How To Effectively Grow Your Author Platform By Guest @KatBiggie

You’ve finished your book – your baby, your passion, and now you’re ready to publish and market.

But are you really? Do you have an engaged audience that is ready to buy it? What are your expectations for your launch day? 5 books sold? 5000 books sold? Do you know that statistically speaking, if you want to sell 5000 books during the first week of launch, you either have to invest HEAVILY in marketing and promo opportunities, OR you’re going to need an email list or engaged group of over 25,000?

If you don’t have an email list of 25,000 or a Facebook group – and I stick to group not Facebook fan page, (although it’s certainly helpful to have a fan base of at least 25,000), it doesn’t mean you can’t have a successful book launch. It just means you need to adjust your expectations accordingly.

Most first-time authors that do not have a significant author platform will sell less than 500 books in the lifetime of their book. In fact, most self-published authors will sell less than 100 books. This doesn’t have to be your story. While a good marketing strategy is definitely going to help you increase those numbers, the reality is, you need an author platform.


What is an Author Platform?

It’s your fan base. It’s your followers. It’s your people. They might be on your email list, follow you on Twitter, or be a member of your Facebook group. They like to read your blog posts, your books, your Facebook updates. But not even all of them will buy your book. However, statistically speaking, the ones who actually join your email list and open your emails are the best shot you have (beyond your family and best friends, who, realistically speaking aren’t even a ‘sure thing’) at buying your books.

A common misunderstanding among new and unpublished authors is that once you’ve published your book and made it available through Amazon, IngramSpark, and other places, people will just automatically be able to find and purchase your book. There are so many writers who just hit publish and assume that the sales will find them.

This is a huge misunderstanding that leads to high levels of disappointment. If you haven’t done the work in preparing the target audience and growing your author platform to create a group of people who are ready and willing to buy your book, launch day may be terribly anticlimactic.

How Do You Build This Author Platform?

  1. Start Early – as soon as you know you’re going to write a book, start building the structures to allow people to find and follow you. A website, a Facebook page, a Twitter account. You don’t have to be EVERYWHERE but you do need to put down some roots and start growing something.
  2. Identify WHO your book is written for. This is so key. You must know who your target audience is. If you don’t know who you are trying to reach with your book, story, advice, self-help, I assure you, marketing will be a nightmare for you. This is a step so many authors completely overlook, yet, it will make such a massive difference in your outcome. Spend some time thinking about WHO the ideal person is for your book. If you’d like to learn more about this topic, I have an entire video presentation on how to identify your target audience at
  3. Create content that is appealing to your target audience and encourage them to get on your email list with a fantastic lead magnet. Or invite them to join your Facebook group. Or both. But the email list (as long as it’s being used!) is still the #1 marketing tool. The key is – whatever you use to get them on the list, and whatever you send to them need to be relevant to the topic you’re writing your book about. Or at least not completely unrelated. If you’re building a list for people who love to talk about gardening, they probably are not going to be interested in a book about how to teach your children computer coding. They might… but it’s unlikely.
  4. Seek opportunities for visibility: podcasts, online summits, online conferences, newsletter exchanges, anything like that that will get you in front of someone else’s audience who has the same target audience. If you’re writing a book about vampires, it does no good to do a newsletter swap with somebody who’s writing a book about controlling diabetes. This goes back to knowing your target audience and choosing opportunities that are related. Fiction authors certainly have more flexibility in this area, but you still have to have a basic understanding of who generally reads the genre you’re writing.

There are many ways you can tackle the platform growth, and if you feel overwhelmed by the process, I’d love to help you brainstorm and come up with a plan. I leave you with one last thought. It does no good to spend money to build a massive platform that is not interested in what you’re trying to sell. So paying for page likes, paying for followers, and creating appealing lead magnets just for the sake of building an email list don’t make any sense. Take that time and energy and invest it in learning about YOUR target market and how you appeal to them.

1000 raving fans is better than 1,000,000 who don’t care anything about you or your book.


Day 26 Giveaway

Alexa is offering a 30 minute 1-on-1 consultation (Value: $125). Be sure to comment below for your chance to win!

Alexa Bigwarfe…

…is a wife, mother, author, author coach, speaker, and publisher. Her writing career began after her infant daughter passed away at 2 days old.

She has published numerous books of her own and for many other writers and entrepreneurs through her author coaching and publishing business and hybrid-publishing company Kat Biggie Press ( Kat Biggie Press is dedicated to sharing women’s works of inspiration, self-help, and books that make the world a better place. Join her 5-day Author Platform Growing Challenge at

bigwarfe headshot

You can find her on

Facebook @WritepublishsellLLC

and on

Twitter @katbiggie


  1. Lexi on May 26, 2018 at 1:02 am

    This is just terrifying! I’m 3 months away from publishing my first book and drowning. Help!

    • Rachel Thompson on May 26, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Hi Lexi — okay, breathe. That’s the first step. 🙂

      Both Alexa and I have tons of helpful advice on our blogs (read through this entire month of #NaNoProMo posts alone to read tons of great expert advice as well from lots of experts).

      My book The BadRedheadMedia 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge gives you 30 days of assignments which will help you set up your author platform in easy to understand steps (in both ebook and print form).

      Don’t panic — you still have time to start connecting with readers and create your author brand. You CAN do this. It will be work yet it’s totally doable!

  2. D.Avery on May 26, 2018 at 3:22 am

    I have a friend who asks everyone for advice and even when the responses are solid and consistent, she doesn’t follow good advice if it’s not something she really wants to do.
    This informative article is filled with good advice…. sigh.

    • Rachel Thompson on May 26, 2018 at 11:09 am

      D., that’s really why I started this entire month of #NaNoProMo — here are tons of experts with amazing advice that WORKS. They are even offering their books, guides, tips, and giving away their time FREE. I mean, wow, right? And yet there are many authors who aren’t participating, or who simply tell me it’s just too overwhelming so they aren’t getting involved.

      It’s not easy work to succeed as an author. It’s a business, and to succeed we must be smart about it. Writing a book is hard work — yet it’s only one small part of it. Book marketing has always been part of the publishing BUSINESS. That’s the reality.

  3. Dana Lemaster on May 26, 2018 at 7:29 am

    Rachel and Alexa, thanks for an extremely helpful post. Just writing that first novel is a huge endeavor-it’s tempting to put off promotion entirely. Your post helps to explain why this is a bad move and also gives practical steps for creating a plan that works.

  4. Lisa A. Listwa on May 26, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    I’ve already learned a lot from hanging around where Alexa is. I always appreciate her straightforward, no-fluff approach to doing things. Simple and practical works for me.
    And this bit is really encouraging – You don’t have to be EVERYWHERE but you do need to put down some roots and start growing something. That’s comforting to me because having ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA feels very overwhelming. Concentrating on just one or two to start helps ease that feeling.

  5. Tom on May 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    With so many programs and social media platforms, it is unlikely that you will just find a critical mass of supporters on just one. You need to spread yourself out without spreading yourself too thin. Do a few things well rather than too many things poorly. I am very active on Twitter and a couple professional platforms. I have LinkedIn, but I am not managing it well presently. I’ve gotten my newsletter back on track and have started a series of monthly webinars. For now, I’m staying away from other platforms until I get LinkedIn chugging along properly. Sure, I have podcasts, special webinars, targeted outreach, and many other things in the plan. And I am bringing along some help now. Target is to get LinkedIn functioning more productively before opening new avenues.

  6. Kelly Wilson on May 26, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I’m starting on my 5th book and thinking and planning the marketing for this currently untitled work. This article was so timely, thank you.

  7. Daniella Shepard on May 26, 2018 at 3:54 pm

    While I have a good idea of my target audience, I definitely need to spend more time cultivating readers in that group. Thanks for the article, great advice!

  8. Dylann on May 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    Wow…I definitely need to get cracking on this! Thanks for the great tips!

  9. Iola on May 26, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    I’m not yet published, and I’d definitely echo the importance of focusing on target reader (or genre – one is often an approximation of the other).

    I’ve taken part in a couple of list-building promotions, but continue to find the people who’ve signed up directly on my website are the most engaged. So I’d definitely echo your final point – there is no point in paying for likes or follows. Organic growth is better.

  10. Lissa Johnston on May 27, 2018 at 8:13 am

    As with most things related to writing, I’m doing everything backwards. I’m in the process of reverse-engineering this strategy to fit the project I’m working on now. At least I can focus on engaging with my target audience now that most of the other platform pieces are finally coming together. Oh and btw the link to your target audience video is broken but is this the same video?

  11. Claire Gem on May 28, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Great article, but the link for the video on how to find your target audience doesn’t work! I’m very interested in this information. Can you help?

  12. Dena Garson on May 29, 2018 at 11:08 am

    I’m afraid that I am the author who writes a little bit of everything in the romance genre. AND I don’t write series. I find it difficult specialize my marketing because my audience varies with each new book. *sigh*

  13. Tammi Terrell Morris on May 29, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for this information! Can’t
    wait to read more from you.

  14. Sharon on May 29, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Great tips! I wished I had met you before I published my book with someone else!

  15. Tammy L Kennington on May 29, 2018 at 6:55 pm

    Thank you for the insight and advice. I’ve been working on platform for a few years and haven’t made much traction. This is very helpful! Sincerely, Tammy

Leave a Comment