public Facebook page for your work or idea, and ask friends and family to follow it and to share your posts. YouTube is now the #2 search engine on the web (behind Google), so create some videos and a YouTube Channel. Do a browser search for tips on how to blog, how to make a video blog, how to upload a video to YouTube, and how to use Facebook. Ask a friend to help you. Take a webinar or teleseminar. Buy a book on social media. Or hire me to help you strategize your social media and online presence. I’ll get you started!
Step 7: Notice what other, similar authors are doing. Check out some of the social media pages, websites, and blogs you follow for ideas. And take a look at these examples of hooks and brands some of my clients have created, and created an online presence for:
Love & Grit Victoria Treadwell’s website will tell you all about her marvelous 30,000-word memoir of helping her husband triumph over brain cancer.
Mama Can’t Kiss It Better: An Idealized Motherhood Lost by Lori Gertz is a Facebook page for Lori’s followers. Her blog, where she writes pieces about her experience having to un-adopt the daughter she dearly loves, can be found at www.lorigertz.com Her memoir is currently being written and started with her blog.
Intuitive counselor Tara Taylor, whose tagline is Be the Master of Your Life, has a website at http://www.tarataylor.ca and public Facebook page for Tara Taylor Intuitive Tara’s personal life, which led to the coaching and counseling work she does, was fictionalized into a paranormal YA series beginning with the book Through Indigo’s Eyes The book was written with Lorna Nicholson who, you guessed it, has online presence for her brand, too: www.lornaschultznicholson.com and on Facebook for Lorna Schultz Nicholson, Author.
Kathi Casey, The Healthy Boomer Body Expert has a website at www.kathicasey.com Her Facebook page is Kathy Casey, Your Healthy Boomer Body Expert. and she has a YouTube channel featuring videos demonstrating her work. Her book is Stop Back Pain! and its website is www.kissbackpaingoodbye.com
Debbie Magids, psychologist, uses The Total Health Prescription as her tagline and her name as her website, www.drdebbie.com Her Facebook page is Dr. Debbie Magids Her book, available in bookstores, in online bookstores, and through her site, is All the Good Ones AREN’T Taken.
Elena Mannes, Mannes Productions, wrote the book The Music Instinct, available in bookstores, online, and through her website: She has a website for her work as a documentarian at www.mannesproductions.com
Carl Greer, author of Change Your Story, Change Your Life, forthcoming from Findhorn Press in March 2014, has a website at www.carlgreer.com and a Facebook page for Carl Greer, Author Carl Greer began his website, blog, and Facebook page after writing his book and before creating and sending out a book proposal
I began creating my website, www.nancypeske.com, and this blog (which was originally separate from the website and merged from it last year), in 2009 in order to help people learn about my work and get guidance on how to write a book, get it published, and market it. I have a Facebook page for my work as a ghostwriter and developmental editor, called Nancy Peske, Literary Editor. And as you can see, I don’t just talk at people–I also love to hear what they have to say, and solicit feedback to help me become better at serving their needs and doing what I do.
Your platform won’t build itself, and you don’t have to wait to get your book written to start creating it. Take action now to build your platform! And follow this blog, as well as my Facebook page, for more helpful tips on building a platform, writing a book, and getting your book published.
Any other questions on platform building? Feel free to ask a question here in the comments!