Author Platforms and Book Marketing Plan
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Author Platforms and Book Marketing Plan


Hey, good morning, everyone! Gail Woodard here. I’m the CEO and Publisher at Dudley Court
Press, where we turn thoughtful people into successful, published authors. Today, I want to talk about the subject of
author platforms, just what that is, and why it should be important to you if you are an
aspiring author. If you’ve already published a book, you
already know how tough it can be to sell your book. If you’re still working on your first book,
you’ll learn the statistics eventually, but let me tell you a few things: In 2016,
the total number of books published was a million books, and that’s up from 700,000
just a few years ago. So figure on more than a million books being
published every year, year after year. That’s a lot of competition. The average self-published author sells two-hundred
fifty copies of their book in a year, maybe two-thousand over the lifetime of their book. That’s not a lot, and that’s the average. I think if you pull out—I can’t pull up
the statistics—but if you pull up the statistics of the top one-hundred self-published authors
who are selling hundreds of thousands of copies, then the average for the rest of the self-published
author world is much lower than two-hundred fifty. So, the thing you need to understand is, the
earlier in the game that you start to make marketing part of your author life, as soon
as you start to embrace marketing—the earlier you start to embrace marketing—the better
off you’re going to be, and your author platform is really the place to start. So, the concept of the author platform has
been around for years; it’s a term that’s used to describe the collection of ways that
you use to connect to your readers, to your potential readers, to reviewers, to people
who could influence others to buy your book. The common components for a beginning author
would be your email address, your website, and your newsletter and/or blog. I’m going to talk about those in greater
depth in a moment. The author platform also consists of your
social media presence, you know, on Facebook here, on LinkedIn, on Instagram or Twitter
or any other social media site. And it includes things like your Page or your
profile; it includes the posts that you make; and it includes the numbers of followers or
friends that you have on those social media sites. Your author platform also—another component
of your author platform—would be any professional or social association or organization that
you’re part of, particularly where you may have a leadership role or some other role
where you are able to connect with other members easily. Assets, such as other books that you’ve
published, or articles that you’ve written and published, or any media coverage that
you have and you’ve got recordings of; all of those are assets that sit within your author
platform. Other parts of your author platform would
be your existing clients or customers list, any media connections that you have, or activity. If you currently write for some newsletter
or magazine or something, if you contribute on a regular basis—that becomes part of
your author platform. A couple of other things that are part of
your author platform will be your author page—on Amazon, for example, or Goodreads, or any
other internet website that has something to do with books and authors—and also, all
of the friends, connections, relationships that you have, online or offline, that can
help you to market your book, now or in the future. So, those are some of the components; there
can certainly be other things; there’s no rule about what you might consider as part
of your author platform. But the important thing is to remember the
value of your author platform; it’s definitely in the components that exist, but it’s also
in how you use those components, and that should be part of your marketing plan. The value comes when you take pieces of your
author platform and put them to use to connect you to potential readers. So, your book marketing plan—which, of course,
you need, if you’re planning to write a book—has three main components, and the
first component is, of course, the product. You must have a well-conceived book that’s
well-written, well-edited, well-designed, packaged and positioned to be properly distributed
and positioned for sales. And that includes all the meta-data that should
be included in your book, but that’s a subject for a different presentation. The second component of your marketing plan
is to build your solid author platform. You have to start where you are and build
the components over time. It doesn’t happen overnight; it takes a
while to bring all of this together. The third component of your marketing plan
is to use your author platform. You use it to build early buzz before your
book is released; you use it to generate new views for your book, which are very important
for book sales; and you use your author platform to promote your book for long-term sales. If you’re just getting started, I would
suggest that you focus on these things: first of all, build your email list. Your email list, unlike social media—let
me separate why it’s important to start with your email list. Many people think that social media is the
place to begin, but you need to understand that everything you have out there on social
media is owned by the social media companies, and they can change their rules, as they do
on a regular basis, which changes your ability to utilize your social media platform. But an email list is something that you own;
it’s an asset that you create and build, and those relationships are very important
to you. So start there; you may start with your five
good friends or your mother and siblings or cousins, but start wherever you are, and begin
to build an email list of people who want to hear from you, and that you can talk to
about your writing and your books and things related to that. Be sure that you keep your list clean and
up-to-date; it’s not hard to find out what the rules are about email lists and how you
are allowed to talk to people via email. Don’t get spammy; that will not serve you
in the long run. Don’t buy names just to increase the size
of your list. You want people who have opted in to talk
to you, or allow you to talk to them, because those are the people who are going to care
about what you have to say. Communicate with your list on a regular basis,
and that could be a monthly letter, a monthly newsletter; it doesn’t have to be fancy,
but it should be consistent. It’s important for a couple of reasons;
one, it’s to let your audience know that you’re there and that you’re consistent. It’s also important for you, if you’re
new to all of this, to get used to communicating with people this way. Building and utilizing your email list is
a fundamental practice to be successful as an author. The second thing to pay attention to is your
website. You don’t need a fancy website, but you
do need a website that’s attractive, that is sensible, that is mobile-optimized—mobile-responsive,
because more and more people pay attention to websites and look for things on their phones
or tablets, and not on their desktop computer—those are fundamental things to be concerned about
or aware of or to pay attention to. The other thing is you have to keep your website
alive. The way you do that is, think about all the
search engines. The search engine robots are like, they need
food, and the way I like to describe it is that your blog posts are the food for search
engine robots. So, if you provide food on a regular basis,
with interesting blog posts that relate to you and your books and your topics, then the
search engines will keep coming back to feed at your trough, which means that they will
continue to make your website available in the search engine results. If you put up a website and leave it, and
you don’t ever do anything more about it, it goes to the bottom of the heap, and no
one will ever find you. So the simplest thing is to get into a routine
of every week putting up a five-hundred word blog post to your website. The email list and the blog posting on your
website are two of the absolute fundamentals that you should be paying attention to. The third thing, if you’re just getting
started, is to do an audit of your author platform. All of those things that I mentioned—just
make a list of what you have, what you do, what components are there you can call on,
and then make maybe a ninety-day plan to pick two or three things to either build, start
with, or build out and utilize more effectively. Starting now, even if you’re still writing
your book, begin building out and start making more robust your author platform. So, remember that it is better to get one
thing done than three or four or five things half-done. A wise business coach once told me, and I
have this above my desk, and I look at it every day, “You only get results from the
things you finish and implement.” So pick a couple of these ideas, and over
the next ninety days, do your audit, get your email list going, and plan to get your website
up and running with regular blog posts. If you’re beyond that, pick some other things
that are part of your author platform, and build those out. So, to recap: If you intend to be a successful
author, first of all, welcome marketing into your life; it’s very important to embrace
it. Secondly, start building and using your author
platform. Start with your email list and website. Do an audit, and then, on a regular basis,
build out the activity for marketing, based on your author platform. Thanks for joining me today. See you next time. And by the way, if you’d like more information
or some help, you can contact me through our website at www.dudleycourtpress.com. See you later.

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