What in the world is an author platform and How do you create a fan base you may ask?
An author platform is basically the foundation of your new author business. Once you start building your platform a fan base begins to build. Here let me go into detail so that you can understand better. An author platform is many things that help you build your reputation as an author. Let's face it the world of independent publishing has grown over the last few years and there are literally eight million books a day published just on amazon alone. Now imagine those same numbers being published to all the other online book vendors such as Smashwords and B&N. Do you really think your very first book is going to be enough to stand out among all those other books being published at the same time yours is? Let's be honest unless you have already built up a reputation as an author your book will probably be buried among a million other books that the vendor has to offer. This is what an author platform will help you with... Building your reputation.
Okay so what exactly is this author platform I keep talking about?
An author platform consists of a few things. Here are eight of the most basic things to start your platform.
Friends and Family- Friends and family are usually the first people to buy your books and the first people to enter your fan base. They are the essential foundation to building your platform. They will be the ones who will buy your books first, leave wonderful reviews, and spread the word about your books to their friends and co-workers.
A website- all authors need a website in order to run their business. It helps potential readers learn about you as an author and about your books. It also helps create your new professional image. You can start your website by looking on the internet for free website templates. The most popular ones seem to be Wix.com, WordPress, and Squarespace.
A Newsletter- Sending out a monthly email newsletter helps readers feel connected to you as an author plus it gives them updates on your current books and works in progress. It is a great way to get those first sales on each new book you publish because your newsletter readers will know exactly when your book hits the market platforms and can go directly to the buying page once you provide them with the link in your newsletter.
Social Media- Social media is a huge part of an author platform. it helps you build your reputation as an author by allowing potential readers to get to know you, while they interact with you. It is also the number one way other professionals can network with you and trust me you want to network with other professionals in all industries. Some of the best social media websites for authors are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and LinkedIn. You do not need to be on all of these social media sites but I personally have found it better to at least have an author page on all of these sites and a link to where you can be found most of the time. In my case, I am mainly on Twitter.
A Blog- blogging helps potential readers get to know your name as well as your writing styles. Each time you write a blog either for your own website or you write a guest blog for someone else's website your name starts to circulate in online search engines.
A logo- A logo helps with the visual aspects of your brand. As an author who is now the president of their own business, you are now a brand. Whether you use your name or you come up with a fancier name for your line of books you have created a brand to sell. Every brand should have a logo to help burn a lasting image into a potential reader's mind. For example, when you think of the MCdonald’s fast food company you immediately think about or can imagine the big yellow M that we call the golden arches. That is the famous MCdonald’s logo and it is an image many people can remember. The same concept goes for an author's logo. You want to create something that will be forever etched into the mind of potential readers.
Word of Mouth- Word of mouth is one of the best ways to build your reputation as an author as well as a wonderful tool to keep building your platform. Each time you can get people talking about one of your books, not only are you building a connection with those people but they are now more likely to recommend you to other people that they may know who would be interested in your book.
Mission Statement- Define who you are as an author and what you stand for. Are you an advocate for a special cause? If so tell people about it! Having a mission statement helps people understand the things that are close to your heart.
Those are the eight most basic ways to start building your author platform. But your work is not done yet! Now you need to use your platform to start getting your name out to people and your book into the hands of potential readers!