Thursday, April 17, 2014

Author Platforms - Part 1

I spoke last week at the Desert Dreams conference in Tempe about Author Platforms. Everyone seems to have their own opinion about what an 'author platform' is and exactly how important it is. It also seems to be the latest buzz word right now. An agent might think an author with 100,000 active followers might have a great platform while another agent might consider taking on an author with no platform at all because they have a great book.

The best definition I could find for an author platform is:

Any media outlet you are visible and appealing to your future, potential, or actual readership through your personal and professional connections.

In other words: Your current audience reach. 

An author platform is NOT:
  • Self-promotion
  • Agressive selling
  • Annoying potential readers
  • Being an extrovert
I know a number of authors who are introverts and don't go out and aggressively sell their book, but they also have a huge following on a number of social networks.

Getting an author platform doesn't take weeks or months. Building a large social media presence through Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram doesn't happen overnight. It takes years. I like to think of it as a marathon and you can't get to the finish line doing a sprint. Slow and steady is the best way to build your author platform.

There are far too many networks out on the Internet to do all of them at once. Focus on one or two. Take your time. If one isn't working for you, don’t panic. You haven't failed. Just try another until you find something that works for you.

Some factors to ask yourself when looking into a specific social network are is it:
  • Practical
  • Feasible with your time constraints 
  • Within your budget 
It’s better to have an impressive influence in one area than little in all.

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