It is easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of marketing options for authors and hard to understand what your niche market looks like (If you already know your market then you’re ahead of the majority of writers). Finding and connecting to your future readers and building your platform is the key to the success of your writing career.
So what is platform?
A basic definition of platform boils down to how many connections and readers you have and how well you show it. It also includes knowing what books yours is similar to that have been published recently (I call this “genre fishing” and will touch on it more in a future post) and what kind of readers you wish to attract. For example, if you write memoirs about your experiences in the 1970’s, you likely won’t market your book to teenagers.
To help you brainstorm about possibilities for building your platform, I created a list of the most common ways to build platform before and after publishing:
- Make an online presence: Set up Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. Don’t set up a personal page but rather an author or business page. If you already have accounts on these sites see about options for merging your preexisting account with the new one.
- Create an author website (Weebly or Wix make this simple and affordable.)
- Start a blog
- Offer giveaways
- Make an emailing list
- Comment on forums and blogs (don’t self-promote in the comments. Focus rather on engaging and meeting other authors or potential readers.)
- Look into blog tours and reviews
- Create or have made a book trailer
- Consider offering your book for a discount (I know, I know. You’re rolling your eyes. Please consider this though.)
This list is anything but complete. Ths is a short list to give you a beginning direction for your marketing. Don’t try to do everything at once, but also don’t leave everything until right before or right after your book is published. Marketing takes time. A good way to look at it is spend at least 50% of your time writing (and that’s a generous amount compared to some things I’ve read) and the other 50% marketing.
Your platform and marketing skills make or break your writing career. Your quality of writing plays a small role in becoming a successful author. (Note: That does not mean write crap and put it out there. Still try to write your best.)