In this series, we’ve discussed the first step you need to take in marketing your writing. Then we talked about the fact that you need to start marketing now and one way to do that is start a blog. This week we’re talking about the ever-elusive author platform, and I’m going to give you five real easy, inexpensive, and effective marketing tips.
What the heck is an author platform? Jane Friedman, former editor of Writer’s Digest, web editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, and digital publishing expert, defines it as an author with visibility and authority who has a proven reach to a target audience. You can read more about it here. I think an author platform is a pre-packaged set of readers and customers. This is what most agents and publishers want. They want PROOF that your writing is gonna sell and what better proof can you give them than your own entourage of adoring fans?
Okay, you may be wondering how you build an author platform. I was wondering that same thing. So, I started to build my own. One thing I’ve learned is it’s all about connecting with your readers. First, you have to find them, then you have to interact with them, and finally give them what they want.
Let’s break this down a bit. Here’s where I’m gonna give you 5 tips that you can use to market your writing AND build your platform. They kind of go hand in hand.
1. Get Clear
One of the first things you’ve got to know is yourself. What do you write? Do you write romance? Do you write about holistic nutrition? Do you write about history? Once you know that, then you can find the people who live and die for reading exactly what you write.
2. Do Research
There are a billion websites, blogs, communities, and hang-outs online. Where do people who like romance novels hang out? What about folks who adore mysteries? Google and Bing are your friend. Search and search until you find where your readers go. Here are a few to get you started:
Once you find where your readers are, sign up for an account on whatever site you’ve found them. Connect with them, respond to questions, share information, and get to know them. They’ll love you if you are authentic, open, and honest.
The more you give, the more you get in return. Share information about your characters, reveal your book cover, talk about your writing process. If you are writing about non-fiction, then give readers tidbits from your work. Can you help someone? If you solve someone’s problem they’ll want to learn more about you.
5. Start an Email List or Newsletter
One of the BEST ways to keep in touch with readers is through a newsletter. If you have engaged with them and helped them, they’ll be ready to sign up. When you are ready to launch your book, you’ll have a group of readers or “customers” eagerly waiting for it. It’s SUPER easy to get started and sometimes won’t even cost you a thing. Here are a couple of tools to check out:
I’ve also found a bonus resource for you! Check out Your Writer Platform. I just recently discovered this site. It’s packed with lots of great information on building your platform. In fact, I use some of these techniques myself and guess what? THEY WORK!
In my next post, I’m going to talk about the single, best thing I’ve ever done to get my writing out into the world and how you can do it too. It’s all about giving. Check back next week for more!
Are these marketing posts helpful? I want to hear from you! What are your biggest marketing challenges?