Beyond the Manuscript : Creating Your Platform (week 2)

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Beyond the Manuscript

Over the span of six weeks Ambassador COO Tim Lowry will be sharing a series he calls “Beyond the Manuscript.” Whether you’re a new or seasoned author we hope you’ll find this material helpful:

  • Week 1: Author and publisher marketing
  • Week 2: Creating a platform
  • Week 3: Building your fan base
  • Week 4: Developing your product launch plan
  • Week 5: How to organize a successful signing
  • Week 6: Engaging media on a local and national level

Any author that has ever attended a writer’s conference or been in the publishing industry any length of time has likely been told “you need to work on your platform.”

This week we’re going to cover some of basics needed to get you on the road to Creating A Platform.

A platform is key to the success of any book. If you have no established platform and no plans of establishing one then the your going to be facing an uphill battle. Thankfully however there are now more ways than ever before to build a platform, get a following and get your message out to the masses.

Let’s take a look at some of the tools that are available to you.

Social media icons

-Facebook: I have no doubt that everyone reading this has heard of Facebook, you probably already use it on some level. This is must for building your social presence — think of Facebook as a country with 1.1 billion residents, this is a huge market!

When talking about Facebook with respect to building your platform we’re talking about creating a fan page verses using a personal account.

A fan page is created from your personal account and Facebook has genres in place allowing you to easily create an author page. A fan page allows people to “like” rather than friend you.

With Facebook you can also customize your page URL (web address). We recommend making your URL your author name. The key in all this is to create a brand — your name is your brand. You want to make it as easy as possible for your readers to find and follow you.

-Twitter: Again I’m going to assume almost everyone reading this has heard of Twitter, you may already have an account and have tweeted out a link to this blog, for others we’re getting into a grey area. Twitter is a powerful networking tool. Using short, concise messages you can grab attention and easily direct followers to your content, keep posts to 140 characters or less, incorporate links and hashtags to what is relevant. The best way to learn how to effectively use twitter is 1) by using it, 2) following others in your category that you respect and see how they’re using it to build there brand and following.

-Google+: Although relatively new to the social media scene Google+ is growing in popularity and an important one for building your platform. Google is the king of search and they love data. As a publishing house we have recently seen some of our Google+ posts show up on Google’s home page for a search ahead of websites related to the product. Put simply Google likes Google, that makes this a must. Finding friends and creating circles will take some getting used to however once established Google offers great tools that makes the learning curve worth it — Google Hangouts could perhaps be one of your most valuable free marketing tool. We’re going to go into further detail about Google Hangouts in the coming weeks and how you can use this tool to build a following and sell product.

-Website/Blog: This is your home base, the social networks are the connectors to you but your website is where it all happens. Use great tools like WordPress to create a robust website with a blog integrated. When building your site think about what you want it to achieve. If you’re wanting to push sales do you want to link to major retailers or would you prefer to handle your own sales using a service like paypal or perhaps providing both options? Do you speak at events or do you want to build this out as part of your marketing? If so make sure your site has a speaking calendar, instructions on how to book you and if possible audio or video of you speaking at other events. Do you want to offer freebies to bring fans to your site? Perhaps you have had several interviews or have a great media kit you’d like to have downloaded — this can go on a media page.

-YouTube: This is yet another one of Google’s sites.If you’re going to create a video there are options like Vimeo and Animoto however we strongly suggest YouTube as the way to go, this being a Google run site it works nicely with their analytics and places it higher in searches than other sites. Again, use your author name to brand your channel on YouTube.

It is important if at all possible that you keep your branding consistent. Website URL, Facebook URL, Twitter handle, YouTube Channel etc. Do not use some nickname or alias that only a handful of people know you by, stick with the name that is on the book.

Next week we’re going to be talking about how putting these tools to work and building your fan base as you write.

What tool have you found most successful for you to connect and build a listening audience?

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