What Is An Author Platform & Why Do I Need One?

What Is An Author Platform & Why Do I Need One?

Authors have to learn how to promote their own work. In this post, we answer the question: ‘What is an Author Platform and why do I need one?’

What Is An Author Platform & Why Do I Need One?

People write books for different reasons. Some writers have a message they would like to share, some writers want to earn a living by writing and some writers want to leave a story behind for their grandchildren. Some want to do all of the above.

Your reason for writing will determine your need for an author platform.

If it’s a personal project you’d like to share with your grandkids, then you don’t need a big platform. All you need is a will with specific instructions. But, if your intention is to spread a message or earn a living, an author platform is something you will have to spend some time building.

What Is An Author Platform?

An author platform can have many shapes. It can be as simple as a blog and big as theme parks, a t-shirt empire, and speaking engagements. It depends on who you are, where you are in your career, and what kind of network you already have in place.

  1. Non-fiction writers who write in their field will already have a platform and they can start by utilising that mailing list.
  2. New fiction writers need to be a little creative.

Why Do I Need One?

In the olden days, publishers used to take on all the marketing. The writer was asked to make certain appearances and sign a few books. Today, the writer takes on a lot of the work.

I have to do what?

Social media is designed to build and maintain relationships. Readers today have direct contact with the writer. Does this strike fear into your hermit-heart? Luckily, how much contact you have with your audience depends on you as the writer.

Read: How To Build An Author Platform On Social Media – A Writer’s Friends

I’m not sharing that.

No one can tell you what to share or how much to share. Some people are just more comfortable sharing on social media than others. Decide at the beginning how much and how often you will be available and what you will share. This can change over time, but boundaries help and you won’t become too overwhelmed.

I don’t want a website. I’m already on Facebook.

You can, of course, do whatever you want, but remember Mark Zuckerberg owns Facebook. You don’t. But you do own your website. Post to your site first, then share the links directing your readers back to your blog on social media.

Read: Do You Need An Author Platform?

I’d rather be writing.

Ok, let’s go back to the beginning. You are a writer. You want to write books. Blog posts and websites, and meme-sharing might not have been part of your plan. The challenge is, that to sell books in today’s market, you need an online presence and author platform, which can make up a large part of your sales.

So, now what, are you destined to spend the rest of your career sharing cat videos? What you choose to share should be a reflection of yourself and your brand. If cat videos are already a part of your life, keep going. If not, share writing information that interests you and reflects who you are. Consider it an extension of your writing.

Here are some content ideas to share:

  1. Share your short fiction.
  2. Write a blog as your characters.
  3. Write about the world your story is set in. Perhaps you can start a newspaper for your world?
  4. Write about the time before and the time after your book is set. Prequels and sequels are great for readers who want to spend some more time with your characters.

The idea is to showcase your writing and your story.

TIP: You have permission to stalk. Google your favourite authors and take a look at what they post on their websites and what they share on social media.

An author platform seems very overwhelming in the beginning, but start small. You don’t have to do everything in one day, but the sooner you start the better.

Top Tip: If you want to learn how to blog, sign up for The Complete Blogging Course.

Mia Botha by Mia Botha

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Top Tip: If you want to learn how to blog, sign up for The Complete Blogging Course.

Posted on: 18th November 2020