Author platform, or torture device?

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This post summarizes the best advice I read on creating an author’s platform.

When you’re an aspiring writer as untrained in social media as I was, the two words you dread the most are “author platform”. Everyone is talking about it. Online, at conferences, in books on how to get published, but it feels like the Holy Grail. How do you create something from nothing? How do you start from scratch?

The books, the articles, they all recommend to start yesterday, so I looked for a DeLorean on eBay… But I couldn’t afford it.

Instead, I read a lot of advice on the web, and I noted three important suggestions.

  • Pick two social media to start (overstretching yourself is a bad idea).
  • Have a website
  • Start a blog

 

Social media

Me, I chose Facebook and Twitter. You can link them together, which is useful, but Hootsuite is a better way to manage your accounts.

Why?

  1. You can chose when and where to post. Scheduling allows you to post every day even if you can’t afford the time to go on the web.
  2. You can also take advantage of the best time of day to post. For example, it’s best to tweet around 4 pm to get traffic from both coasts.
  3. The posts aren’t just a link to the original on the other site; they are all original, and they look less out of place.
  4. The dashboard allows you to see everything going on in all your accounts on one page. You can create “Streams” that show all the mentions you get, or the likes, or set them to display only the posts from certain people. It makes life a lot easier when you’re trying to juggle writing a book, working a full-time job, and setting up a platform.

Create a website.

You should really buy your domain name, it’s not that expensive, and it looks more professional.

WordPress is a good place to start. If you’re not that tech savvy and you feel overwhelmed, hire someone! A ton of people are ready to help you, for a reasonable amount of money. Include a tag line and a quick bio.

If you’re like me, and you aren’t published yet, you’ll ask yourself, “What the hell am I going to talk about on my website, I have nothing to promote.” WRONG! At this stage, you have no other choice but to market yourself! It’s scary, it’s overwhelming, but your brand is you, and we all have to learn how to sell ourselves.

Launch a blog

Once you have a working website and the social media accounts, you can write a blog. Don’t over-think it, just write. Sticks to a schedule as much as you can, be regular. It’s not something that can be achieved in a day, so don’t be afraid to fail, and don’t get discouraged.

That sums up the best advice I’ve received on how to create an author’s platform.

What is the best advice you’ve received?