How an Author Platform Can Help You Sell More Books and Grow Your Audience

Curious about an author platform (and its importance)? This article addresses fundamental questions to initiate considerations on expanding your platform before book publication.

So, your book is finally complete. What’s next?

If you’re anything like me, your initial instinct might be to stash that manuscript away in a drawer, away from the eyes of potential readers—especially while you’re still around to worry about it.

Rest assured, you’re not alone. Many authors face challenges with book promotion, particularly when it comes to self-promotion. The struggle makes sense. Writers, by nature, often lean towards introversion, shying away from the spotlight.

However, if success for your book is what you’re after, investing time in constructing an author platform becomes imperative. Without a robust author platform, you might miss opportunities to publicize your work and connect with potential readers.

But what exactly is an author platform?

As an indie author, you’re likely familiar with the term “author platform.” Even if it’s new to you, I’ve mentioned it a few times already! Let’s dissect this industry term.

Simply put, your author platform constitutes your fanbase. It encompasses the supporters who read your books, engage on social media, attend your events, and subscribe to your newsletters. They’re more than fans; they’re the testament to an existing target audience, a factor that can sway publishing houses in your favor.

Visualize your author platform as your sphere of influence. Who are the individuals within your reach? How can you engage with them? Your Facebook connections, Instagram followers, Tumblr enthusiasts, blog subscribers—each contributes to your author platform!

Every author’s platform varies, utilizing different social media channels based on their chosen tools for interaction. A young adult writer’s platform will differ significantly from that of a business writer. Yet, the common thread is connection and engagement.

How to Develop an Author Platform (5 Steps)

Here’s a breakdown of essential steps to construct an author platform:

1. Define your brand

Before delving into platform building, take a moment to define your author brand. What’s your distinctive voice and writing style? Which themes and genres are your forte? Understanding your brand facilitates crafting a consistent and compelling message that resonates with your intended audience.

2. Establish a professional website

A professional website serves as the cornerstone of your author platform. It acts as a hub where readers can explore more about you and your books. Ensure your website is visually appealing, easy to navigate, and showcases your writing. Incorporate an author bio, details about your books, upcoming events, and a contact page for reader and press interactions.

3. Engage on social media

Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with readers and fellow authors. Select platforms that align with your target audience and focus on establishing an authentic presence. Share updates about your writing journey, offer insights into your creative process, and engage with your audience by responding to comments and joining discussions. Remember, social media is about building relationships, so be authentic and supportive.

4. Write guest blogs and articles

Broaden your reach by contributing guest posts and articles to other publications. Seek websites or blogs catering to your genre or niche. Through valuable content, you can reach new readers and establish yourself as an authority in your field. Don’t forget to include a bio and links back to your website or social media profiles to drive traffic to your platform.

5. Develop an Email List

An email list serves as a potent tool for direct connection with your readers. Offer incentives, such as a short story or exclusive content, to entice readers into signing up. Send regular newsletters containing updates, behind-the-scenes insights, and special offers to keep subscribers engaged and invested in your writing journey.

Why Building Your Author Platform is Crucial

Let’s talk about E L James, the author of 50 Shades of Grey. James had a robust author platform well before 50 Shades hit the shelves. She cultivated a devoted fan base through fan-fiction and active engagement on social media. Consequently, when her book launched, thousands of pre-existing fans were eager to purchase her book, amplifying its reach and impact.

Developing your author platform is pivotal. Engaging with your platform is crucial, whether you’re starting out or have an established career. It’s never too early to commence constructing your author platform.

Your author platform can sway publishers

Unlike traditional publishers, modern publishers don’t solely evaluate your work’s quality. They seek assurance that your work will achieve commercial success. Your author platform plays a role in this assessment.

If your blog boasts thousands of followers, publishers perceive existing interest in your work. They’ll recognize your ability to convert acquaintances into paying readers, enhancing your chances, especially as a new author.

Your author platform expands your reach

Book marketing often incurs substantial costs! Whether you’re self-publishing, managing a small publishing house, or collaborating with traditional publishers, financial constraints are common.

Leveraging your online presence for book promotion is cost-effective, if not free. By engaging with readers through your author platform, casual readers might morph into ardent fans. These fans, in turn, introduce your work to new readers. Each of your devoted fans holds their own platform—tapping into these networks amplifies your work’s visibility.

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