Many authors, especially new authors, are nervous about building their author platform. Whether your nerves come from shyness or the size of this gargantuan task, there’s no denying that your author platform is vital to your success as a published author.
Let’s look at it this way. You’ve dreamed of becoming a published author for years now, but why? Let’s face it; it’s not for the money. If you wanted to see your book bound and on a shelf you could have had the pages bound in hardcover for a lot less trouble than all of the work that goes into finding an agent, editing, working with an editor, editing again and then finally getting your book published. You want to be published on a larger scale so that your message can be heard. Building your author platform helps you to ensure that your story connects with readers the way you always dreamed it would.
So, how do you put those author platform jitters aside and jump into building your platform? Here’s a few tips.
One of the ways you can combat author platform jitters is to learn everything you can about what building a platform really entails. Check out helpful tips on blogs from publishing professionals. (check out our tips here) A quick Google search can turn up pages and pages of advice and guidance on author platforms. Research authors who write in genres similar to yours. This is where comparable titles come in handy. What are these authors doing to connect with their readers? What works? What doesn’t? You can bypass a lot of mistakes by learning from what others have done in the past. As you’re researching make sure to write it all down so that you can…
Make a plan
As you’ll undoubtedly have learned from all of your research, building your platform is “a marathon not a sprint.” However, it might help you in the beginning to have a very specific, set plan of how you’d like to go about growing your author platform. Setting goals and having a roadmap to where you’d like your platform to be a month from now breaks this intimidating task into manageable pieces.
Try setting goals such as finding two big conferences near you to attend this year, picking two social media outlets you enjoy using and really focusing on making those shine, or maybe writing and posting a blog every other week. Whatever you decide to do make sure to set your goals to what you can reasonably accomplish in the time you can set aside for building your platform.
As you’re building your author platform, you’ll be creating your own brand. What tone
do you want to set? Your brand should reflect you as an author and your stories. If you wrote a lighthearted cowboy romance, maybe you shouldn’t make your site’s dominant colors black, gray and white. If you wrote a mystery or thriller that features black and white photography, now that might just be the color palate for you.
As you are creating your brand you will find yourself asking, what kind of person you
want to be? My advice? Be yourself! Being genuine will help you fill your network with people who are similar to you, and let’s face it, we’re all drawn to those we feel are the most “real” in the online world. Taking away the pressure of being someone you’re not will take some of that stress off your mind and let you focus on creating a brand that’s perfect for you and your story.
Create the right mindset
Building your author platform doesn’t have to be a gut wrenching exercise in anxiety. The way you view your platform will definitely affect the way you feel about it. If you call your platform an annoyance, you’ll hate sitting down to work on it. If you call building your platform a chance to meet likeminded people and build a wonderful support system, you’ll find it a lot easier to sit down to work.
Try to banish the “I have nothing to say” mantra from your mind. If you are struggling with feeling confident in what you’re posting on social media try to post things that serve a purpose. If you’re like me, ask yourself these questions. If I were to come across this post in my feed, would I be glad to have seen it? Did it make me smile? Did it teach me something? Or did it open up an opportunity I didn’t have before? You’ll suddenly find that you have a lot more to say than you originally thought.
In a field full of bookworms and introverts, it’s hardly surprising that building an author platform isn’t exactly something we get excited about taking on. But you can get over the author platform jitters and push yourself to get out of your comfort zone and help your story reach the people who will connect with it most.