You've heard me talk about an online presence and an author platform. Well, in this post I'm going to explain just exactly what they are and how to create and cultivate them.
I always start with the bottom line so you can see where I'm heading and this is it - if you can go to an agent or publisher (if you still fancy trying your hand at being traditionally published) and prove to them you already have a fan base and readership in place for your book, it stands you in a far greater position of being considered for publication. Since there is little or no marketing budget for debut novelists, you are showing them the demand is there and all they need to do is work with you to build on the foundations.
My advice - get working on your author platform right away. If I'd known about it, I would've started mine at least two years before I published Little Child.
It isn't just about making yourself known. Through developing my online presence, I've learned about the changing face of the publishing industry. Tracking trends is so important also.
In the old days, an author platform was defined by television appearances and radio interviews ie. public, high gloss visibility in the national media. Why has it changed? Simply because the way people choose books has changed. Now people are more likely to visit Amazon (for example) and look through recommendations, then read reviews in the press or pick up tips from a television show. The new model of an author platform still involves visibility and reputation, of course it does, but today it's more about interaction between the author and the reader online.
You know how I said yesterday that it wasn't just about the writing anymore...
Every good author platform should contain the following:
A Facebook account
A Twitter account
We'll talk about each of these in future blog posts so you can understand what the different elements should be doing for you.
How long you want to be around as an author and writer online largely depends on you. One thing's for sure however, it's a process that needs to continue for as long as you want a readership. Without your personal input and interaction through the above channels, your author platform will crumble.
Blogging is an amazing concept so here I am giving it a whirl. You'll get words. You'll get pics. Sometimes a vid or two. You'll get tongue in cheek, the odd humble opinion and an honest insight into my travels and writing life. Maybe even a few gems along the way. I'll be musing on home turf as I see more and more of the UK and sharing my experiences further afield on holidays and adventurous trips across the globe.