Tips: How to Create Your Author Platform Basics by Guest @IolaGoulton

As a freelance fiction editor with a degree in marketing, I’m passionate about helping authors publish the best book possible. Why? Because a great product (book) is your first and best marketing tool.

Basic Number One: Have a Great Book

As a book reviewer, I’m often approached to review published books that should never have been published. That’s not a matter of reader preference (although I am of the view that the world would be a better place without memoirs from people like reality TV “stars,” and most politicians).  

Saying some books should not have been published is a statement of objective fact: some books are published before they are ready. For example, if a book repeatedly uses straight quotes and curly quotes in the same paragraph, then it hasn’t been adequately edited or proofread.

The problem for many first-time authors is that they don’t know what they don’t know. And many obsess about straight vs. curly quotes when they should be learning to show, not tell, or to use point of view consistently. (FYI, curly quotes are best, but you can use straight quotes if you prefer. But be consistent).

That’s why I’m offering one lucky commenter* the opportunity to have their first 5,000 words edited by a RITA®-winning romance editor (that would be me).

*I’m a fiction editor who specializes in Christian fiction, sweet romance, and women’s fiction. I’m sorry, If you’ve written dark horror, then I am not your dream editor. But I can point you to a great editor who loves horror.

So, the first step in successfully marketing your book is having a great book and publishing it professionally (Frances Caballo shares her top tips in this post).

Basic Number Two: Have an Author Platform

The second step is having a home base online: an author platform.

This might seem self-evident, especially if you’ve followed most or all of the #NaNoProMo posts this month. But I do come across published authors who don’t even have the basics in place: website, email list, and basic social media links.

It annoys reviewer-me when I want to promote an author but can’t, because the author doesn’t have anything for me to share or promote beyond an outdated Facebook page.

Yes, reviewers promote books. That’s why we’re called influencers, and why influencer marketing is such an important part of the modern marketing mix (and why the FTC has guidelines on influencer marketing).

Connecting With Book Reviewers and Book Bloggers

No, I’m not talking about authors paying Kylie Jenner $10,000 to post a picture of their book. I’m talking about providing reviewers and book bloggers with a free ebook in the hope they’ll review it.

Great bloggers do more than just read the book and write a review. They:

  • Review on their own blog or website.
  • Link to the author’s website (providing a valuable backlink).
  • Review on Amazon or Barnes & Noble or other retail sites.
  • Review on Goodreads, Litsy, or other bookish social networks.
  • Share their review on their own social media profiles.
  • Share their review in relevant Facebook groups.
  • Create quote memes and share them on social media sites such as Instagram and Pinterest.
  • Create beautiful #Bookstagram flat lays and share on Instagram and other social networks.
  • Offer giveaways or other incentives for people to visit and comment on their blog post.]
  • Share their giveaway graphic on social media.

A reviewer can easily spend 8-10 hours in reading, reviewing, and promoting their review. That’s time they’re spending promoting your book. Free.

Tips: How To Create Your Author Platform Basics by Guest @IolaGoulton via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #AuthorPlatform #author #platform #basics

User-Generated Content

There is a name for this kind of promotion: User Generated Content (UGC). It’s not spam, because it’s being shared by users—readers and reviewers and bloggers and influencers.

  • If you create a meme featuring your favorite quote from your book, it’s promotion.
  • If you create a dozen memes and share them every ten minutes on Twitter, it’s spam.
  • If I create a meme featuring my favorite quote from your book, it’s influencing.
  • If you like or share or retweet my comment and give me credit, then it’s sharing influencer content.

Which meme is more likely to get you (as a reader) to check out the book? The meme created by the author, or the meme created by a fan?

Yes, that’s UGC in action.


Sharing influencer content is self-promotion. But it’s not spam, because you didn’t create the content. You’re sharing someone else’s content—which means it’s about them as much as it’s about you. Sharing review and other user-generated content is a subtle form of self-promotion. As long as you don’t go overboard: too many retweets of reviews, and it will cross the line.

But, you have to have an active author platform to see this sharing and benefit from it.

For example, many book bloggers will link to your website in their review. This provides you with a backlink, which is good for SEO. You can return the favor by creating a page or post that links to your favorite reviews (which means your reviewers get a backlink as well).

Email List

And having a link to your website means readers can find and sign up to your email list. Because you do have an email list, right? 

Social Media

You also need profiles on the major social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. I’m surprised by how many authors aren’t on Twitter (a subject I address in this blog post: Dear Author, You Need to Be on Twitter).

Having a presence on the major platforms means you can monitor your mentions and Like or thank reviewers and influencers. Most authors don’t, so we remember and love the authors who do! But to find those mentions, you need to be on the network.

Basic Number Three: Pull It All Together

Website, Email List, and Social Media Profiles: Those are the basics of an author platform. It’s not hard—you can set it all up in a week if you know what to do. Now you have a start!

If you don’t have an author platform and don’t know where to start, check out my Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge. It’s a 40-day email course that takes you through everything you need to do to identify your brand and develop a branded website and social media platform.



Rachel has twisted my arm, and today I have two giveaways to offer to two lucky commenters!

  1. Edit of up to 5,000 words of fiction (Christian fiction, sweet romance, and women’s fiction only) manuscript (worth $199).
  2. One enrollment in the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge (worth $69).

Tips: How To Create Your Author Platform Basics by Guest @IolaGoulton via @BadRedheadMedia and @NaNoProMo #AuthorPlatform #author #platform #basics #basics

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!

Iola Goulton

Iola Goulton 400 x 400

Iola Goulton is a New Zealand book reviewer, freelance editor, and author, writing contemporary Christian romance with a Kiwi twist.

Iola holds a degree in marketing, has a background in human resource consulting, works as a freelance editor, and has developed the Kick-Start Your Author Platform Marketing Challenge, an email course for authors wanting to establish their online platform.

When she’s not working, Iola is usually reading or writing her next book review. Iola lives in the beautiful Bay of Plenty in New Zealand (not far from Hobbiton) with her husband, son, and cat.


For a more detailed plan on developing your book marketing, purchase Rachel’s new book,
The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge
Now on Amazon!
Readers’ Favorite Silver Award Winner! 

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Get On That, Would Ya?


  1. Lexi on May 24, 2019 at 4:53 am

    Love the clear explanation of sharing/ spamming. Neatly put!

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:12 pm

      I’m glad you found that helpful. However, I would add that spam is in the eye of the beholder, and what your true fan sees as a fun post, a lesser fan might see as spam.

  2. Jena on May 24, 2019 at 5:05 am

    Thank you for the solid info! I’m a writer who has expanded into book reviewing and blogging- Love it! I was just thinking- Gee, I’d like to learn more about being a more effective influencer- and here’s your post.

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:14 pm

      One of the best parts of reviewing is when someone says they bought a book based on my review and really enjoyed it. I also think reviewing is a great way to connect with future readers.

  3. Raiscara Avalon on May 24, 2019 at 1:04 pm

    Excellent post! Still working on getting a proper book out, but I do have my own site and am practically everywhere online lol.

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:17 pm

      Well done in getting the platform sorted before you publish! This is one area where it does help to have an unusual name like Raiscara – it’s pretty, and it makes you easy to find.

  4. Rita Stella Galieh on May 24, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    So much to do but here are the steps. I’m saving this for when I’m able to throw myself wholeheartedly into it!

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:19 pm

      Life has seasons, and I know you’re in a busy season right now. This will all be waiting when you’re ready for it.

  5. Christine on May 25, 2019 at 12:13 am

    Crystal clear as always. Love your blogs, love your editing!

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:20 pm

      Thank you, Christine 🙂

  6. Lauren on May 25, 2019 at 5:50 am

    The Author Platform Marketing Challenge would be awesome! I’ve started on some of this, but I’m severely limited by my funding and expertise. (In other words: I’m broke and I don’t know what I’m doing. Help me. Lol)

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:21 pm

      That’s why I created the Challenge – for people who know they need to build a platform, but have no idea where to start 🙂

  7. Heather L on May 25, 2019 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I love seeing people in the know give back to those of us just starting our journey. I’d love to have a review of 5k words of my newest fiction book (just finished last week). Why? Because it’s impossible to edit our own work, we’re too close to it and I believe the more eyes and feedback the better.

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, it is impossible to see the faults in our own work! I find that myself – I read a blog post I published a few months back, and find missing words or a horrendous spelling mistake. And that’s just the easy stuff – it’s even harder for us to tell if we’ve been clear on things like character motivations, because we forget our readers don’t know our characters like we do.

  8. peter walker on May 27, 2019 at 3:20 am

    I’ve just finished my debut book (a series of thought-provoking Christian allegorical short stories) and am currently in the process of finding a publisher (fingers crossed!). As an author with loads of imagination and plenty of story ideas bubbling away in my fertile cranium, what I would love to do now is just drop everything else and start work on a followup book. But being very aware of the cold hard reality of what it takes to be a successful author in today’s risk-averse book publishing industry, I know that instead I have to be focussing for some time on building as influential an author’s platform as possible (so that a publisher will want to take my book on, and then after that has happened, in order to ‘spread the word’ about my book). Being a relative newbie at this game, I welcome all the help I can get, and this course sounds like a great way to develop this expertise!

    • Iola on May 27, 2019 at 2:26 pm

      Good luck in finding a publisher!

      One thing I’ve found is that most of the top publishers require authors to have a platform (which you know), and a literary agent. I’ve written a blog post about that:

      After you’ve read that, I suggest signing up to my email list because then I’ll send you a list of 150+ Christian fiction publishers. Of course, self-publishing is also an option, and a platform is vital for self-published authors as well.

  9. Ben Russell on May 29, 2019 at 5:40 am

    I’d love to win the giveaway. An edit could help boost readership in my first book. The marketing could give me a good shot in the arm for marketing.

    Regarding your marketing ideas – I love the idea of Memes from my books. I use memes in my monthly newsletter, but I never thought about personalized memes based off my characters! Great idea!

  10. Darlene on May 29, 2019 at 7:46 am

    I’ve got one great novel out there, but greater still lessons learned about publishing, the things I did right and the things I did wrong. I think my platform needs a makeover, so that’s my “WHY.” One of the mistakes led to a less-than-ideal editing situation over my published novel, an important blogger’s review noting some big flaws.

    So, my WHY for winning the 5000 word edit is my new work, which is in process. I’d like some direction and your take on my writing style, my weaknesses, and how to one-up myself.

    I appreciate this article, and especially the note about connecting with bloggers. Definitely having connections is an important aspect. In my attempts to connect, back when my novel was published, I did not have a wide enough audience. Thanks for this article.

  11. Laurie Wood on May 29, 2019 at 7:47 am

    What a great post! My debut launch in December went fairly well, but I did have some issues with my team not sharing memes. I didn’t expect to have “fans” make their own to be influencers, but hopefully with my next book that may happen. I keep working away at building my platform but it’s definitely a matter of consistency and hanging in there even when it feels like you’re calling in to the wind.

  12. Martha on May 30, 2019 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for this information. It tells me how much I have to learn!

  13. Dena Garson on May 30, 2019 at 7:21 am

    Again…. I suck at Marketing. But on the upside, I do have the basic platform covered! So YAY!
    Thanks for the UGC insight – I hadn’t thought of it that way.

  14. Ainsley Wynter on May 31, 2019 at 9:40 pm

    I’d love to win the marketing challenge. I feel like I have several things going but need to pull it all together. This would be so helpful.

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