Platform Building for Authors: What Is It and Why Is It So Important?
Hello dear readers! It is Wednesday, which means I am back on my YouTube channel, talking books. This time, I tackle platform building—what is it? Why is it so important? How do you build a platform as an author?
In essence, platform building is building the platform that you will stand upon to sell your book. What is this platform made of? It's made of your social media presence, your author website, blogs that you write, articles you publish, media and public appearances you make. It is your unique personality and authority as a writer. It's how readers, agents, and book buyers understand who you are, and why they should listen to you.
You may remember that when I wrote about the "7 Steps You Can’t Afford to Skip When Publishing a Book" for Gotham Ghostwriters, I included this:
"If a book lands on Amazon but no one is there to see it, does it make a sale? No, no it does not.... You want to have a platform and following before your book comes out if you self-publish, and before you submit [to agents] if you plan to traditionally publish. Use your website and social pages to drum up excitement about your work. Give previews (but don’t spoil anything!). There are many examples of authors who do this very well. Start with Twitter—which writers do you follow there? What do they do that seems to lead to lots of positive interactions with followers? Follow their lead. On your website (you do have a website, don’t you? You need one. There are many inexpensive and even free options—so don’t skip this!), write blogs that will make your readers eager for your book. Show your unique personality. Share your voice. And always, always be genuine—readers will know when you’re faking it."
Be building your platform while you are writing your book, while you are editing your book; essentially you should always be building your platform. Manage your social media; manage your author website; blog, blog, blog (for yourself and for others).
If you are not going to be active on a social media platform, don't use it. But you really should be on them. It only takes 10 minutes a day to engage with your readers online. It may not feel comfortable for you, but you need to do it if you want to be successful.
It's important to know that if you're overly salesy and fake in your blogs, social posts, etc., it will turn people off. Yes, you are building your personal brand here, but think about how the best brands you love do social media: Is their social content made up strictly of sales pitches? Chances are, it's not. Follow that lead.
If marketing yourself as an author is something you despair of ever being able to do well, there are so many experts who can help you. My first recommendation for this is the pros at New Shelves Books. And as per usual, if you have questions about this? Ask me! I love helping writers sort out this crazy business we call books.
Until next time, happy reading, keep writing, and stay tuned!