Let me ask you this: Your friend Jane tells you her buddy John published his first novel. “Ple-e-e-e-ase…” she begs you to buy a copy to support him, even though it’s not a genre you like. Do you buy it? I’ll come back to that a bit.
Today is day 24 of 31. I’ve covered many topics, ranging from editing, inspiration, and influencers, to character development, choosing a title and a book cover, emotions, spelling, attending conferences, and more. One I haven’t covered is platform.
Whether you’re traditionally or self-published, if you’re serious about maintaining a writing career, you need a platform. A place to connect with your readers, promote your books, and of course, sell them.
Why is it so important? Because who you know just isn’t enough. Sure, your family, your friends, and even the friend of a friend, can buy your novel. They can also spread the word to their friends (remember the question I asked above? Did you say yes or no?).
In order to reach those who don’t know you but who may be interested in your work, you need exposure, not just locally but everywhere. More than just on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Don’t get me wrong, those are helpful for spreading the word, and a great place to start, but you need to attract potential buyers, connect with them, and interest them. Most of all, you have to get your name out there because, other than your family and friends, nobody knows you as a writer.
So how do you build your platform? Start slowly.
1. Create a website, a page where you can display your book(s), and talk about yourself. Your readers want to know about you, the author behind the story. If they like it, they’ll want to know if you have a series, or other works they can get their hands on.
2. Create a signup link on your website, and start your email list. When your next book comes out, that list becomes the easiest way for you to let them know.
3. Take advantage of Social Media and link different accounts. Opinions differ on this one, but it worked wonders for me. As a beginner, I didn’t know anything about platform, and my book didn’t do well. About 10 months after its release, someone told me about the advantages of linking different accounts together. I signed up for a Twitter account, and linked it to my Facebook page. Everything I posted in one feed also appeared in the other. Using hashtags also helped because the best way to find something on Twitter is to use keywords with a hashtag. Try it. Do a search for #suspense and see how many hits you get. It works great when you have a #FREE offer. By using this method, more people saw my book, and downloaded it. It wasn’t long before I reached 1,000+ downloads and made it to #3 in the top 100 in inspirational category.
There are other ways to get started, but I hope these few steps will help you. If you already have one, share how you did it.