Whether you are a traditionally published author, an indie or something in between, the commonly accepted wisdom is that you need an author platform. But why?
Why do you need to broadcast to the world about your writing? Why do you constantly need to post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Goodreads, or whatever? Isn’t it quite enough that you write a good book? Won’t readers just flock to read your books once they’re published?
Writing an excellent book is sadly not enough, unless you are very, very lucky. (Think lottery winner). That excellent book is merely your entry to the market. If you don’t do anything else but publish the novel with a good cover, and blurb, it may still never sell in any significant numbers. Why?
Because there are millions of books published on Kindle alone, some of them are good, some very good, some excellent (and sadly some not so good). There is incredible competition out there and bookshops such as Amazon, Kobo or iBooks will only push titles that have good sales records. So you as an author will need to build your own fanbase, know what your readers are like, and be able to reach out to them when your book is out.
Think of yourself as a small business. If you produce a hand-crafted cabinet but don’t tell anyone about it; how it was made; why it is a better cabinet than all the other cabinets on the marketplace, no-one will ever see your brilliantly built cabinet, let alone buy it.
In order to sell your brilliantly written book, you need to learn to market it. The first step in that marketing is building an author platform.
This all sounds scary, but it needn’t be. Starting small is the key. Even if you are only just planning to write your first novel, it’s more than worthwhile to begin the process of building your author platform, because when your book does come out, you will already have a fanbase, which you can rely on to buy your book, review it and in that way make it more visible in online shops such as Amazon.
First step is to set up a webpage, through which you can collect an email list of your fans. But more about the practicalities on how to build an author platform in part 8 of Advice for New Writers, which will be up here on my blog next week.
In summary, it’s vital to build an author platform, because it will allow you to build a growing fanbase which in turn will sell your books. Because we all need to eat, right?
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