Writers who are looking to be professional and successful in today’s world are learning that it takes much more than a book deal to get you writing for a living. It’s true that the Big 6 still do this for some writers, but even after publishing their first and second books some authors are still going back to their day jobs.
Meanwhile writers who have established themselves on the web, built a reader base and used social media to distribute their work, have quit their day jobs. Some are even making the best sellers list. I’m not saying that this is the ideal way to go, but I am saying this gives you one more opportunity to be a successful, live on your writing, writer. Preparing for success…..
Even before you publish your first page, you should be trying to build your brand. If you look at some of the self-published authors who have made the best sellers list, multiple times, like HM Ward you find they are very social media and web savvy. Don’t believe me? Google HM Ward. The first 2 results that turn up on google are her own website and her Facebook profile.
Here the things I highly recommend doing to build your writer’s platform. Each one is essential, I believe.
Control is Money
Yes you need a website. Facebook and Twitter will help bring readers to you, but if you don’t have control over your brand, you’re just making money for some else. DO NOT use a FREE website. Again, the only thing you are doing is making money for someone else. People are very intimidated by this process, but there are sites out there right now that are just as easy as Facebook to build your own website. Yes you will spend a little money, but if you are not willing to do that it means you don’t believe in yourself. If you don’t believe, who will?
What do I put on a website?
Put your writing on your website. Put an excerpt of your book. Publish a bio. Publish articles about things related to your book. Build your voice and an audience. Make it fun. Make it interesting. Also, put a coming soon page out there for your book. If you have published anything else on the web, list those pages.
A mailing list is one of the most important things you can do to start building your platform. People forget email. It seems old at this point, but it still works very well. You need to be able to contact your readers. The best way to get people to sign up is to give them something for free. Write a short story and give it away. Write a “how to write” pamphlet and give it away.
An email list and a website are 2 things you can do on your own, and you control them. People don’t understand that being able to have control of something on the web, is the way to make money. Why share all your hard work? Why make others money? People don’t understand that by using a free site they are giving away money, instead of paying a little, and making much more back on their own site.
Yes a Facebook pages is very important. You want this page to funnel visitors to your website, and then to a place to eventually buy your book. Build your audience this way. This is where people get to know you. Let them know you have something to offer. You would be surprised how many people will simply want to know the writer.
Twitter is great for being able to show people what you like on the web. You can find other articles people have written, and Tweet them. People will retweet them. Eventually it will build a following. Promote other sites and writers. Try to be part of the community on Twitter. Once you have become part of something, these people will want to read and buy your book before it is finished.
If you like to take a lot of pictures, this is a very good way to get your image out there. Post a days’ worth of photos. Post photos about writing. This is a difficult site for most people, but if you have that knack, use it.
Pinterest is the Instagram where you can post pictures from other people. Post your favorite books. Post things about your favorite writer’s pictures. It’s a great way to connect. Think of Pinterest as a image search engine.
Goodreads is one of the best ways to share your reading interests with others. It’s a great marketing tool for writers, it shows you who you should be marketing to. Make friends with these people. Maybe they will be promoting your book someday. You can also share interests.
These are the networks I recommend, but you can use any that are out there. The important thing is to create a funnel back to something you control and can make money on. You need to build an audience for you, not for Facebook or Twitter. The reader needs to come back to you.