One of the things that I have been learning about is how important it is to start your “Author Platform” before you ever get published. Now this isn’t necessary for someone who has a huge following already because of previously published books, but if you’re not that person (and chances are you’re not because…life?) then it is really important to be able to build your reader base as early as possible.
So what do I mean by “Author Platform?”
This is (according to people much more experienced than I *Joanna Penn*) your online, and potentially offline, presence. This can take different shapes for different people.
For instance, someone who is looking to author books of non-fiction based on a particular expertise might do best having a website where they put up information about their area of expertise, build an online blogging presence, submit articles for online publication for magazines, journals, websites etc which will boost their visibility and their work.
This is especially true if you write HELPFUL information, and if it’s FREE, that’s even better. Giving away your expertise is a great way to build a base of followers because we all want to learn new things, and we NEVER want to pay for it. I know I don’t. BUT…If I find some really useful information and I want to know more, I will end up at least signing up for a mailing list, and/or purchasing the writer’s book.
Now, of course as I wrote the above, I realized that this is actually generally a good idea regardless of whether you want to write fiction or non-fiction. It’s just that what you’ll be writing about, and who you’ll be submitting to, will be different.
While I have not been submitting anything I’ve written for publication…yet… This blog is an intentional exercise in boosting my online presence and visibility as an author. Has it worked? You’ll have to tell me. I definitely have people who have decided to follow this blog, which is awesome! THANK YOU BTW!
Those people are more than I had before I started this blog, so upward movement is good movement.
What are other things that should be done to build your platform?
One of the biggest things, which I will admit to not having pulled the trigger on yet, is to set up a mailing list and have it linked to your website so that the people who follow you, and are interested in your work can sign up for updates. Mail chimp is easy for beginners since under 2k emails is free. Joanna Penn also has a great tutorial on her website, and you’ll notice how quickly her mailing list prompt pops up.
I’m not sure exactly why I haven’t set up my mail chimp list yet, except to say that it feels a little daunting. Of everything I’ve been doing so far, the blog and the mail chimp have been the scariest because it brings up the questions of:
- “Who am I that someone would want to listen to me?”
- “What do I have to offer that someone else doesn’t already do/say/teach better than me?”
- “What kinds of things would anyone who signs up for a mailing list expect to get and can I deliver them?”
- “Do I have to post on a regular schedule if people sign up?”**
**spoiler alert** Posting on a regular schedule should be a yes, and no, I haven’t figured out how to do this yet because I work full time in an office/am a parent and so “schedule” is a fantasy a lot of times for things that aren’t work or child related. (Excuses excuses)
This might be fun, but it’s no small amount of work when you add managing online presence to learning how to be a good writer and adulting in the required ways of your everyday life. I think this is why people say you have to give up a lot, and work really really hard if you want to be a bestselling author. Just like most things worthwhile in life, it will take hard work.
You’ll get out of it what you put in.
So what besides a website am I doing to create my “Author Platform?”
Well I’ve had to make some decisions here because let’s face it, I just don’t have time to do everything. So I have decided on three main things to start experimenting with.
You can follow me @HM_Braverman on both.
The fact that I have the same username, which is also repeated here on this blog, is INTENTIONAL. It will be a lot easier for people to find me on different sites if I have the same username. I have noticed that the _ is a little annoying on my phone sometimes, so I may change it to a dash instead of an underscore for easier typing.
Whatever you do it should be able to be as repetitive as possible so that your followers can find you easily.
I do intend to start a twitter account at some point. I’ve realized I just need to give in and do this eventually because apparently this is the main social site for authors. 🤷🏻♀️
The key to any of these things though is to BE INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY!!! This isn’t a “build it and they will come” scenario.
This is one of the biggest mistakes and cause for complaints that I hear/read is that no one is getting read/recognized/followed. It’s almost always attributible to the fact that they don’t do the same for anyone else. Quid Pro Quo my friends. So be intentional with your experiments, get involved, try some new things and HAVE FUN!
My next post is going to be about my experience on both Instagram and Wattpad, why I started using them, and what I’ve found is awesome about both.
I hope you’ve found this helpful, and thank you for taking the time to read!