Promoting your book should be fun and easy — are you crazy? When there are millions of books out there competing for attention, getting your published book to shine in a spotlight that readers can find seems at first like finding a gold ring that’s been thrown into the ocean.
If you’re a new author and waiting for your book to launch, or it has just launched and you’re obsessing over not doing enough, you know the feeling I’m talking about. After the book’s launch I felt like a real novelist, but I was worried that no one would find my published novel. And I read about this thing called an author platform — something like a launch pad from which your book can rocket into the stratosphere. Did I have one? Did I even have the planks for building such a thing?
I read lots of good articles on the topic, starting with Jane Friedman’s definition. For novelists, it’s a mysterious, hazy concept, but basically it means you’re an identifiably original voice, reaching your target audience. Both hazy ideas to me, until I started looking at author websites I really like. I noticed how personal they were, and I realized we’re talking about the person behind the book. That’s platform for a fiction writer. Notice the number of times I’ve used the pronoun “I”. That’s part of my author platform.Me being me. I decided that I don’t have time to be An Author and myself on social media. So here I am!
One thing I am as a write is a poet. I have to include both sides of my writing life, so I often post poems published online here.
I know that people who read my poetry also read my fiction now, and I don’t want to lose either side of my audience. The combination of being a novelist-poet defines me. I googled — there arent’ too many of us! This forms a plank in my platform.
My stories involve love in its many dimensions and forms, and I believe in its power for good and for changing people. So I created a motto or slogan to head up my website and social media: Love always wins.” It’s what I believe. It’s another thing you could call a plank in my author platform.
Creating my stories means digging into very person parts of myself. They’re intimate stories. And they’re now between you and me, and because this is all very personal stuff about the heart, I need to be myself with you. We’re having an ongoing conversation. I made that choice in muy poetry and my fiction, to be a real person and myself, to use my own personal material. In talking about my books, my poems, and on this blog, I hope for genuineness to be my keynote. That could be part of my platform too.
Keynote of my author platform: having fun
All of this brings me to another belief: that being an author should be fun for me. It started as fun in my childhood, when I became an avid reader of the Oz fantasies, and spent hours immersed in someone else’s imagination, then began to create my own worlds. It was the best fun — right up there with sailing around the neighborhood on my bicycle! So if I post on FB, Twitter, or anywhere, it’s going to be from the urge to have fun, have a conversation, create something, or tell you about something that excites me. It’s got to be organic, or I don’t want to play.
Anotehr part of my author platform is that I’m having fun being fully engaged on social media. I love playing around with my friends who are readers, writers, poets, authors, musicians, artists, animal-lovers, scholars, journalists, politically engaged citizens, and anyone else who’s excited and enthusiastic about life. It’s brought me riches and love, to have this network of people I enjoy being connected to, here where I live, and around the world. I learn things that become part of my stories, and I get inspired.
I hope I inspire you that creating an author platform to promote your book should be easy and fun!
My recommendation is to build your author platform islowly and thoughtfully. Be yourself everywhere that makes you feel at ease to be. And definitely be on social media. I don’t know any better way to market my books than to one reader at a time on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog.
Happy on my platform over here. Writing and reading in fun places, checking into social media to keep the flow going. How do you go about building and enhancing your writing life? I’d love to learn more about you.