This is part five in my interview series with Jaguar Bennett, Publicity and Marketing Director for Linden Publishing.
Jaguar: How you get an author's platform is a kind of methodical thing. A Platform is something you have to build up very carefully over time. It's a matter of developing these relationships with that audience. Again, it is best to start where you are. Do you have a hobby? Are you already a frequenter on sites? Do you write fan fiction? Are you plugged into any fan fiction websites? These are all ways that you can build up connections with people throughout the internet. These are ways you can say...hey I have a blog on this subject, you might want to check it out...here's the link.
There are ways to build yourself up through Twitter and Facebook and you can communicate with people who have your interest and are interested in your kind of writing, and that is true whether you write fiction or nonfiction.
The marketing term you use is that you build up your platform by networking with people. It is really about building a community of interest with your potential audience.
This doesn't have to be a kind of cynical thing where you are trying to rack up numbers in how many Facebook followers you have. This can be fun!
This can be one of the real focuses of why you write. It is a matter of building up this community, this personal relationship even these friendships with people who are interested in you and what you have to say and care about, and these people are going to be so much more attached to your books and your writing because they have that shared community with you.
And actually, it can sound kind of intimidating. You know promoting yourself, putting yourself out there. But I think it is actually a very positive development. You have a more human relationship with your readers. It is no longer that the author is this distant vague authority and the readers are the grateful people who buy the books. It is a much more one-to-one relationship, and the people who are invested in social media are good about developing these one-to-one relationships.
And so platform is a marketing tool, but it is something you build up through your own personality and your own willingness to engage with people.
I'm to pause one moment and be very marketing like and plug a book my company publishes. The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform, an excellent manual for everything related to these kinds of things.
One more thing about developing a platform. Obviously, this can be a lifetime kind of work. If you look at big established authors, the Stephen Kings of the world and so forth, they are constantly building up relationships with their readers. The old days when it was as simple as answering fan mail, being at writers conferences, being at fan conventions and all this is still valid. And it hands over to the online world as well. People who are interested in your writing are also going to be interested in you.
You can cultivate those people. You are going to be working at it off and on throughout your entire writing career, so it is something where you don't have to feel so intimidated that you have to do it all at once.
You can start with a book like: The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform and master it one piece at a time, and then gradually fit them together. The more you build on it gradually, the more impact it is going to have.
Part 6: What is the Value of Small Scale Local Publicity?
Here is my review of The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform a wonderful book: Click here for the review