Before we go into depth on this subject, I wanted to say I will be adding more and more details as I go.
Now for the good stuff.
Every author needs a platform. What that means is you need to brand yourself. If you are using a pen name, then everything you are about to do needs to be in that pen name. But, you will also want to do a little research on that before you select a name. We will touch down on that in a few minutes. Right now, I want to focus on the rest. If you are using your real name, you should start with social media marketing. I know I have a page for that but it will also go into more details about using your book title instead of just your name. This page is just for the Author.
So let’s get started on it.
Now when I first published my book, I had no author’s platform. I had no audience already in place. That was a big no-no. But, I also have the problem of putting the cart before the horse so to speak. Just like I did with this website. Now what that means is my platform began to grow before I even had this website finished. So see, we are both still learning. I should have focused on the website first than when I had all pages set up, build my platform. But for a book, you will want to do that.
Hey, I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes. That’s how we learn.
So first of all, if you are building your platform and plan on having a website, have the website done. Get it to the point that the only thing you have to do is blog. And when you blog make sure you do it at least twice a week.
One of the first things I did to start building my author’s platform is Twitter. You would be amazed at how quickly you will gain followers. But you can’t just follow people and expect them to do the same. Twitter is a give and take thing. Retweet. Interact with other authors. Then begin adding people that love to read. Interact with them daily. Set up a schedule. Make sure Twitter is a part of that.
If you don’t have a website and just want to blog, there is Tumblr. It will let you blog and reach out to others as well. Myself, I am using this website for information, and using Tumblr as well. But, I have another website just for my books. (I chose to do this to keep things separate) Tumblr can be great for writing tips or short stories that will get people to notice you.
I know you are thinking, I am already working on novels, now you want me to write a short story on a freaking blog system? Yes, I do. The reason why is because it will give people a taste of your style. They will begin following you.
Believe it or not, I actually got this advice from a young girl that built a Tumblr blog about art. She gave me advice on how to use it to my advantage and I gave her advice on the online art world. But in her first week, she ended up with over 400 followers.
But here is one of the best things about Tumblr, you can write your short stories, post a link to your library on your website as a signature line, then turn around and tweet about it.
If you have worked to gain followers on Twitter, when you hit the tweet button, you will begin to see amazing things happen. Not only is it linked to Tumblr but it’s linked to your website library. TaDa, more sales.
But I wanted you to know that building a platform shouldn’t be just about sales. It should be more about reaching out to your fan base. Updating them daily, interacting with them so they know you as a human as well as an author. I mean if you followed someone on Twitter that did nothing but blow up your home page with sales pitches, would you keep them there? I wouldn’t. Be human. Author’s aren’t robots so don’t act like one.
I do have a Facebook. But I have not used it much. Now if you like Facebook, one of the best things to do is create your Facebook, then create a page. This way you have a place for friends you make and a place for fans to go. The page you create should be used for updates about books, giveaways, book covers, in other words, you can use it the same way you use Twitter, only you have the option to add more content. You can add your website to this but, I found unless you have a forum on your website, people only use it to find information mainly. They go to Twitter or Facebook for updates and interaction. (If you feel that is wrong, please feel free to comment). Now the reason I say this is because I had once found an author I loved. Her writing was a style I like (except for the cursing). Her storyline pulled me in quickly. But the only reason I ever went to her website was because she had a forum there. In that forum we would write fanfics and find out about contest solely for those on the website. And of course, the freebie content that was in her emails and found only on the website.
But you have to be careful about fanfics on your website. It will take up the bandwidth, and well, you can’t exactly read it. If you do and use an idea someone wrote, that could come back to bite you.
As you grow your audience, you will also find people that you can trust. These people can help with the website. You do this by adding them as moderators. You would be surprised by how many websites need them. But that is usually only if they have a forum. Updates are something you yourself can do weekly or biweekly.
Now as for the pen name, see I remembered lol. If you decide to use a pen name, then when you create all these things, you want to use that pen name. The reason why is because it would be hard for someone to find you on Twitter or any other social site if you use your real name. You can have two, one for fans and one for friends. Just remember it can be hard at times to be two different people. That was why I chose to go this route. Using my name.
But when using a pen name, you will want to research and make sure it isn’t one someone already has. You can do this two ways; go to amazon and search the name and then do another search on google. It’s hard to find a pen name someone doesn’t have as either a real name or a pen for them. A lot of authors choose to use initials. That can work just as well, but as I said research!
If you play your cards right, you can have a good handle on your platform, so that by the time you get ready to publish that first novel, you have people willing to read it. You have made all kinds of friends and fans that when you do finally post something along the lines of “My novel: I Sang the Wrong Song (made up by the way) will be coming out in two days.” You have so many people retweeting you and pre-ordering that it isn’t funny. They won’t be hounded by you to just go here and do this or order this. They will be willing to give you a chance. And if you do a contest of, let’s say 10 people getting a copy before anyone else, it will create the stir you need to have an awesome debut.
What do you think? Did you build a platform before hand? If so was it easier or harder to make sales? If you didn’t, how did you go about making sales?