4 Top Tips for Creating A Spectacular Author Platform
What is this platform thingy people keep talking about? Why do people use this term? Many authors are thoroughly confused by how to start marketing their work (whether it’s a blog or book – any genre).
According to well-known marketing definitions (and pulled from this 2010 article by Dan Schwabel):
‘A marketing platform is a mass communication tool that allows you to convert subscribers (readers/fans) into leads. Marketing, by definition, uses a mix of place, product, promotion and price to create a transaction between a buyer and a seller.’
You may be the writer but make no mistake: you are also the seller. Let’s look at each component individually: place, product, promotion, and price.
With the plethora of options in which to help your work, book, or service gain exposure, it can sometimes be difficult to know exactly what works best. A typical basic platform includes:
A more advanced platform contains all that, and:
The point of all this: create a fan base. Make it easy for people to find you. Share your voice.
Take it slow. You don’t need to be all places at once. Or, if budget allows, hire someone who knows what they’re doing.
What have you done to ensure your product (book) is the absolute best it can possibly be?
In order to do that, you must:
You don’t want to buy something that is disappointing in quality, right? You would most likely complain and return it…maybe even leave a scathing review. Then why would you sell something that is? Remember, people will review your work.
(And know now, that even if the Midwest Book Review (scroll down to see the Broken Pieces review if you’d like) or Kirkus give you a spectacular review, you will receive 1-stars. Don’t take it personally.)
The onus is on you to make your book the best it possibly can be. Readers are smart. If we hate the book, or find it riddled with errors, that’s on you.
Basic marketing principle: start with a spectacular product.
This is where I find people become lost and resort to spamming links repeatedly on Twitter to their own work. I’m an advocate of Twitter and of sharing occasional links – Twitter is a wonderful free marketing platform. However, it’s not a free advertising, one-way broadcast platform. BIG difference.
There are a number of ways to approach promotion (including pulse pricing, discussed below). Let’s review just some of many options:
I’ve found some tour companies to be amazingly effective with very little investment. There are more expensive tour options you can book, but if budget an issue you can do it effectively on the cheap. Ask your author friends for recommendations, Google various options, check out book bloggers in your genre.
All this creates buzz.
I started with a Blogger blog and soon found I was spinning my wheels when it came to SEO/SMO and Google Rank. Don’t make my mistake: start out first with WordPress.org (not .com), where you can create a site that has a blog. You’ll write more than one book, right? This is your home. Invite us in.
This can be confusing and tricky. What’s the best price for your book? Is it dependent on genre? Length? Both?
It’s a little bit of everything. If we look at Amazon, any book priced at $2.99 or above makes a 70% royalty. Not bad. There are many factors to take into consideration when pricing your book:
a) Average price: If books in your genre are priced around $4.99, start there. See how your sales go. You can always lower it.
I’ve personally found that because books from The Big Five are generally starting to be priced anywhere from $1.99 up to $7.99, the midpoint for a quality indie is around $4.99. And according to Digital Book World (March, 2013)*: the average price of a best-selling eBook dipped below $8.00, driven mostly by $2.99 and $1.99 big-six titles.
*Keep in mind: they are discussing Big Five bestsellers here.
b) First book. I spoke with a lovely fella the other day who asked me to take a look at his first eBook on Amazon. So exciting! His price: $9.99. I gasped.
Me: Dude, Big Six bestsellers are priced at $9.99. Him: Wow, I had no idea. I just took a stab.
He repriced it at $6.99 (which I still think is too high). When I release a new book, or work with a client who does, I suggest a lower price for a week or so, or even taking it free if they’re KDP Select. This helps immensely with rankings and, as you see above, most books priced between $1.99 and $2.99 are selling the most. Or, if you go with the higher price, lower it once in a while — it helps with rankings! A lower (good) ranking means more exposure (better) and hopefully more sales (best).
c) Backlist (or lack of one). If this is your first book, I suggest a lower price. Studies show that prices ending in 9 sell much better than 4 or 7).
Once your newer books come out, you can price your earlier works lower. Readers are then more inclined to read your entire collection.
d) Promotions. There are so many ways to go, as we discussed above.
It really is endless, limited only by imagination, time, and budget.
I hope this article has helped you identify areas for you to focus on or learn more about. Any questions at all, please hit me here.
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All content © 2017 by BadRedhead Media aka Rachel Thompson, author, unless otherwise specified. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to use short quotes provided a link back to this page and proper attribution is given to me as the original author.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.