As mentioned in yesterdays WNFiN post, when a publisher or acquisition editor examines a prospective author's nonfiction book proposal, he or she will look long and hard at a number of things that have little to do with that writer's writing. In particular, purchase of a manuscript depends to a great extent upon a proposal section called the "Author's Platform." If "platform" represents new terminology to you, it's time to become familiar with this word...very familiar, very fast.
A platform consists of:
- expert status
- numerous appearances on radio and Internet talk shows and television talk and news shows
- frequent quest blogs
- a well-known presence in on-line forums and social networks
- large numbers of followers on social networking sites
- popular videos or podcasts
- frequent interviews on other peoples’ podcasts
- your own Internet, radio or television show
- a multitude of published articles or books in both print and Internet publications
- an extremely large mailing list
- frequent talks and presentations given to small, medium and large groups
Now, you could argue that most of these things I've listed have little to do with being an author or writing. And to a certain extent would be right. (And most writers don't want to spend any time or effort on any of these activities.) However, in today's publishing world...in today's nonfiction publishing world in particular, all of these things have everything to do with getting published, because they have everything to do with building an author's platform. The more of these platform elements you include in your day-to-day activities, the more likely you will be to sell your nonfiction book. You must build a tall, wide and strong platform for a publisher to take you and your work seriously.
That said, ways exist to build a platform online. In fact, more ways pop up every day. So, if you really don't want to spend your time away from the comfort of your home and speaking to audiences--traditionally the best way to build a platform--or you just hate getting up in front of a group of people, you can build you platform in other ways.
Stephanie Chandler, author of The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leverage the Internet to Sell More Books, From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, eBooks and Information Products and LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business, initially built her platform online. For this reason, I thought she'd be a great expert guest blogger to tell WNFiN readers how to follow in her footsteps. She suggests 10 ways to build your author platform online.
10 Ways to Build Your Author Platform Online
By Stephanie Chandler
- Launch and optimize your website: No matter where you are in the process, a website is essential to build an audience, share samples of your work, showcase your accomplishments, attract media and impress publishing professionals.
- Host a blog: A blog can be a wonderful creative outlet for a writer, not to mention a savvy promotion tool. Update it frequently (three times per week) and your audience will find you. To start yours, check out www.Typepad.com or www.Wordpress.com.
- Update online profiles: Many sites allow you to post a bio with your public profile. Make sure you have several versions of your bio readily available in short, medium and long formats. Showcase your expertise in your subject matter, mention your book(s) and always include a link to your site and/or blog.
- Publish a newsletter: Build loyal fans for life by publishing an interesting electronic newsletter with content related to your book(s). Include a sign-up box on every page of your site. Get started with www.ConstantContact.com or www.iContact.com.
- Form online partnerships: Find people who reach a similar target audience, and look for ways to team up and promote each other. You can publish articles on each other’s websites or newsletters, host an event or contest together or even share a blog. Be creative and pool your resources.
- Promote with articles: Write for industry publications and related websites to build your credibility. Writing opportunities are abundant on the Internet! You can also make your articles available for reprint through sites like www.ezinearticles.com, www.ideamarketers.com and www.goarticles.com.
- Contact Bloggers: Search blog directories such as www.Technorati.com to locate blogs that cover subjects related to yours. Contact bloggers to inquire about book reviews, guest posts, interviews and other ways you can work together.
- Be a guest on Internet radio shows: Podcasts, teleseminars and Internet radio shows provide a fantastic opportunity for exposure. Unlike traditional radio where you might be interviewed for 10 minutes, online shows typically have guests on for up to an hour. An added bonus: listeners are often at their computers ready to buy. To find relevant shows, search Google for keywords and look at shows archived on iTunes. Also check out sites like www.blogtalkradio.com, www.alltalkradio.net, www.wsradio.com, www.womensradio.com, and www.planetteleclass.com.
- Leverage social media: Sites like LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com and Twitter.com are ripe for finding and building an audience. Create an interesting profile and get active in social networking communities. Your biggest cost will be in your time, so spend it wisely, and identify the best opportunities to expand your reach. Here are some helpful tools: www.tweetdeck.com, www.hootsuite.com and www.ping.fm.
- Be seen and heard everywhere. Marketing is all about repeat exposure. Build your brand by getting known for your expertise. Participate in all of the above suggestions and more. Contact the media, go out and speak, write articles for trade publications, and find new ways to reach your target audience.
About the Author
Stephanie Chandler is an author of several business and marketing books, including The Author’s Guide to Building an Online Platform: Leverage the Internet to Sell More Books, From Entrepreneur to Infopreneur: Make Money with Books, eBooks and Information Products and LEAP! 101 Ways to Grow Your Business.
She is also founder and CEO of www.AuthorityPublishing.com, which provides custom book publishing and author marketing services for business, self-help and other non-fiction books. A frequent speaker at business events and on the radio, Stephanie has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, BusinessWeek, Inc.com and many other media outlets. Visit www.StephanieChandler.com for author and speaker information. Additional resources for entrepreneurs, authors and speakers are available at www.BusinessInfoGuide.com.
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Also check out Nina's ebook: Using the Internet to Build Your PLATFORM One Article at a Time,
8 Tips for Getting Publicity, Exposure andExpert Status by Providing Free Copy On Line