When we are ready to release a book at Divertir Publishing, I immediately find out what an author’s platform is – How do you plan on selling yourself?
And no, I don’t mean fishnets and stripper shoes.
While I have run into a few very outgoing authors, I find many tend to run on the introverted side of life. They, like myself, gravitate around their own company and that of their intimate circle. Give us a dark room, a solitary computer, some music and we’re ready to create magic – stand aside, I’m making magic…and paper dragons. (Stop Procrastinating!)
Hell, in less than a thousand words, we can create and destroy worlds.
“I am the angel of death, destroyer of worlds.” Captain Dylan Hunt (Yes you are, you smexy thing you)
To our poor characters, we’re gods (although not nearly as devious as George R.R. Martin). For many, that creation is personal and we treat our product as children, separate but equal entities.
It is natural to be fearful of putting yourself out there and trying to convince people to buy your baby. Suddenly that entity you spent so long on is open for interpretation and *GASP* critique. Scary word – critique. Many authors refuse to do so and I hate to say it, their books rarely do well. Readers will find their way to you, but they could very likely find their way to someone else as well. How can you convince them they need to buy your book and delve into the world created inside?
Let’s start at the easy stuff.
1.) Make a Facebook page specifically for your book. Here you post updates on book cover releases, reviews, blog interviews, introduce characters, etc. EVERYTHING regarding that specific book. If that book becomes a series, make it for the series.
2.) Make a Facebook page specifically for you as an author. Nothing too personal is shared on this page. No politics or religion unless it is pivotal to your plot. While you may feel strongly about something, alienation can occur if readers do not agree with you and as an author, that’s the last thing you want to do. If you don’t care about this, then I suppose you could overlook it. I would be wary though. I was following two writers on Facebook and decided to stop when they started spamming their author pages with political views. It opposed mine drastically and in the end, didn’t want to read it every time I logged on.
What you should post: inspirations, other works in progress, general personal news, book signing dates, blog updates, etc. This is an outlet for you to spam your blog, twitter and hobbies.
From there you can also connect with writing/promotion groups on Facebook. Trust me – they are in abundance but remember to read and follow the groups rules before promoting or sharing. Many authors want as much exposure as you do. Offering to host other writers in exchange for reviews and face time on their blog is a great way to get your name out there.
Don’t hide in the corner yet, you introvert – this gets scarier! (Here, have some coffee).
3.) Website – Here is a more concentrated version of your author Facebook page: Hobbies, inspirations, interviews, blog tours, cover reveals – anything general about you. You can expand and develop ideas, allowing your thoughts to flow freely from fingers to screen. On your blog you can open your private life and allow the reader to see what makes you tick. For me, I have my crafts, I post reviews, interviews, my sewing projects, publishing updates, etc. Head to my homepage to see me altering thrift store dresses into dresses for my 6 year old. Exciting, man – I tell you.
4.) Goodreads. I recently found this site myself (yep, late bloomer) where you connect with readers and authors. Post reviews, participate in contests – everything. Sign up is incredibly easy with a nice step-by-step tutorial. Hands down you need your book on this site and be putting out your opinion on books you’ve read. As Ken Tupper (owner of Divertir Publishing) tells me, you have to go where the readers are.
5.) Twitter – follow other authors, follow agents, follow publishers, follow your favorite actor. This satisfies the voyeur in us all. We can sit in the comfort of our homes and involve ourselves in other people’s lives in short bursts (120 characters or so). Most authors will follow back. Slowly build that followership. That way when you have news to announce, people are watching. However, as I have found, responding to other people’s tweets open the door to interesting conversations.
6.)Pinterest – this is my kiddy crack site. I pin and hoard so many creative ideas. Recipes, craft and sewing ideas, DIY ideas – everything. I also “pin” giveaways we’re having and book reviews I post. If a reader stumbles upon your pinterest and feels a kinship, they’re going to be predisposed to find out more about any books you write.
Let me just say this: If you’re against a web presence, don’t be an author.
Now, those 6 are great to get you started but you still have to feel comfortable selling your baby. My dad used to tell me you never sell the steak, you sell the sizzle. That’s all we’re doing – that’s all every author tries to do. When you start feeling weird or callgirl-ish, just know every author has to do it because last year almost 400k people self-published. If that number isn’t daunting, according to Bertram’s Blog, close to 15,000,000 books were published in 2012. That was two years ago!
So when I say you are in competition, you are.
Don’t be scared to get your name out there (All the cool kids are doing it) because the more places people find information about you and your books, the better!