8 platform-building tips for authors who want to publish a book in 2010

Posted December 21st @ 12:05 pm by Roger C. ParkerPrint

Monday’s planning tip for authors

An author platform is a marketing process based on frequent messages, low-cost distribution, and control. Platforms help authors consistently and efficiently keep in touch with their market, constantly attracting new prospects while building lasting relationships with previous readers and clients.

It’s important to emphasize that an author’s market includes potential literary agents as well as acquisitions editors for major publishers who are actively searching for subject area experts.

Today’s agents and editors actively search the web–the same way that your market does–searching for new voices. The result? Editors and publishers will often contact bloggers whose posts represent new ideas and fresh approaches.

The relatively new phenomenon of editors searching for new authors was described in detail in several recent Published & Profitable interviews.

Proof of the power of a blog-based platform

For example, Gar Reynold’s Presentation Zen blog, soon after it began, attracted the attention of several editors, including Michael Nolan from New Riders Press. Each, in a pair of separate interviews, reinforced the role that Gar’s blog played in their connection.

Gar’s blog paved the way for an immediately-successful book that has mainted its sales momentum and paved the way for Gar’s new book, Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations.

Similar “publisher discovers new author” scenarios have been repeated over and over again by other Published & Profitable interview guests. Clearly, author platforms pay big dividends and pave the way for writing success, even before you write your book.

Tips for creating an author platform

Here are some tips to bear in mind when exploring author platform options:

  1. Simple is better. The simpler it is for you to update your platform, the better. The easiest platforms to work with are blogs, created with easy-to-use software like WordPress,  (the foundation of this blog). Blogging software automatically formats your words, making it easy for you to add and edit audios, graphics, and videos on a consistent basis.
  2. Inexpensive is better. Instead of paying great amounts of money for what might turn out to be an over-designed and inflexible website, one that only your designer can update, a simple blog you can update yourself makes infinitely more sense. What you save on design and programming costs can be more effectively invested in pay-per-click advertising to drive traffic to your blog.
  3. Know when to delegate. Although many robust blogging software programs are free, and templates–called themes–are very inexpensive, it often makes sense to have a graphic designer create your blog for you. As always, Design Once, Produce Often. (This was the theme of my Design to Sell book and website.)
  4. Create a blog content plan. Be a proactive, rather than reactive, blogger. Instead of waiting for inspiration to hit, identify the topics you want to cover in your blog, and know in advance which day, or days, of the week when you are going to post new content.
  5. Recycle and reuse blog content. Coordinate your blog posts with your other marketing and product-creation activities. View each blog post as a “first draft” of a topic you’re going to later write about in greater detail in your book or in your newsletter. Make each word count twice, if not three or four times!
  6. Use blog posts to try-out new ideas. Invite comments and feedback on your blog posts. Use your blog posts to find out what your market thinks about your latest ideas.
  7. Create a marketing synergy. Avoid the temptation to view your blog in isolation from your other marketing activities. Instead, view your blog as the “hub” which connects your social media marketing with your newsletter and–ultimately–your marketing funnel.
  8. Know where you are before you begin. Before you begin to blog, take an inventory of your current online presence. How and where do you shot up online when you Google your name, or your firm’s name? Find out where you stand now, so you can establish realistic goals and work towards them, one blog post at a time.

Learn more by attending a free teleclass

On Tuesday, December 22, I am hosting a teleseminar entitled An Author Guide to Evaluating Their Online Presence.

Learn how to evaluate your online presence for free

Attend my free call, an Author Guide to Evaluating Your Online Presence, on Tuesday, December 22, at 4:00 PM. All Published & Profitable friends and members are invited to attend and take part.

I’ll be outlining a 3-step process to evaluate your online presence and distributing a note-taking sheet and an Online Evaluation Worksheet to help you take this critical first step to a strong author platform.

How to attend this call

There will be plenty of time during the call for you to ask questions and share comments and concerns with other participants while receiving valuable coaching on various aspects of evaluating your online presence. My call takes place Tuesday, December 22 at 4:00 PM EST. To attend call 218-486-1616 and enter PIN 513391#.

2 Comments

  1. Steve
    December 21, 2009

    Your blog loads OK, but something seems wrong with the main site: http://www.publishedandprofitable.com/

    The pages are all loading blank (tried in firefox and safari). I would have used the contact page there, but it’s loading blank, too!

  2. Roger C. Parker
    December 21, 2009

    Dear Steve:
    Did you try visiting Published and Profitable’s Sample Content page? http://www.publishedandprofitable.com/public/department2.cfm

    Published & Profitable is a membership site: members pay a monthly subscription fee to access the more than 500 pages of audios, templates, and other content.

    The Sample Content page, however, is open to all visitors.

    If you get a chance, could you scroll down the Sample Content page and visit some of the linked pages.

    I’m very sorry you experienced difficulty, but thank you for visiting. What kind of book have you written, or are you interested in writing?

    Roger

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