As published authors, we soon realize that writing the book is only half the story – literally! Now we have to promote it in order to sell it. When I published my first children’s picture book, Rumble’s First Scare this became clear quite quickly, when I was asked where my author platform was. As a new author, I had not heard of or experienced an author platform, never mind created one.
It was a steep learning curve for sure and I began this blog, with a lot of trepidation as I did not have a clue what I was doing. It has, over the past ten years, morphed into a site for support, sharing and encouragement for the writing community and I am proud to be a writing community advocate. However, I am refocusing in 2020 to get back to posting about my writing life as well. So back to the point in hand.
An author platform can range from a just a website or blog highlighting your books to being present on a multitude of social media sites and promoting your novels but also your writing life.
So what are the first steps to creating a platform?
1. Put up a website and/or blog and purchase a domain name for it.
2. Write articles and publish them online, utilizing your ‘expertise’ on whatever topic you know. It can be parenting, traveling, baking etc.
3. For fiction writers find literary magazines where you can publish short stories then share the links.
4. If you have a book ready for publication, there are numerous ways to gather interest. Post excerpts, the new cover, a character interview, events you are attending etc.
6. Start webinars and/or interviews online. And organize a blog book tour.
7. BLOG!! Make your posts interesting and make sure you edit! It also allows you to acquire an email list.
8. You do not need to be on every social media site – apart from anything else it is a lot of work! Decide which ones you are comfortable maintaining and how your theme/topic/message can be related on them.
9. Create a newsletter to send to your email list – giving glimpses into the narrative, special offers etc.
What author platform tips can you share?
What has your experience been creating your platform?
Mandy Eve-Barnett is a multi-genre author writing children’s, young adult and adult books. Every story has a basis of love, magic, and mystery. Mandy currently lives in Alberta, Canada but is originally from England. Her background is diverse and gives her rich experience to utilize in her writing. She has been a nursing professional, a business owner, and a sort after administration expert. She has traveled throughout Europe, parts of America and Canada and was born in Africa.
Mandy joined a writers group about 10 years ago and has not looked back. She shares about reading her first piece of writing to the group “I thought okay, I have to write something. So I write this very short piece and it had a twist at the end. So, you know, I was really nervous, but I read it and the room went quiet. I’m thinking, “NO OH!?” I’m never coming back again, it was obviously dreadful and they absolutely hated it. Then everyone went, Wow! They just loved it and that was the hook for me to have a reaction to something I’d written just was absolutely thrilling. I’m just thinking I have to do it again.”
Mandy is passionate about writing to the point of obsession and she succeeded in becoming a published author in record time. With eight books published since 2011 and one more launching in September 2020, she indulges her Muse in creative as well as freelance writing. Her venture into freelance writing has been successful in creating projects as diverse as social media posts, promotional literature, and professional biographies, to ghostwriting a marketing book. She also regularly contributes to the Never Been Better page in the Sherwood Park newspaper, has been published in several anthologies and collaborated in creating a ‘how to begin writing your memoir’s’ guide book for seniors.
Mandy regularly blogs and she encourages support and networking of all writers as a writing community advocate. She is also prolific on social media in a multitude of platforms. As the current Secretary of The Writers Foundation of Strathcona County and past President of the Arts & Culture Council of Strathcona County, she lives her creative life to the fullest.
As writers and authors, we are formidable in our ability to create narratives but we also have to learn how to market the ‘end product’ of those many months or even years of creativity. We become a book business.
The first avenue many authors take is social media, which can be seen as a ‘soft’ option. After all we are not up close and personal with the public but at arm’s length. However, due to the countless sites available just choosing the ‘right’ one or two can be overwhelming. Then there is the matter of maintaining our ‘presence’ on each platform. We need to research which avenues of promotion will work best not just for our genres but also our ability to sustain them. Do your research on similar authors in your genre and see what they use (and of course ‘follow’ them).
2. Following selected authors, genre based bloggers, book reviewers, and writing groups allows you to gain followers but also to learn about your particular genre and gain a reader base. When someone is interested in your genre they ‘search’ for more posts, articles, links and books within that specific field. While you are doing that follow 10 ‘friends’ of friends on Facebook and 100 people on Twitter – this can gain a wider audience. However, in light of these two platforms losing participants also follow people on Instagram. (We have to keep up with the ‘in’ thing!)
3. Improve your author bio on all platforms to entice and inform as many followers as possible on all sales sites, your blog and social media platforms. Ask yourself – does it reflect you as a writer as well as a person.
4. Use hashtags specific to writing, authors, books, genre and associated links – look at what other authors use.
5. Then there is the personal touch, which means organizing or being involved in author readings, attending book events and participating in Q&A panels. Search your local area for book related events, get to know your local bookstores, inquire at your library, join a local writing group, the wider your reach the easier it will be to find avenues of sale for your book.
6. Merchandise is another way of promoting your book. It can be as simple as custom bookmarks to T-shirts with the book cover/main character on the front. Make up a prize basket for a contest to be collected at an event (good photo opportunity to use on social media) or create an online contest for a free autographed copy of your book.
7. An easy promotion is to leave five of your author business cards in local businesses, at the doctor’s or dentist’s office, or anywhere you visit on a regular basis. Many places have community boards too so pin some cards or a poster of an event you are attending there too.
Do you have any promotion tips you would like to share?
Today’s question is: What steps do you take for a book launch?
Obviously, there are a multitude of on-line tips and many books & blogs covering this topic but have you found a creative way to get your new book noticed?
My new novella, Rython Legacy will be launched at Words in the Park on 28th September after numerous readers requested a sequel the The Rython Kingdom. It’s a nice problem to have – pressure from readers that’s for sure! I have spent time and effort writing the novella, finding a great illustrator and taking advice from my editing team. So my tips are:
Tease your readers with a cover reveal.
Create blog and social media posts regularly leading up to the launch.
Notify your readers of the new book launch venue with date and time.
Have sign by the author stickers and several pens.
Decorate your table to reflect the book’s theme/topic.
Now it’s your turn, please leave your responses in the comment section below.
This time around, I’m writing a screenplay. I see a new space opening up in Transformation/ Transformation thrillers. The inciting idea was watching a young man open his 23ANDme results and discovering that he was not related to either parent or his siblings.
How did you come up with the title?
Serf, in early Christian times ignorant and powerless French peasants worked the land, handing most of their hard earned labours to the local Lord.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
When change happens slowly people don’t necessarily notice it until it’s happened. Politicians are corrupt, and groups of young adults attempt to publically prove the consequence of a bad political decision can be overturned. They captures the unwanted government attention, just as they are about to graduate.
Anyone can capture anyone’s attention.
Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
It only takes one action to start a movement.
How much of the book is realistic?
It’s based on our normal North American history, but where one political decision made 4 years earlier launched a new direction, and how one privileged young man searches for answer to a personal dilemma in this new political environment.
Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
They are completely fictitious and living in my head.
Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?
Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?
This one is written specifically for the Netflix 5-year Series. No other sequel, but the books will spawn 2 more from the same Story World. So far, I have over 200 story outlines. My biggest problem isn’t coming up with ideas; it’s finding the time to write and to STICK TO and FINISH 1 story.
Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?
Honestly, I don’t have favorites. Each has their uniqueness, secrets, and quirks. I just jump from brain to brain when the moment calls.
Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?
Mystery, missing persons, and thrillers have always been my favourites. Today I see the transformational writing space opening up and am interested in producing transformational thrillers. Curious? The Matrix is one.
Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?
I used to be a seat of the pants style writer. Now I outline EVERYTHING to develop intriguing layers first, to ensure that it works. (Fiction) In business writing, you plan everything.
What is your best marketing tip?
It takes MONTH’s to launch a book properly.
Use your book as a tool to get interviews, lots of them!
Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?
Good question, as a digital marketing expert, social media could very well be the most disruptive tool ever seen, or when used effective, they greatest tool to grow your audience and sell more books, attend more conferences, and to maybe get a movie deal.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
It’s cathartic. It’s my outlet. It lets me release the ideas in my head.
What age did you start writing stories/poems?
Maybe 6. I may have rewritten my cartoon to run stories the way I wanted them to turn out. Fan Fiction circa @1983
Has your genre changed or stayed the same?
I’ve always writing the mysteries/missing person thrillers in fiction. For work, because social media and digital marking is ALWAYS changing, I’ve had to rewrite old books and keep putting out new ones. That’s why they are never in print.
What genre are you currently reading?
Thrillers, mystery, crime, Psychological drama’s in fiction – business and marketing books and biographies in non-fiction and biz.
Do you read for pleasure or research or both?
I use to read far more for pleasure, not I read mostly for work.
Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?
My brother from another mother. We are each other’s biggest content creation supporters.
Where is your favorite writing space?
Comfortable bustling coffee shops where I don’t know anyone.
Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?
I used to belong to Inklings until a few years back, most crime writing, but not for a few years. I belong to one of the many #12WeekYear now, for HIGH productivity
If you could meet one favorite author, who would it, be and why?
Two come to mind: For science and for decades I’ve always wanted to meet James Burke. These days, I’d love to interview Malcolm Gladwell.
If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?
I am partially connected to many cities. I’d like to live a winter to WRITE in Prague, Florence, or Seville, or most other locations where old cobble stone roads are the norm, little watering holes has people speaking English as a second language and the locals LOVE to share their stories, history, and folklore.
Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. For work, I regularly produce technical writing, copy writing, blogs, articles, even copy for explainer videos. For myself, I write Novels, Outlines and Screenplays.
Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?
I drink as I write all day; coffee mostly, then water, a specialty soda is a treat.
What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?
Start the next project. No rest for the wicked
TITLE: Online Research Paths: Fake or Real?
Once the internet became available to the masses, new opportunities to collect and post data fueled new research.
However, not all information online is true. Still, there are many rich information resources to collect information, post queries to request information, and apply listening tools to seek information not yet posted. There is truly no limit.
How can you use this great online resource to your advantage yet not waste value time?
This interactive class explores online search methods, queries, and untapped resources. Catherine invites you to bring your search queries, mobile devices, and questions.