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.
“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.”
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.
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:
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?
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 Fanfiction.net. 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.
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.
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!
Overcome your fears and objections to start writing your book!
Learn skills to determine your topic, outline, and research your book
Daily motivation and affirmations to keep you on track
Inspirational stories to show you what you can do with a book
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.
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 (https://alxa.me/alexa ). Join her 5-day Author Platform Growing Challenge at http://writepublishsell.co/grow for more action steps to grow your author platform.
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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 and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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