A little while ago, I put up a post titled ‘I’d like to blog for you’. The concept was simple – I’d write a blog post for your blog, based on a subject or topic of your choosing, and vice versa.
The first person to take me up on this was Brian over at The New Author. I suggested that he write up a little something about the Author Platform, a new concept running around these days. Here’s his guest post.
The Author Platform
By Brian Knight
Congratulations; your book is done. As you sit back and enjoy the euphoria of finishing your very first novel a cruel specter creeps into your mind. How are you going to get noticed?
Wait a minute; I need to get an agent or a publisher first. They will take care of all that business. My work is done; all I need to do is sit back and wait for the royalty checks to come in.
Hang on partner. You’re not even close to done. The easy part is writing the story. Yep, I said it, writing the story is the easy part. Part of the puzzle when looking for an agent or publisher is your ability to identify an audience or platform for your book. They want to know that people are eager and ready to purchase your book right now; as soon as it rolls off the press.
Well, that sounds great, how do I develop an audience or platform? I’m glad you asked. First you need to understand that there are no magical bullets when it comes to getting readers to buy your book. What you can do is target the audience who will enjoy your book the most and focus on them. For example, if you are writing a mystery/thriller novel then you don’t want to introduce yourself or your book to a book group discussing romance novels. You can but it will not produce much in the way of results. If you wrote a Science Fiction novel then look for groups, functions, networks and individuals who enjoy and discuss Science Fiction novels.
Okay, we’ve identified our audience but that is a little different from an author’s platform. Building a platform is the method in which we gain name recognition. How do we do that? In the age of blogging and social networking, building a platform has gained a global reach. We need to remember though that a platform can start right in our own neighborhood. What I’m getting at is this – start a blog, get on Twitter and other social networks but also get involved in book clubs, libraries and functions in your neighborhood. This grass roots effort will pay off in the end.
This begs the question when do I start developing my platform? Unlike targeting your audience, which you do while you are writing or shortly after completion, we should begin building our platform as soon as we decide we want to be an author. It is never too early to start networking and making connections. The bigger your platform is the better.
You now have your book ready but you’ve also started a blog and jumped on Twitter. Hang on for a second here, you don’t have to start a blog or get on Twitter; look around and find networks you are comfortable with and start there. Alright, back to our regularly scheduled post; once you’re on these sites and you’re making the rounds in your neighborhood there are a few important things to remember.
- We are making connections not selling a soon to be published book or a newly published book. If people feel as if all you are doing is pushing your book on them then they will turn away and reject you. I know, you’ve seen/heard it before and I’m sure it got on your nerves but it’s amazing how easy it is to fall into this practice.
- Be honest. Honesty and sincerity go a long way. Don’t be anything you’re not; just be yourself and everything will work out for the better.
- Get to know those you are connecting with. You never know what you’ll learn from these connections.
- This is the most important one; have fun. Connecting with people and meeting new people is an enjoyable experience. Have fun; let your personality show through in your blog, tweets and social events.
So what we are looking at when building an author platform is making connections in our neighborhood and on the Internet. Reach out to everyone but as soon as you identify your audience make a focused effort to reach out to them too. Don’t sell your book to them; get to know them and allow them to get to know you as an author and regular person. Be honest at all times. Finally, make sure you have fun. If you’re having fun you’ll want to continue building your platform long after your first book is published.
Promoting your name and book(s) starts with the author’s platform. Building this platform is not a sprint; it’s a marathon that will last as long as your passion for writing does. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and build that platform.
About Brian Knight:
Brian Knight is the creator of ‘The New Author;’ a blog for new writers trying to understand the world of publishing. He is also co-owner of Premium Promotional Services which is geared to provide massive exposure for authors and their books.
Brian has dreams of becoming a published author. His first novel is currently being reviewed by a publisher while his second is in the works. Aside from fiction, Brian is a published poet; having poems in both books and magazine.
You can find him on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/thenewauthor