There is nothing more disappointing that seeing a good book collecting dust because no one knows about it. It's heart-breaking for the author and a shame for the potential readers who would love to read the book if they only knew about it.
It's essential for authors to build a platform of name recognition within the target market of their book. However, unless you've worked in PR or marketing, you may have no clue about how to begin building your author platform. I certainly didn't when I wrote my first book back in 2003.
A platform is built by how many people know about you and your work. The best way to build your platform is through a combination of media appearances, a strong website, public speaking and social media. You want folks to recognize your name and feel that you are credible in your topic area.
For example, if you were shopping for a book on personal finance, would you be more likely to buy a book written by Suze Orman or Lynne Klippel? If you were smart, you'd buy Suze Orman's book. Suze is a nationally recognized expert on personal finance, with multiple best-selling books, regular columns in respected magazines, and hundreds of appearances in the media. Suze has a platform demonstrating her expert status in personal finance, making that book buying decision a no-brainer.
By the way, I will never write a book on personal finance!
It takes time, consistent effort, and knowledge to build a platform. You also need some expert guidance, especially if you've never done this before.
Knowing that your platform will grow over time, take these beginning steps to start building your platform:
- Create a website for your book. Make sure that your website highlights your expertise. Look at other book websites for models to see how things are done.
- Ensure that your website has a blog. I highly recommend using a Word Press based website as they are affordable, easy to customize, and can grow as you do. Use the blog function of the site and post at least 3 times per week. Fresh content will help your site in search engine rankings and give site visitors a reason to return to your site regularly.
- Write articles based on your blog posts and submit them to article directories. The more articles you have circulating, the more people will be reading your work and finding your website.
- Create a media page for your website, tailored specifically to make it easy for members of the media to learn about you and get the information they need to book you on their shows.
- Use press releases to attract website visitors and media appearances. Post these press releases on your media page.
- Reach out to your local media and offer your information as a local expert.
- Do presentations about your topic. Speak and do teleclasses as often as possible. Keep track how many presentations you do and the number of people who hear you. In 2006, I kept track of the number of people I taught about books. I was at more than a thousand people before October. That statistic sounds pretty impressive and contributes to my platform.
- Participate in social media. Twitter and Facebook are here to stay. They are becoming essential business tools for authors. If you've been avoiding social media, take the plunge and get involved right away.
- Document your efforts. Keep track of any media appearances, the numbers of articles you have posted on article databanks, presentations, interviews, etc. All your efforts at building your name recognition should be tracked. Soon you will be able to say that you've done hundreds of presentations, spoken to thousands of people, and appeared on numerous radio and television shows.
When you take small, weekly steps to build your platform, you will reap great rewards. Take a look at the list above and pick one action to perform today. You will build your platform over time, just like you write your book one page at a time.
Want to create a successful book? Discover 8 book marketing blunders that you can avoid. Grab your free ecourse at http://www.BookMarketingBlitz.com. Lynne Klippel is a publisher, author and book shepherd who specializes in helping authors write business building books.