You can spend all your time on social media, trying to build that elusive thing, your “author platform” but it doesn’t help to tweet all day if you’ve only got 10 followers. You need to focus your attention where it counts. Frankly, it’s also exhausting pinging back and forth from twitter to facebook to widbook and before you know it, you’ve wasted a perfectly good writing day reading some truly shocking stuff or simply learning what other people have had for breakfast.
So here’s what I think I’ve discovered about the essentials for any author platform (well, mine at least…)
These are the ones that I keep constantly updated. How often you do it, depends on you I guess, and what/how much you have to say and to whom. You can’t please everyone but remember not to be offensive; it’s easy to send something but very hard to retract.
1. An amazon author page. There are tons of articles about how to make the best of yours. Regardless of how you do it though, most people appreciate that it’s probably one of the most important things you can update. Make sure you feed your twitter, blog and other accounts into it. It’s the first and last place that some people will look when they go to buy or even assess you or your writing.
2. A goodreads author page. This is different from a goodreads member page and you need to apply to have one. Keep it updated but make sure you’re authentic; use goodreads as a reader as well as an author. Make some proper friends on it to share good books and definitely not just your own. I have far more traffic on here than anywhere else.
3. A facebook author page. Whatever your views on facebook, every billy and his son is on it and I think you should be too. To be honest, I get on better with twitter but facebook is a great base from which to run rafflecopter giveaways, which I’m finding a good way to get more reviews and drive more traffic to my book.
4. A twitter account. I never saw the point of twitter until recently but I’m absolutely loving it now. It’s so easy to post something and to follow other people. I have my own Twitter Policy; if it’s not interesting or useful then I don’t post it. You’ll also need to actively grow your account by engaging with other people; they won’t come to you, no matter how interesting you think you are!
5. Your own blog or website which can act as a central hub (along with your amazon page). I like to focus mine on how to write and publish rather than general musings on the world, as I think I do this better! I guess, it’s horses for courses…
The rest you’ll need to mix and match according to your own tastes/what you’re doing and according to the groups of people you’re seeking out. Make sure you know what it is that you’re offering and why. For instance, why do people need to hear from you? Will they feel bereft if they don’t? What is your unique selling point; are you useful, funny, entertaining, etc.?
There are sites that I check into every so often, to run giveaways, to discuss books, and to see if anyone is discussing mine, e.g. Book Likes and Library Thing. I also like to check into widbook and wattpad to see what’s hot and getting really good reviews. If you’re going for visual posts you’ll need to be on a selection of youtube, vine, flickr, instagram and/or tumblr but these are a step too far for me at the moment. There are other sites you should be on for marketing purposes and I’ll discuss those in part iii.
Above all, remember the golden rule about social media; you need to be talking to people to get followed. And be genuine. Speak the way you talk. I try to avoid just rambling as I find the posts that tell me if someone had eggs or bacon for breakfast, frankly useless (why do I need to know, why does anyone care?). Worse still are the cryptic ramblings that don’t even make sense (e.g. posts such as “why oh why is it all going pear-shaped now?”) – if you’re not going to tell me what’s going on, please don’t leave ramblings online. It’s bloody irritating. Most of all, I find it supremely boring if someone is just trying to sell me their book the whole time. I’m a reader as well as a writer and I’ll go check out your book if I like what you’re writing, if you have something to say or if I love your book reviews. If you’re just trying to sell me your book and you can’t write for toffee, then I won’t want to know. It makes no difference if I’m following 500 or 5,000 people; I really don’t need to know what they’ve all had for breakfast or how much their new book costs. Just sayin’…
This is part ii in a four part series on self-publishing:
2. Your author platform
3. Marketing tools
4. Strategy & Timeline
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