When you’re trying to make a living as a professional writer, whether it’s for book marketing purposes or simply for engagement with your audience, you’ll want to have a healthy author platform at your disposal. Many authors rely on these resources to get the word out about new projects and engage in a dialogue with the community at large.
Plenty of well-established authors already have websites with high traffic or large fan bases with accessible communities they connect with. But for fledgling writers and those still breaking into the industry, it can be difficult to know where to get started with the ins and outs of self-promotion and audience engagement.
So, what exactly is an author platform? Why is this resource so important for professional authors, and how is it actually used to achieve a writer’s goal? You’ll find the answers to all these questions and more below.
What is an Author Platform?
The term “author platform” is difficult to define, because it can mean many things. In its broadest form, an author platform is a structure that a writer uses to promote or publish their work and engage directly with their readers. This platform can take the form of an author website, where fans visit for exclusive content. However, it can also be on other relevant social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or Goodreads. An author platform can even happen through email newsletters and in-person events.
No matter which form it takes, the author platform is intended to help you build your brand.
3 Benefits of Having an Author Platform
So now you know what an author platform is. But why is it so important for a professional writer to have one and use it to their advantage? What exactly does an author platform do for a writer’s career? Here are just three of the main benefits of using this tool.
1) Provides a Direct Connection to Your Audience
An author platform allows you to have an immediate channel for getting messages out to your followers without going through a middle man like an agent or publishing company. Whether that means expressing your opinions or promotional materials on your social media accounts, sharing short works or posts on your blog, or putting information on your author website, your audience will know that your words come from you and not a faceless publisher.
2) Useful as a Marketing Tool
When it comes to book marketing, there’s no better way to promote your upcoming works than through your author platform. This is your link to all of your readers and devoted fans who are already eager to purchase your next book.
By marketing through this channel, it assures you that the viewers of your promotional materials are actually likely to make the purchase. Think of it as insurance to make sure your marketing efforts pay off.
3) Gives You the Freedom to Publish What You Please
Your author platform is just that – yours. That means you can’t be held back by the opinions of your editor or publisher, and you have a space where you can candidly engage with your readers in a genuine and unedited manner if you so desire. This gives you the freedom to publish whatever you want for your fans to enjoy, regardless of its perceived marketability or relevance.
What Kinds of Platforms are Available?
When it comes time for you to build your author platform, you’ll have to decide which variety is right for you. There are several options popular among writers that each serve slightly different purposes, with the end goal of promoting your work and engaging with your audience.
You should pick the one that works best for you or use multiple strategies in combination, but here are the most popular examples.
If you have experience in web design, or the budget to hire someone who does, creating your own author website is the perfect way to build your platform. Your website can be the ideal online space for promoting your works and giving your fans a place to go for new information about you.
If you’re interested in sharing short opinion pieces with your audience or even publishing shorter works of fiction for free in the hopes of driving engagement and creating interest in your other works, a blog would be ideal for you. Blog software makes it easy to incorporate your posts into your readers’ existing blog reading routine, so you can get your short-form content out in a way that will get you views.
A social media account is super useful for gaining new followers and getting more and more potential readers interested in your work. With so many people already using these platforms, it would be a shame not to take advantage of this great resource. These tools are perfect for sharing brief opinions and updates with your followers as well as promoting new publications.
Should You Use Multiple Author Platforms?
The question of whether or not to use multiple author platforms will surely arise for authors who write in different genres. The answer depends on how much marketing and identity management you can handle.
Using multiple platforms would involve having more than one pen name and more than one website or social media account, which you would have to manage continuously. The separation might work if your audiences for each genre don’t have much overlap, but it can be time-consuming and confusing for fans to keep up with all the different platforms.
Alternatively, if you feel it makes sense to market to all of your readers as a whole regardless of genre, you might choose the simplified approach of using one author platform for all of your work.
Now that you understand the importance of an author platform for building a writer’s career, it’s time for you to start building yours! Whether you decide to use a blog, an author website, a social media platform, all three, or something else, this investment of time, money, and energy is worth it. Expect improved book marketing strategies and connections with your readers.
If you find that setting up and managing your author platform is taking time away from your writing and you would like to discuss how I can help please do not hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Not sure if you are ready for an author assistant then take a look at my blog, Is it Time You Hired an Author Assistant?
Until next time…