Building an Author Platform: Not for the Birds
In my work as a writing coach, I’ve come to discover how many writers detest creating their marketing platforms.
I will concede to the fact that marketing is a lot of work; however, I have come to enjoy it. Here’s why:
I’m a nester by nature, and fluffing a nest for my book feels just right.
Perhaps it is a desire to be humble that inhibits writers, since they tend to break from the flock and be solitary. Writing often attracts people who avoid “proud as a peacock” behavior, and instead prefer to let ideas incubate in solitude in a computer or notebook.
I think part of the frustration for writers is that there’s no right way to market oneself; there is no formula.
But, come on, writers; we do this everyday when we sit down to write. There’s no right way to do the thing we do—but there are better ways.
Did you get discouraged the first time someone said “I don’t know what you meant in this sentence”? Of course not, or you wouldn’t have stuck in the profession long enough to read an article like this.
We have to approach marketing with that same attitude of experimentation. You might create a Facebook ad and only get three likes. Ok, victory. That’s three more likes. If your goal was 30 or 300, it might feel like defeat. So, try something else. If your writing is worth tweeting about, you understand this as part of the writing process every day. Give yourself permission to draft and revise your marketing plan, too.
In this digital age, we have so much free advertising available to us. Don’t brood over your inexperience or let a few false starts ruffle your feathers. Take a gander at other author websites, and use their platform to help you get a bird’s eye view of your own platform. Begin to generate ideas for reaching your own audience.
You never know what might come from it. For example, a recent response to a tweet landed me an interview on Huffington Post Live.
Just persevere, spread your wings, and keep pressing on.
Here are some of my favorite tools for using social media for your platform:
Twitter: As I mentioned, you can search by #hashtags. Want to know everything people are saying about Bird Breeding? Search #BirdBreeding. But seriously, is avian proliferation that important? Here’s your Number one twitter friend: #MSWL. This simple hashtag tell you literary agents’ WISHLISTS! Search it and you’ll find up to the minute updates on which agent is looking for what, right now. Seriously cool
Facebook groups: Like to write plays? Haikus? Bird-based articles riddled with cliches? Create a facebook group and share your niche with others.
Social Jukebox: You’re a writer. As much fun as it is to procrastinate all the livelong day on social media, you’ve got writing to do. Social Jukebox is like an old-timey jukebox, except instead of playing records in random order, it sends out your tweets and posts. This one is by far my favorite tool.
Bottom line: Try something. Don’t be afraid to flop. Kill two birds with one stone: use the skills you learned to become a resilient writer to become a resilient marketer.
When in doubt, wing it.