What is an Author Platform?
What on earth is an Author Platform and do you need one to succeed in self-publishing?
An author platform is directly linked to your author brand. They act as a way for you to display who you are and connect with who your audience is. This takes the form of all the various ways you get yourself ‘out there’ and don’t just publish a book on Amazon and expect sales to soar.
Ways to develop and build a credible author platform:
Writing content for another website/blog
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to have an author platform to be a success. The focus, particularly for fiction authors, should be on the quality of your story. This is the first thing agents and publishers care about and what readers will find out about. But, with all the competition out there for your book to have some breathing space, you can’t afford not to have one. Even traditional publishers will look to see if you have a good online presence, which might be the tipping point in their decision.
What an author platform does is set you up as a legitimate author, dedicated to your genre or field. Non-fiction authors can particularly benefit from having a website to showcase their expertise in a chosen field. Your market is also a lot narrower and therefore easier to target.
Just take a look at how social media sensation Joe Wicks uses his platform to sell copies of his bestselling fitness book. The social media star started off posting short recipe and fitness videos on YouTube, but by developing his author platform for his book, he opened his brand up to whole new audiences. Now people who previously had never heard of him, know his name and his brand.
And that’s what an author platform is all about: letting the right people know about you and your books.
What it’s NOT about is publicity and selling.
Your author platform is not a place to shout about your book. The primary goal should be about building content that will give your target market value. This will naturally build legitimacy to your brand and encourage people to buy your books.
It’s fairly simple to set up your own website. You can easily build a WordPress site, which is simple to use and adaptable to your needs. There’s also a great website building tutorial from Joanna Penn here.
Talking at events is an essential way to portray yourself as an expert in your field. If you don’t have any upcoming talks, why not offer to write a targeted blog post on someone’s website? This benefits them with ready to go content and also represents you as a person worth paying attention to.
Social media is all about making connections. It’s never about selling your book. If you set out with the goal of interacting with new people, keeping up to date with industry news and developing your author brand, this will invite people to follow you.
All too much?
Sometimes it can be a little daunting thinking of all the various things you have to do. Especially when you’ve spent months alone writing the novel, not letting anyone see it. But if you want to be a successful writer, you need to spearhead your own campaign.
You get out of self-publishing what you put in.
A good place to start is to think broadly in terms of what your genre is and who your target market is. This is essential. Afterwards, take it a step at a time. If it’s too daunting to manage a website, talk at events, whilst posting on socal media, then just schedule things at different times and evaluate what works afterwards.
You don’t have to do everything and be on every type of platform going. Just figure out what works for you and your readers.
How do you develop your author platform?