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Archive for October 9th, 2015

Growing a fiction platform is radically different than nonfiction…

Day 27 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge asks participants to describe the things they’re doing to grow their author platforms. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.

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Day 27 writing prompt:

What are the three most important things you are doing to grow your platform?

Certain terms become so overused that their meaning gets diluted. There may be a danger of this when it comes to “author platform” – but it’s too important a concept to ignore. As we’ve shared in the past on this blog:

An author’s platform is his/her ability to reach their audience of book-buyers, or their plan to do so. It is a measure of your EXISTING INFLUENCE and your ABILITY TO SELL to your market. This is why celebrities find it much easier to land book deals than unknown writers they already have a built-in audience.

In learning to think like a Savvy Book Marketer (SBM), you’ve got to tap into all the ways and places you can start creating demand for your book (before it’s even printed) and expand your sphere of influence. This includes things like:

  • Public speaking
  • Radio and TV interviews
  • Articles, on- and offline
  • Social media
  • Blogging
  • Video marketing

The good news in my situation is that I’ve got a pretty good social media presence, a lively speaking career, a solid blog following (thank YOU for reading!), and the wherewithal to get video marketing underway. The challenge is that I’ve spent the better part of the last 15 years building my business of helping other authors make and market their books, so that’s where my attention has been focused. It remains to be seen whether the audience converts Ballet of the Unhatched Chicksto support me as a novelist.

Just in case you’re wondering, I’m not counting any unhatched chicks (to borrow a favorite phrase from my mom).

Marketing a novel – and building a platform as a fiction author – is a different beast than using books to support an existing business. Generally speaking, fiction readers want one thing from you if they like you: more novels. But a successful novelist also knows how to cultivate relationships with his/her readers by offering behind-the-scenes glimpses into their characters’ world.

In the case of Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, as opposed to, say, a sci-fi or paranormal story, there’s lots from reality to draw on. Articles about the social issues. Talks to travel groups and arts organizations. Pinterest boards with images from the countries Stan visits. But a really creative fantasy novelist will be able to build such a realistic world for his/her readers that they can treat it similarly. Who’s to say that a gay cyclops who feels ostracized by his peers couldn’t be the perfect jumping off point for a conversation about diversity at a youth center?

Group-Travel

Stan and Isis have their own blog, which will get much more attention in the days to come. Their interests and focus will be more focused on the above-mentioned social and travel issues than Marcie’s posts, which will continue to focus on book marketing.

I’m also planning a virtual treasure hunt that will take participants along the same trail Stan follows.

The goal is to grow Stan’s platform organically, one valued, enthusiastic reader at a time.

What steps are YOU taking to continue to grow your author platform? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll go into detail about how I am using/plan to use social media to get the word out about #StanTravels.

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to meeting all kinds of wonderful characters in your waking life!

Laura

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