Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Building Your Author Platform

Writers may see themselves as writers first but they should also see themselves as book marketers a close second.  In order to have a prosperous writing career one cannot merely rely on writing great books.  He or she has to let people know about them.

In fact, your marketing efforts begin way before your book is published.  You need to build the foundation for a following so that you can grow a fan base overtime.

So who exactly do you want to connect with?  There are several kinds of people that you want to establish a relationship with – loud mouths and influencers, those devoted to your subject matter, those who like you and your style, and potential readers/consumers.  These groups are linked to one another and in fact can influence each other.  That’s the whole idea – you want to increase the number of people in your network and then leverage those assets when the time is right.

Platforms get established in a few ways, including:

1.      Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest – Create a profile on each one, build up your number of connections and followers, and use it to network.
2.      Blog – You need to have one and you need to share your posts or guest posts with others.
3.      Web site – It should really showcase who you are, have a means to sell products such as books, and a way to capture email addresses (such as offering free downloads of something interesting)
4.      Routinely visiting forums, chats, groups
5.      Being active on Goodreads, Net Galley, Red Room, Library Thing, Shelfari, Jacket Flap
6.      Having a page on Amazon’s Author Central, Filed By, and other reader-writer sites
7.      Speaking before organizations, groups, bookstores, libraries, or industry groups
8.      Contributing to a leading Web Site or media outlet

Resources for platform building include:

-          Help A Reporter Out
-          Café Press
-          Zazzle

If you want to monitor yourself – or others – go to:

-          Google.com/alerts
-          Grader.com
-          Sharethis.com

To build your platform, connect with those who have successful platforms.  If you don’t want to join forces with them, learn from them.

Find your voice.  That’s a biggie for you to think about.  Your platform comes from the image or character that you portray.  Be authentic, passionate, and helpful – but you need to also be provocative.  What will you be known for? How will you separate and distinguish yourself from your competition and the clutter out there?

How much multimedia will your platform consist of?  All videos?  All words?  A mixture of the two – plus audio, photos, illustrations?  Will you express yourself conservatively or liberally?  

Will you shake things up and be controversial?

Don’t forget to assess your progress and ask others for feedback as you build your platform. 

Keep making adjustments and never stop looking for innovative ways to get your name out there.  Even the most popular people can’t rest on their success – always be pushing yourself out there because there’s new competition growing by the minute.

Lastly, don’t give up or lose hope because of a setback or because you tried something that didn’t work.  There’s no surefire route to victory here – you just keep hammering away and see what sticks.  You may just look back and see that you have a substantive following.

Interview With Author Karen-Anne Stewart

What type of books do you write? I write in the new adult genre. Saving Rain, and the other two novels in The Rain Trilogy, are new adult romance/suspense.

What is your newest book about? Healing Rain: The Second Novel in The Rain Trilogy will be available in August, and it picks up right where Saving Rain left off. This novel jumps right in with the continuation of the powerful love story between Kas and Raina. Here is the back cover of Healing Rain:  Shattered when Raina runs after his marriage proposal, Kas is hell-bent to find her and bring her home, where she belongs. He will bend every law necessary to do so, willing to do anything to protect Raina from her demons and the men who haunt her, going as far as placing his career and life on the line to save hers. Raina will give up everything she has worked so hard to achieve, even flee the country to keep Kas from the wrath and powerful reach of her abusive father.
In the midst of the FBI team closing in on the Ghost, another ghost from Raina's past taunts her, promising that she will be his. Meanwhile, a different trafficking ring is gaining strength in New Jersey. Michael solicits Raina's help, needing her smooth, sultry voice to win the audition for the new singer in the ring leader's swanky night club. Raina knows her life is in jeopardy with the dangers of being undercover, but she is blindsided when she discovers that it's her heart that is threatened with a mortal blow.  Raina tries to heal from the nightmares of her dark past as the grisly bodies of innocent victims surface when the team gets closer to discovering the identity of the man responsible for the infuriatingly clever and powerful slavery ring. When Raina finally comes face to face with the Ghost, he quickly engulfs her in a twisted game of cat and mouse, delivering a veiled threat as he slips through her fingers. As the ghosts of her past and present ensnare her in their deadly web, Raina realizes the danger has just begun. 

What inspired you to write?
I have always loved books, especially romance. When I decided to write, I knew I would write about love, but I wanted it to mean more, which is why I included the dark social issues of abuse and human trafficking. My humble hope is to shed a little light on these depraving subjects through The Rain Trilogy. The love between Kas and Rain is powerful, redeeming, and the novels show how far each would go to save the other.

What is the writing process like for you?
Wow, I really love this question because I don't have a clear answer for it! I don't really have a process, I'm all over the place when I write. I can't seem to sit down and write from beginning to end, I write scenes depending on my mood at that moment. I had parts of After the Rain, the final novel in The Rain Trilogy, written while I was working on the first novel, Saving Rain. Music is a HUGE inspiration to me, I listen to music almost all the time when I write, it helps get my head where it needs to be. I also usually write in my PJ's, it's so much more comfortable that way!

What did you do before you became an author? I still have my "day job," and I'm also a wife and mother, so like everyone else, my plate's pretty full, but I LOVE it! I do have some experience working with survivors of domestic violence. I have a bachelor in Social Work. 

How does it feel to be a published author? That's a really interesting question. I was just talking about this with a friend of mine the other day. I'm not going to lie, it's a pretty amazing feeling in those moments when it hits me that I am really an author! It's also quite surreal. I don't want to sound cliche, but it really is a dream come true. 

Any advice for struggling writer's? Don't ever give up! Follow your gut, and don't let your fears hold you back. 

Where do you see book publishing heading?
I'm very new to this business, so I don't know all of the trade secrets, but I don't see paper books going away anytime soon. I adore my Kindle, I'm addicted to it, but my mother swears she will never own one. She much prefers the feel of a physical book in her hand.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2013

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