To Build Your Author Brand, Build Your Platform
If you are serious about building a business as an independent author/publisher you need to consider building your author’s platform.
That initial rush when you self publish your book can be satisfying but after a few days you’ll also realise (if you haven’t already) that it’s also futile if you haven’t thought about the long game.
Why? Well, it’s because there’s a LOT of self published books out there, and it’s a simple fact that the authors that do manage to gain traction, sales and readers make sure they tick both of these boxes.
- They make sure their self-published masterpiece is professionally produced
- They painstakingly build a platform and grow their audience – (often long before they actually publish).
Self Publishing Doesn’t Mean Doing Everything Yourself
If you are going to embark on the self publishing journey, please do not try to do everything yourself. Writing is a solitary and lonely gig but once you’ve finished writing only good old fashioned teamwork is going to get you over the finish line and published.
One of the reasons self publishing gets a bad rap is because of the – let’s face it – over enthusiastic amateurism. Some people just can’t let go once they’ve finished a first draft. They turn into control freaks determined to execute every tiny part of the publishing project. They self edit, design the cover , do their manuscript layout in MS Word then throw the result at KDP and hope for the best.
Why Doing it All Yourself is a Bad Plan
Sure, you’ll self publish your book but it will be very unlikely you’ll publish another or even sell many. The truth is, writing is hard but so is editing, and design. Do you really want to take it all on? If you take your writing, seriously – then hire some professionals.
If you’ve got something to say and put out into the world, you need to do it properly or you really are just wasting your time.
Professional help means hiring an editor, re-writing a 2nd, 3rd, 4th or even 5th draft.
It also means hiring a layout artist so your book looks great on the screen and page. Remember, just because you can format a MS Word document does not make you an expert on formatting a book for print on demand or Kindle.
What is a Platform Anyway?
If you’re still wondering what a platform is, here’s a simple way to visualise it. Let’s imagine you’re at a party with a bunch of shouty writers. They’re shouting because there is free cheese, crackers and wine. Most importantly, they are shouting because there is a chance to get the attention of readers who are drifting in and out of the party.
Maybe if it’s a fancy party they’re also shouting to get the attention of a commissioning editor before she drinks too much free chardonnay and decides to go to a better party.
Now, imagine you’re part of that desperate shouty throng.
‘No, please read my staggering work of heartbreaking genius!’
Would be quite the noisy scene, would it not?
Now, let’s imagine if you were the only one in that drunken readers and writers bacchanal who had a little stage. You might be surrounded with a few LED theatre lights. On either side of the stage is a nice little PA system. Clipped to your collar is a radio microphone. Maybe you could get real fancy and have some sort of mind-blowing video backdrop, a smoke machine and a couple of go go dancers.
Where do you think the attention of the room, of your potential readers, of the slightly drunk commissioning editor would focus?
That, in a nutshell, is what a writer’s platform is. It’s a way to gather an audience, and build your tribe. It’s a way to engage future readers on your writer’s journey and convert them to avid buyers and fans.
The good news is, you can get started with the free tools that are already in the cloud. WordPress to build your blog. Mailchimp to grow your mailing list. Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram build your followers and tribe.
HOW TO BUILD YOUR WRITER’S PLATFORM: Internet Marketing 101 for Writers
Want to deep dive into platform building? How To Build Your Writer’s Platform is available now in paperback and eBook