In this post, we discuss why you need an author platform.
Is it important to have an author platform?
An author needs an author platform. It generates sales, it creates awareness, and it builds relationships for future sales. It also gives you credibility and establishes you as a serious writer.
It is not only for authors who wish to self-publish. Authors who publish traditionally are also required to have an online presence. Social media interaction and blogging are large parts of the publicity strategy for the publisher. eBooks and eReaders have played a huge role in this.
For any aspiring author it is something you need to establish as soon as possible. Your online presence is where you will direct publishers in your query letters and how you will reach readers if you wish to self-publish. Basically you want to build your following before you publish.
How do you start?
Your blog is your base; which other sites you choose to use is up to you. Spend some time on each one before you decide. You use your social media pages to direct your readers to your blog or website. You can set up a blog using any of the sites. It is free and easy. So easy even I could do it. I got stuck at stages, but Google, or a friend, could always help me out.
For your author platform you should think carefully about the topic of your blog or website. You can use it as a showcase, as an informative site for other writers, as a place to express your creativity, or as a window into a writer’s life.
Authors who blog
There are so many, but I’ll mention a few, and what they do, here. What they do is as varied as the books they write.
Janet Fitch publishes a short story.
Jane Porter gives us a glimpse into her writing life.
John Green is a blogging legend.
Paulo Coelho shares his life with his fans.
Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner blog about anything that interests them and suits their Freakanomics brand.
Which of these seven platforms is right for you?
Social media can be daunting, but by spending time online you will soon be able to find a place where you are comfortable. Start by lurking on these platforms:
- Facebook is a good first stop. Most people are on this already. It is almost non-negotiable because it is so big. Facebook is no longer organic. It is a money game and you have to pay to get your posts noticed in feeds.
- Google+ is important because Google+ is Google and Google is the internet. Google+ is more organic, and you don’t have to pay to get your posts noticed in feeds.
- Twitter also drives traffic to your blog, but it is not everyone’s cup of tea. You either love Twitter or you hate it.
- Pinterest is my personal favourite, just because I like pretty pictures. I use it more as a creative base, writing being only one of the elements.
- Instagram is fun and a must if your writing has anything to do with fashion or if your work is very image driven like travel or photography.
- LinkedIn is good to keep your CV up to date. It is crucial if you write for payment, as in copy writing or ghost writing and for non-fiction writers who wish to establish their credentials on their topic.
- I believe every writer should have a Goodreads profile. Update books you have read, review books you’ve read and add books you’d like to read.
Regardless of which platforms you choose, find authors who also use them and follow them. Follow publishers and agents and booksellers. It will give you a good idea of what is going on in the industry. There is no one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to social media. It’s up to you to find your fit.
An author platform is more important than ever before.
by Mia Botha
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