The moment you decide you want to be a writer you have to start building your author platform. This is the way to grow your online presence and let people know who you are and what you do.
In today’s post, I’m sharing with you five tips on how to start building your author platform.
What is an author platform?
If you are not familiar with the term “author platform” let me explain it.
In short, the term “author platform” is used as a collective name for all the different channels that an author uses to share with the world what they do.
In other words, your author platform may include your website, YouTube channel, social media profiles, podcast, etc. — all the different ways in which an author makes themselves publicly visible.
Do you need an author platform?
So you may ask, “Do I need an author platform?” And the answer is, “It depends.”
Let’s start from here. If you are writing just for fun and you don’t want to publish and sell your writings ever, then you probably don’t need an author platform. But it won’t hurt to have one (just in case you change your mind later).
If you are writing with the intent to publish and sell your books, then you will need an author platform.
What is the idea of having an author platform?
But let’s talk about why you need an author platform?
The simplest answer to this question is — because you need people to know what you do, to know you have written a book, so they can buy it.
You cannot expect someone to buy your book if they have never heard anything about you.
Having a platform will help you build an audience. Having an audience will help you market and sell your books. It’s that simple. But how can you start building your platform?
How to build your author platform
Tip 1: Start building your platform as soon as possible
My advice is to start thinking about your author platform as soon as you decide you want to write a book.
I know many experts say it’s better to first publish one or two novels, to find your style, your voice, and only after that to start thinking about marketing and building an audience.
But building an audience is not so easy. You may spend months and even years on Instagram or Facebook or YouTube and have as little as a few hundred followers/subscribers.
Tip 2: Don’t try to be everywhere
When I first started building my author platform I started a YouTube channel, a blog, and a podcast. I also tried to post on Twitter and Facebook and even for a few months on Tumblr.
The result? For three years I gained only about 700 followers on Instagram and 42 subscribers on my YouTube channel. And I uploaded ten episodes for the podcast. As a result, I realized that I’m spending more time on my platform than on actual writing.
So the advice that I can give you — start with ONLY ONE.
Choose which will be your main content delivery channel (blog, podcast, or a YouTube channel) and choose one social media.
Tip 3: Don’t go with the trends
If you open a few of the numerous publications on what’s trendy in marketing nowadays you’ll find lots of tips on how you absolutely must use video in your marketing strategy.
I will tell you — choose the channel that best suits your needs. When deciding where to put your effort have the following in mind:
- Where does your ideal reader spend their time most? It’s important to know where to find your ideal reader. You don’t want to spend months building your blog and Instagram account and then realizing your ideal readers use Twitter and watch videos on YouTube.
- What resources you will need to start? This one is important. Here you have to think not only about the equipment you will need (because to be honest for almost everything you can use your smartphone). You have to think about the time needed, too. Filming YouTube videos may be a fun option but you need to take into account the time needed to learn how to edit and edit your videos.
- What do you enjoy doing? You have to be consistent with your platform. So choose wisely your platform. If you don’t like filming yourself it will be harder to stick to a publishing schedule. If you prefer writing, then choose to blog. If you prefer talking, then choose to create a podcast or a YouTube channel. Whatever you choose, keep in mind that you have to like doing it.
Tip 4: Create a website
I know, I know. Many experts say that you don’t need a website at all. At least in the beginning. But the reality is that your website is the only platform that is yours.
On your website, you set the rules. You can post photos, news, blog posts, even posts from your Facebook page, or videos from your YouTube channel.
So, yes, you need a website.
Tip 5: Start building an email list
This one is huge. You need an email list. You need a list of engaged readers who are eager to find more about you, your current and future projects, and can’t wait to find out when your next book will be available for pre-order.
And as with the website, your email list is yours.
While Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and all other social platforms use different algorithms to decide whether and what to show to their users, having an email list will let you decide what and when to share with your fans.
Building a platform is hard work. It takes time, consistency, and planning. So if you think of selling your books, it’s better to start building your platform now.
And one last bonus tip — don’t be afraid to experiment. If you realize that what you’ve chosen is not the right channel for you, try something else. Making videos takes you too much time? Then try podcasting. Or simply write articles on your blog.