How To Grow Your Author Platform by Guest @KatBiggie

There is nothing worse than doing all the things to have a well-written, edited, fantastic book that completely flops when you launch it. That’s all of our biggest fears as writers, right? Okay, creatives have a lot of fears, but this one: “What if nobody buys my book?” is at the top of the list.

Many writers think the hardest part about publishing a book is the writing, the editing, and all of the steps to produce and publish a high-quality book.

Once you’re done with that – you market!

Uh oh. The realization quickly sets in that either you don’t really know your target audience and where to find them, or you haven’t spent the time growing an audience of true fans.

What is the Author Platform and Why Is it So Important?

“Author Platform” is a term you’ll hear frequently as an indie author.

The author platform is your scope of influence as a writer. Simply put, it’s your fans. The platform includes current readers and anyone who may become a reader in the future.

Most of us have heard of the phenomenon of 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Her author platform played a major role in the book going “viral.” How did an author, who originally self-published her book on Amazon, wind up selling over 150 million copies of the book to become the #1 bestselling book in the entire history of Random House?

Many things came together to make that happen, but we can start with one very basic attribution: when the book published with Vintage Press, she already had a massive author platform and a whole lot of “buzz.”

How To Grow Your Author Platform by guest @KatBiggie via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #platform #author #buzz

How Do You Create This Author Platform?

In my experience, this will be a little different depending on your genre, but what is the same is that all writers of all genres must have an audience to sell their book. There are many ways to accomplish this, but here are some simple ways to start.

Tip #1 To Build Your Author Platform: Identify Your Target Market

When asked who your book is for, the answer should never be “everyone.”

Everyone does not want to buy your book. The goal of building your author platform is to identify the people that are interested in your topic and will want to follow your progress, be a part of your community, and buy your book.

It’s worth it to take some time to build an “avatar” of your ideal reader:

  • How old are they?
  • What sex?
  • Where are they located?
  • Do have they have any particular interests?

Once you identify some details about this person, it’s a lot easier to find them and get their attention. Once you have their attention, you need to get them reading your content, on your email list, following you on social media, or joining your community. It sounds so easy, but it can be a lot of work.

Your goal in building your author platform is to find your true fans, and that’s a lot easier to do when you are targeting the right people. True fans will build buzz around your book, buy your book, probably in multiple formats, and probably most importantly – sell the book for you. Doesn’t that sound amazing?

Tip #2 to Build Your Author Platform: Write Buzzworthy Content

Write content that people want to talk about and share. Word of mouth marketing will be your biggest tool for building a fanbase. “Buzz” will sell your books.

“Buzz” is truly the factor that led to the enormous success of 50 Shades. This buzz was created by E.L. James’ true fans. Her author platform. Upon republication with Vintage Press, the book sold like hot cakes. It debuted at the #1 spot on the NY Times combined print and e-book fiction bestseller list. You might think it had something to do with being picked up by a Random House imprint that led to this success.

But that’s not the case. E.L. James had already built a huge fanbase of over five million fans by publishing her writing through She was writing and sharing and spending the time growing her fans, doing the work to build her author platform, without any idea of what that would mean in the future.

Tip #3 to Build Your Author Platform: Tell Everyone About Your Book!

Don’t be afraid to let people know you are writing or have written a book. Most of your friends and family will be really excited and want to celebrate with you. And don’t assume that they already know you’re writing or have published a book. Unless you told them directly, they probably don’t.

Your true fans, your author platform, will not only buy your book, but they will also help sell it for you. So, it’s worth spending some time to find them and grow them and give them content to buzz about.

No Matter What: You Have to Do the Work

It is highly unusual and unlikely for a book to just fly off the shelves by the millions without a mix of magic and a lot of work. There are literally millions of different ways to achieve this, all based on your genre and goals. There are many simple things you can start doing daily to work to build the platform, like visiting forums and engaging with other readers.

Do not despair if you haven’t started yet. But get to it!


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One spot in Alexa’s new WritePublishSell course: Growing Your Author Platform (a $497 value). Wow!

How To Grow Your Author Platform by guest @KatBiggie via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #platform #author #buzz

Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!

All comments must be left prior to midnight on Friday, May 31st, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Saturday, June 1st.

Good luck!

Alexa Bigwarfe

Alexa Bigwarfe is a USA Today Best-Selling author, and author coach/publishing shepherd through her company Write|Publish|Sell. Alexa enjoys providing advice on building your author platform on her Author Daily Minute Daily Skills briefing on Amazon Alexa ( ). Join her 5-day Author Platform Growing Challenge at for more action steps to grow your author platform.

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  1. Raiscara Avalon on May 22, 2019 at 4:18 am

    The bane of my existence lol. Definitely something I’m working on, but like branding, still haven’t figured it all out yet. And I’d love to win because it’s obviously something I NEED to learn!

  2. Rebecca Neely on May 22, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Great post! I’d love to win this giveaway, as I’m working hard to build my platform. One thing in particular I’m working hard on is making the emails I send to my VIP readers engaging and valuable. I’m in this for the long haul, and I want to learn how to build a good foundation. Thanks so much for the opportunity. 🙂

  3. Linda Moran on May 22, 2019 at 6:34 am

    I so need this! I am working to rebrand myself so I’m not locked into a slot depending on what I write. I’ve learned tips over the years, none of which have really worked, but then I didn’t throw myself into the marketing. I need to do that!!

  4. Jennifer Jank on May 22, 2019 at 10:14 am

    This sounds like an amazing opportunity! I have one NF book published, another on the way, and a novel as well. I’d love some help with creating a platform for my fiction and my nonfiction.

  5. Dayna Colvin on May 22, 2019 at 5:28 pm

    Very cool, Rachel and Alexa. I love the wonderful post and this is my biggest fear and always has been, regardless of whether or not my book is “hot” and I see it as a best seller. I feel very unsettled about it and I need to learn how to get better at promoting my brand. Tonight’s chat sounds great and I will do my best to be there. Thank you.

  6. McKenna on May 22, 2019 at 6:24 pm

    Hah! I keep looking at the various ways to grow my platform and running into stumbling blocks. Some things I can’t change (like living in a conservative town and the potential backlash, given the genre I write in) but there are other areas in which I can improve–I just need the guidance. I know I’m not making good use of my email list, and yet I enjoy blogging and love engaging with people on social media. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? But most of the time I post something and get crickets chirping. I’d love to learn how to do more with what I have to work with!

  7. Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine on May 22, 2019 at 6:34 pm

    I am pretty rubbish at number 3. It’s not easy when you’re introverted AND shy AND anti-social.

  8. Michelle on May 22, 2019 at 6:40 pm

    Indeed, an author’s work doesn’t stop after finishing his manuscript. Perhaps, even after being represented by an agent! I am so glad to have found #bookmarketingchat and having read this blog! The success stories of authors like E.L. James are what drives me to continue writing and holding on to my dreams of one day getting my book published. Will focus on one platform and probably start a blog. Time to create some buzz!

  9. Alexandria on May 22, 2019 at 6:41 pm

    I so need an author platform. I think I have one, but I’m not sure, and I don’t know how to create BUZZ!! So I need some serious help!!

  10. J.R. Bournville on May 22, 2019 at 6:53 pm

    Building a platform for my books is something I keep coming back to, but with minimal success. Alexa makes some excellent points here, and with a little luck, I’ll have more success in the future.

  11. Dana Lemaster on May 22, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Your article comes at a time when I really need it. I thought I’d created my author platform but have come to realize my concept needs work, probably a complete overhaul. It’s frustrating, but there’s nothing to do but plunge in. I’ll certainly reread your article and will buy your book. Thank you for setting out everything so clearly.

    Dana Lemaster

  12. Justin Bienvenue on May 22, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    Well said and great article! The thing I really like about this is how it speaks to me. It’s simple and all of these are doable and obtainable if you just put in a little work and research. Its sort of a look inside yourself and look at your book and see if you can help your book so it can help you.

  13. Tim on May 23, 2019 at 7:35 am

    I appreciate the clarity of this article. I have tried to clarify my audience and a losing readers. This helps me realize a few things thanks.

  14. Susan J Bruce on May 24, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I have genre butterfly tendencies. I innately want to flit from genre to genre like a butterfly flits from flower to flower, collecting all kinds of nectar as it goes on its way. This means that I find it really, really hard to define my ideal reader and the focus of my social media presence. I’ve been focusing on branding myself and in the process have narrowed down what I want to write and who I want to write it for. But it’s still hard. I’d love to win your course as it would help me move further along the track to having the social media presence that I need. I’m currently building my website and it would be great to have your help to polish it. I’m also interested in mailing list automation. I find it really hard to write those emails. I believe I have an audience – I just need help to find them and nurture them :).

  15. Christine on May 25, 2019 at 12:09 am

    A long, long process. I’m aiming at the slow and steady build and have learned a lot from posts like this.

  16. Carolyn Miller on May 25, 2019 at 1:22 am

    So many things I STILL need to learn! Would love the chance to win 🙂

  17. HelenH on May 27, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    the platform for my non-fiction is no longer valid and I’m looking for ways to improve my fiction platform. What worked in one part of the country no longer does in the conservative area I now live.

  18. Tui Snider on May 30, 2019 at 6:49 am

    I came to this post through a link from Alexa’s helpful newsletter. When I saw she was on Rachel’s blog, I had to click because I love Rachel. I learn so much from her!

    Unlike many of my writer pals, I actually rather enjoy creating marketing strategies, then looking back to see what worked and what flopped. I’m currently revamping my marketing strategies, so winning this would be fabulous! But, even if I don’t win, I thank you both for all that you do to support other authors. 🙂

  19. Dena Garson on May 30, 2019 at 7:41 am

    Why? Because I could use all the help I can get in this area!
    I signed up for your book too – thanks so much for that!

  20. Sarah on May 30, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    I would love to win a spot in Alexa’s course because I’ve written an amazing book and I would love to have more buzz around it.

  21. […] is how a seasoned writer explained an author platform to me at the time that helped me make sense of it […]

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