Hello everyone! Sorry for posting this so late. Things got a little hectic around here today. lol
Last time we talked about confronting our fears and how part of that can be switching genres. As people, we all have varying interests, so it’s no different when it comes to writing. The hard part is, how do we take the next step and build and market our platform?
I’m sure we’ve all heard about branding ourselves and/or our author platform. Basically, an author platform is our presence online through our website, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and plenty more.
Building our platform is easier than it appears, especially if you specialize in a single genre. All we have to do is share other blogs, articles, or write our own posts about what we’re working on and what influences us to write said genre. We can also help build our platforms by following and friending other authors in the same genre(s). The more people we interact with, the greater the chance our work will be shared and our platform will grow some on its own. And, to be honest, if we’re looking at the traditional publishing route, the publishing houses will want us to have a decent-sized social media presence before investing in our books.
One of the biggest mistakes (In my opinion) many make is to brand their individual books or, in some cases, their various pen names. There are legitimate reasons for someone choosing a pen name from marketability to a drastic genre change. Let’s be honest, if we follow someone that writes children’s books, it may be a shock if we buy their new title only to discover it’s an erotica or some other adult style book. On the other hand, we may not be bothered by it after reading the book synopsis. It all depends on our perspective.
Now, before I get yelled at, I’m not saying having different pen names is necessarily a bad thing. My reasoning is simple: I busted my tail to build my following and I didn’t want to work just as hard for different titles or author names. Think about it. All that effort we put into building a Twitter following of 10k people has to be replicated for each pen name, book title, or genre. I know it’s worked for some, but for me, I took the easier path. I am happy to see social media gurus saying brand yourself now, so knowing I guessed right helps. lol
Some of the best ways to expand our reach (platforms) is by sharing others. Twitter and Facebook are perfect examples of this as we’re able to share just about any post we see. By doing so, we’re making another’s work or ideas available to our friends and followers. That’s often reciprocated (Especially on Twitter) and the cycle begins. It is important to keep in mind the old marketing theory of 100. Simply put, for every 100 people that see your advertisement, roughly one percent will buy it, and that’s usually after seeing it an additional four to twelve times. I’ve found those averages to be pretty accurate, so keep plugging away.
Facebook is one of the trickier tools to use as they regularly push the reach of author pages down to get us to pay them to allow our posts to be seen to those that Liked (Followed) our page. Also, they offer to help a page gain likes for another fee, but those “likes” have been proven to be from clickfarms in other countries and are useless. By clickfarms I mean they’re groups of people that are paid by the click, so they create fake accounts to like or follow other accounts. They result in diluting our reach and we lose interaction. Remember, interaction is an important thing for us.
One way around those practices are by 1, never buying followers or likes, and 2, by linking my Facebook page to my Twitter. Anything I post on my page is then shared on Twitter, making my author page a gateway. So far so good. I can’t complain with my results.
Facebook also offers you the chance to join various writing groups for each genre, so it’s a great place to meet other like-minded genre authors. Many also allow you to share your different sites and book links, and can help you extend your reach even further.
Another method is guest posting on others’ website and blogs. Like sharing on other outlets, it’s an opportunity to have our work displayed for others that we may never have met. Again, I’m a big believer in returning the favor and helping others, so I’m always open to sharing their posts and news whenever I can. Besides, it’s really cool to be featured on another site. Talk about an ego boost. 🙂 Just like Facebook pages, we can usually set our blogs up to post on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. There are always some exceptions, but my favorite is WordPress. It’s free and easy to reblog another’s post.
One thing I want to stress is please, please do not be one of those that shares nothing but your buy links. Be diversified in your shares and information flow. It’ll let our readers know there’s a person behind the computer and not some nameless soul-sucking alien or something. Don’t be afraid to interact with others. Sure, you’ll come across the usual jackass, but I’ve found most to be very helpful and friendly.
The final method I wanted to discuss can be difficult, but also helps as a shortcut to increasing our reach and sales. Simply put, try to get into anthologies. While they may not always sell well, they do help to get our name out there in front of people that may not have heard of us before. There generally isn’t a whole lot of money from them, but if the readers like our story, they’ll usually check out our other books. If we’re really lucky, we’ll get in an anthology with a big name. The rejections may come, but we all really just want that one chance, am I right?
The biggest thing when it comes to building our brand and marketing is to keep working. It’s not easy and what works for one may not work for another, but it can be rewarding to see it grow. Remember to keep trying new methods and above all else, keep plugging away. You never know how close you are to the success.
As much as we may want to fight it, building a brand and marketing are as much a part of the writing craft as editing, unless you just want to write and don’t care about sales. Choosing our path is solely up to us and there isn’t a reason why we can’t have some fun meeting new people if we choose.
As always, I’m interested in your thoughts and opinions are. Have you found a system that works better for you?