Whether you’re a seasoned author or someone just stepping into the publishing waters, you have undoubtedly heard about the importance of building an author platform. In case you haven’t heard this term, your author platform is essentially the way in which you engage with your target audience. For some authors, a certain social media channel is their main platform. For others, it’s their teaching or speaking careers. For others, it’s a blog or website. For most, it’s a combination of a few of these things.
Authors often ask us which are the best platforms for them. The answer is this: the best platform for you is one that is A) reaching your target audience and B) sustainable for you. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution, and that is a good thing! The more unique and organic ways you can reach your audience, the better!
That said, there are definitely some things that all great author platforms have in common. Here’s what we have seen work for authors to build a sustainable platform which sells books!
We cannot stress this enough. Simply having an Instagram or LinkedIn account is not a platform! You absolutely must join groups, respond to comments, and communicate directly with people on a daily, weekly, monthly basis.
Build a platform where
your audience spends the most time. Facebook might be your favorite social media platform, but what’s the use being there if that’s not where your audience is? Any research you do into where to best find your readers will be well worth your time and energy.
Utilize a content calendar.
It can be really overwhelming to feel the need to post and interact with people on a consistent basis. That’s why you should keep a calendar. Can you commit to a once per month newsletter? Can you schedule posts to your social media 3x a week for the next month, so you don’t have to worry about it on a daily basis?
Collect email addresses.
One thing we can say with certainty is your email list is an important part of building your platform, regardless of genre. Use a service such as Mailchimp to store and send beautiful emails to your audience about the things you’re up to.
This might seem silly, but hear us out. We are naturally attracted to positive, inspirational people. When we see an author who is clearly loving what they do, it’s much easier to want to support them and give their book a try. Use your platform to show that you love this work, even when it’s hard! Your audience will grow organically because of it.
Roseanne Cheng is an author of two award-winning young adult books. She is the marketing director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing and co-author of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing.