What is an “author platform?”
by Ashley Shannon
Much like moving to a stage and standing behind a podium to deliver a message, your author platform is where you share your thoughts and ideas. Loosely defined, it comprises all the places where you communicate, such as your social media posts, podcasts, author website, YouTube videos, newsletters, TikTok, and more. It is anything that you use to reach the world. So if you’re prone to sending tiny pieces of rolled-up missives by carrier pigeons, then that’s part of your platform.
Having an effective author platform serves many purposes. It can help curb the cost of paid marketing, turn followers into super fans, and bring awareness to your brand and books.
When I should start to build one?
If you are writing a book, thinking about writing a book, or may want to write one in the future, it is critical to create an online presence today. Don’t hesitate to put yourself out there. It doesn’t have to be big or bold. You can start small.
For example, today, try to post on one of your social media profiles. Stop right now and share something about your writing. Tell your friends and family a bit about your current project. Maybe, let them know you have a newsletter and invite them to join for regular updates.
It is really that simple!
What if I don’t like to use social media?
It can feel daunting to build an online presence, but this step is critical if you want to be a successful writer. Some have pointed out that not all writers have social media profiles, websites, or even newsletters. Chances are, these lucky authors may have started their careers in a different publishing era when there were bigger marketing budgets. Or, they may have worked harder to build their fan base since they didn’t have access to these tools.
Give social media a shot, even if you decide to limit it to your business.
If you truly cannot stomach social media, there are other ways to build a platform. Try writing on a big blogging site, such as Vocal or Medium. Or start your own website and grow your influence through the use of SEO. You could begin with a newsletter and get a direct line of contact with your readers. Even if you don’t want to join the masses on all the different social media sites, there is still a way to build a great author platform.
How big should my author platform be?
Like using a microphone to project your speaking voice, the larger your platform is, the more significant your reach and the more impactful your influence. Don’t you want to reach as many readers as you possibly can? I know that I do.
But it is essential to all things in moderation.
You can’t exclusively focus on audience building; there must be room to do the actual writing. You can’t sell something if there is nothing to sell.
Control your time on social media, don’t let it control you.
I’ve found it most useful to limit my social media interactions to one hour a day. It doesn’t take a lot to build a solid fan base. This condition frees up more space for me so that I can focus on the work of writing.
The Importance of an Author Platform
Whether you want to be traditionally published or self-published, write novels, short stories, or blog posts, you will need an author platform to connect with your readers and run your business. A common misconception that published authors don’t need to market their work. Most times, that’s not true. Many traditionally published authors aren’t given a large budget for marketing.
There’s no way around this—you must find and interact with your audience. So, how do you plan to start?
We can help! Here’s a resource to get you started today.
How to Build Your Author Platform (Become a Patreon subscriber for $2/month for your worksheet)