4 Steps to Build a Strong Author Platform

Thursday, June 09, 2016

For some writers, building a strong author platform comes naturally, but for others, this extroverted activity of networking takes a lot of work. Whether it feels comfortable or not, the reality is that an author’s work needs to reach the right community of readers to be successful. This means that one of the most important aspects of book marketing is building relationships with people who will promote your book.

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Don’t be afraid to connect with people you already know to enlist their help in finding readers who will really love your work, turning them into true fans—those who will follow you wherever you go, from your social media to real-life author events.

Begin Before the Beginning

When it comes to networking, it’s never too early to start. If you wait until your book is released to start building your connections, you’ll be left playing catch up. The best networkers are always cultivating existing relationships and looking for new contacts. Continuing relationships will ensure an audience not only looks for your upcoming book, but the next book, and the one after that.

Before your book is even published you can attend writing conferences. If you’re a nonfiction author, your best bet is to go to conferences held in the industry you write about. These events are fantastic places to build relationships with potential readers, other writers, and publishers who can serve as great resources.

Your Author Brand

Your best brand is your name, but your author photo, typography, and colors are also part of your author brand. Brand recognition means that those who remember your name are more likely to pick up and promote your book.

Start with Your Existing Community

Your family, friends, coworkers, and other community members can be your most loyal fans and best advocates. Waiting until your book comes out and then asking your community to promote can be a mistake; include those who have supported you throughout your writing process. It makes them feel included.

It’s crucial to maintain constant contact with your community—not just when you need to ask for a favor in the form of sharing or promoting your book. Actively supporting your local libraries and bookstores prior to publication will create goodwill when it is time to promote your book. Share your struggles and joys with your friends, family, and coworkers, and invite them to do the same. You’ll cultivate stronger relationships that will serve you well now and in the future.

Focus on Your True Fans

Quality is more important than quantity. Kevin Kelly, founder of Wired magazine, writes that an artist can thrive with only 1,000 true fans. True fans are those who engage with anything you do. They’ll read your blog, follow you on social media, listen to or watch your interviews and other media appearances, and eagerly await the release of your next books. Stay connected with your true fans by providing them interesting content through all available channels.

Update your blog regularly, and share relevant information on social media. Try other ways of creating content, like video or podcasting. These are the people who love your work—don’t give them a reason to forget you.


How to Build an Author Platform

Carla King

Carla King is a publishing coach and the founder of the Self-Publishing Boot Camp educational program of books, workshops, and online courses. Her books include the Self-Publishing Boot Camp Guide for Authors, 4th Edition, the Consumer’s Guide for Self-Publishers, which reviews the products, tools, and services you use to write, publish, and promote your books, and IngramSpark’s Book Formatting Guide. Carla started self-publishing in 1995 with her travel guide, Cycling the French Riviera, followed by a memoir titled American Borders and a collection called Stories from Elsewhere. She runs the Indie Publishing track at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference and hosts the Author Friendly Podcast. Find the podcast, along with her books, courses, free resources and advice at www.selfpubbootcamp.com.