Are you a writer? Are you an author? Regardless which one you are, you need a platform and book marketing plan today!
The term ‘author platform’ is gaining more notoriety in publishing today and it’s a term used to describe your awareness building and promotional efforts being made to create exposure for yourself and your work. That’s essentially the overall gist.
Your promotional platform acts essentially like a web. Create a web wide and strong enough and you’ll be more successful capturing readers, building relationships and exposure for yourself.
I believe it’s paramount that writers understand that it’s not just for those who are published either self or traditional that need one, but that it’s a critical part of building your own awareness as an emerging, to-be author. If your an author your platform forms the basis of reaching potential readers and selling books. If you haven’t yet published a book, you need to begin building your platform so you can network and form relationships, build confidence and then use it as a launching ground when your book is ready.
For those that are still seeking a traditional publishing deal, you need a visible platform and good book marketing plan as evidence that there is demand and your books will sell. As the publishing economy is rapidly changing, publishers marketing budgets have constricted even further making less room for new authors. Today more than ever before agents and publishers are seriously looking to those who have an established platform or brand and those already selling books and this acts as a huge filter for them when making decisions.
I’ve heard first hand from an editor at international publisher, Hay House, who said that emerging authors really do need to show a strong presence and that they are willing to put in the time and effort into marketing. You’ll find agent and active blogger Rachelle Gardner has also publicly supported this through her blog.
So now that you understand it’s vital you work on building your writer or b, let’s cover what your promotional platform can consist of.
Getting the most from your writer or author platform
Most of you probably already know that your author websites are considered the hub of your promotional platform and everything outside of this such as, social media, forums and events work at drawing viewers and readers deeper into your web, with the purpose of landing at your website or directly buying your book.
Take a look at this image I’ve created for you below. This is sometimes referred to as a ‘mind map’ and is rather symbolic of a web. You’ll see that the website/blog is your hub with all your additional platform tools such as Facebook and Twitter on the outside linking in.
A visual of a strong writer or author platform
(Click to enlarge)
Your website/blog acts as the hub, where all your content and information resides. Make sure you have a professional looking site that oozes a strong professional tone, looks smart, has well written content and is well laid out. This is not a single page, free hosted blog that has no image of you which screams ‘ I’m just a hobbyist, don’t take me seriously’. This is where the first impression is made about what level playing field your on.
You’ll have your social networking such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others. Now depending on your specific audience and book, you may find that only a select two or three really work for you. Don’t feel you have to be on every single one. Find out which ones your audience uses most and then make sure your there too!
This is where your directly interacting with others through topic related forums and blog commenting. These additions to your writer or author platform are valuable yet often misunderstood or simply unknown to writers and authors. These two particular ways of interacting bring about finding new readers, contacts, market research, increased website/blog pagerank juice (let google know more about your website) and allows others to click your name and find out more about you from your website.
These are made up from such groups as Goodreads, Shelfari and JacketFlap to name a few. Here you can share what your reading with others, have others discover your books, run giveaways, give and receive book reviews and more. Have a look at these, see which ones you might enjoy and benefit from and start off with one or two.
Even in today’s ever increasing technological world, real world events can play a huge part in your platform and promotions. From book signings, writing groups, book clubs, expos, school visits and workshops all offer more awareness building to those who don’t spend time online. These events offer you the opportunity to get real feedback and direct people back to your online site for more content, information and find where to buy your book.
Media and PR
These have varying results from ‘Ok’ to ‘amazing’. What you focus on from Press releases, radio, newspapers or blog guest posts will really depend on your goal, who your audience is and how you’ll best reach them. When seeking traditional offline media coverage you’ll need to find a hook that is going to be attractive to reporters by offering a controversial angle or offer a great benefit to the readership of that particular media outlet. To get the most success, find a professional who can assist you.
At this point, you’ll now have an understanding of what this ‘platform’ thing means that people keep talking about and it’s importance for your success. If you have a platform up and running, then I hope there were some ideas here you perhaps haven’t yet considered that might be worth trying. For those who are just starting out, this should give you a better idea of how your promotional platform works how to flesh out your book marketing plan. Start with building a great website/blog and grow from there.
Here’s to creating a killer book marketing plan!