Posted in books, creative writing, marketing, publishing, self publishing, social media, writing, writing advice

Indie Author Basics: Author Platform

What is an author platform, and what is it used for?

Learn more about what an author platform is, why you need one, and how to make use of it.
Use your platform to build and engage your community and to boost your reach and visibility.

An author’s platform is their ability to market their work using their overall visibility to reach reader. This includes:

  • Reach of social media accounts
  • Connections with other authors, publishers, agents, literary people
  • Relationship with media
  • Measured by their ability to use their influence and reach to sell books and boost their career

What do you need to start building an author platform?

Setting up a website is an important step in building an author platform. It provides basic information about you and your books, and is an easy way for readers and industry professionals to make contact with you.

Email list are key in developing a platform that can be used to sell books. An email list is a direct route for sharing news, sales, and updates with readers who are already interested in what you’re doing. You’ll have much better return on your time an investment than cold advertising.

Social media is necessary in today’s publishing and marketing world. Social media allows you to share updates and expand your visibility easily. Regular posts and accounts are free to setup and use. Social media also helps you start cultivating a community and building trust with your readers. It also help readers to forms bonds with other readers as well as with you.

How do you make use of your author platform?

Make the best use of your website by listing all of your books (in order if you have series!), contact info, official bio, other platforms readers can find you on, and your blog if you decide to have one.

Start building your email list as early as possible. Don’t wait until you have a book published. Send regular updates about you, your writing, and what sales or releases you have coming up in the next month.

When getting started with social media, start with one account and expand in accordance with the amount of time you have to put toward social media. Don’t go overboard and overwhelm yourself! Share regularly, and keep in mind that pictures and videos often get most engagement.

Share updates, personal info you’re comfortable sharing, news releases, sales, funny posts, informational posts, whatever else you think your readers will find interesting. Limit advertising posts to 25% of total posts. Use social media to build a community more than to push sales. Engage the community with questions, polls, giveaways, and ask for input when you need it or when you think your readers will enjoy participating in the process.

Posted in books

Have I run away from Facebook yet?

FB changesThe last few months of 2014, there was a lot of discussion about how the new Facebook rules were going to kill small businesses’ ability to market.

Given that I know a bunch of authors, there was plenty of discussion on how this was going to affect authors in particular, and whether or not all those hard won “likes” on our author pages were going to be for naught.

In 2014, I put a lot of effort into growing my Facebook fan page, so I was concerned about the Facebook changes as well.

What were the changes?

Dollar SignJust in case you hadn’t heard about the new rules, basically, Facebook will do it’s best to filter out promotional posts in fans’ newsfeeds UNLESS you’re wiling to boost them, aka pay for them.

So, it’s been about a month since the new rules went into effect, and I’ve been watching how my reach, or how many people see my posts on my fan page, has changed from what it was before. The results have been interesting.

The reason Facebook gave for these new rules is because they’re trying to give users what they want, less ads, more content. In all honesty, they’re dead on with that goal, because people really don’t like ads in their newsfeed. Even before the new rules went into affect, promotional type posts on my page always had the smallest reach and least interaction. That was true before and after the rules. I have noticed a slight decrease in reach on promo posts since the new rules, but not enough to really make a difference.

So…does that mean we should all give up on our fan pages?

Absolutely not.

You just need to use them differently. Correctly.

Fans don’t want you to sell them books on Facebook. What they do want to see is sneak peeks, behind the scenes photos, pictures, questions, input on stories, anything that makes them feel like they are a part of the writing process. They want to get to know their favorite authors, see how their mind works, know what’s going on before anyone else.

Smiling RedheadReach is always bigger for me when I post things that are funny, questions, artwork, or quotes. Basically, things that inspire interaction.

If I really want to post something promotional, and I want it to be seen by lots of people, yes, I will have to pay to boost it, but really, I had to do that before, so things haven’t really changed that much because I haven’t been using Facebook as a promotional machine. I use it more as a way to interact with fans and build a community. Which is why fans use Facebook, too.

Changes to your favorite social media platforms happen all the time. Instead of running away in a huff, change tactics and find a way to work with changes to your benefit.