Don’t Pick Your Platform. Build it.
A guest post by Desiree Wolfe
As authors, it’s easy to think your book will be your platform. You’ll maybe have a website and a fancy page on Amazon and you’ll be all set. Newsflash: you’re wrong. Really fucking wrong. So much more goes into getting your book the fame it deserves.
Your author platform is the base on which your empire is built. Your platform is how you are going to reach out to your audience and engage them. This is how you are going to get your book in the hands of the readers.
Unless you’ve been in a cave for the last three years, you know you at least need to have your ass on social media. You don’t have to master it, just be present and consistent. But unless you want to continue to build Mark Z’s Facebook Empire, you better make sure you’ve got other platforms to grow on. Because social media will not be your golden ticket.
So where else do you go? A branded website is the first place to start. And if you’re any kind of writer, um – isn’t that why you’re here – you need to have some sort of blog to show off those fancy writing skills. The rest will fall under the likes, and look, of your website. You don’t need some uber-fancy and expensive designer to create an overly dramatic website. WordPress is a great budget-friendly place to start. If you’re looking for a cool theme for authors check out the Novelist for WordPress.
A few other blog sites might work too, but WordPress is my favorite and the easiest to expand once you are ready to grow your site and your empire. I won’t get into WordPress.org versus WordPress.com. That’s personal preference and you can read more about it here.
What other platform tools could you be using? Pick your passion. What do you love to do? What else, besides writing, puts a fire in your belly? Here are some other suggestions based on common natural gifts an author might have:
Evangelism aka Speaking – Do you love to shout from the rooftops when you are passionate about something? Get your ass on stage and become an evangelist for your own book and brand. Start by giving talks to local groups about your book and the topics you cover in it. Whether it be love, mystery, paranormal, the bible, whatever – I can guarantee groups of people are talking about what your book is about, write right now.
Bonus suggestion: Ask your local coffee shops about open mic nights or research networking groups looking for guest speakers.
Writing – Duh. This time, write for other blogs and publications to help spread the word about your amazing talent. Always include a short paragraph about yourself at the end of your submission so people are drawn back to your site.
Bonus suggestion: Get setup on Goodreads.com as an author.
Teaching – I’m not talking about becoming a Harvard professor. I’m talking about sharing your gift of knowledge. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to comment on the 800 billion blogs and websites already out there. Use your own brain and experiences to teach others. This does two things – gets you exposure and builds your credibility.
Bonus suggestion: Look for book fairs where you can hold small workshops.
Use the gifts and talents you already have to build your platform. Don’t spend time and money trying to do things you are not comfortable with. If technology isn’t your friend, don’t stress about trying to have elaborate websites. If speaking scares the shit out of you, then don’t do it. Your best platform is going to be a damn good book. So write your ass off. Write Now.
Desiree Wolfe is the CEO and Founder of Desiree Marketing, a boutique PR and Marketing Coaching and Service Company. Her mission is to help authors, speakers and solo-preneurs create kickass marketing. Her undying love for swear words makes her the foul-mouth marketer who gives you real-life, no fluff advice. For more information visit www.desireemarketing.com.
In case you haven’t heard, Desiree is also giving my clients exclusive sessions when they signup for No More Fuckery, our 3-month coaching package that teaches you how to be a marketing machine.