Guest Blogger: Hayley Walsh
HELLO, I’M HERE. CAN YOU SEE ME? BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM
(EXCERPT FROM ‘WRITE THAT BOOK – HELPFUL RAMBLINGS OF A SELF-PUBLISHED AUTHOR’)
If you want to be seen as a writer, you need to build an author platform, a brand if you like. Yes, you can most certainly do this before your book is published, or even written. What is an author platform? An author platform is simply a writer’s presence on the internet.
Movies have trailers for a reason. To generate interest and excitement around their upcoming release. Why should books be any different? Make yourself known in the writing community. Wave your freak flag if you need to, but whatever you do, jump up and down waving your arms and say, ‘Hey, here I am.’ They say most writers are introverts, but this is no time to be shy.
Just because you are not yet published, doesn’t mean you are not an author. I hate hearing people refer to themselves as aspiring authors. If you write, you are an author. You don’t hear people say, ‘I’m only an aspiring fire fighter, as I am yet to save someone from a burning building.’
The writing community is very active on all platforms of social media. Are you already on Facebook? Create an author page linked to your account. Remember to only post writing related things on your author page, as you are building your brand after all. Keep it separate from your personal profile.
If using Twitter, use trending hashtags. Some of the most commonly used include, #Writing #AmWriting, and #WritingCommunity. Using hashtags will help other writers find you, so you can build a following, and start to engage with others.
I must admit, I struggle using Instagram as an author, but I am still active on the platform. Every social media outlet is an opportunity to be seen. I post things such as my book covers, covers of books I’ve read, and photos of me working on my current work in progress.
Try to ensure you are active on all platforms, post regularly, and most importantly, engage with others. Nobody likes someone who only posts to promote themselves. The writing community as a whole, is an engaging and supportive one, so come and join the party. I’ll bring the wine.
Think about an author website. You can have a free website, or pay for one with your own domain. Having your own domain helps with being taken seriously as an author, but a free website is still a good option if funds are tight. It’s a bit like ice-cream. Vanilla is good, but vanilla choc-chip is that little bit better.
My author site has a blog that contains excerpts from my upcoming books, book reviews, interviews, and insights into my writing journey. A website is also a great place to promote your books once published. The great thing about a website is, you can make it your own. Let your personality shine through.
Ensure your website has a sign up or subscribe button. This will help you gather a list of readers email addresses, with their permission of course, so you can send out email campaigns, and have people notified if you post on your blog.
Whether it’s on your website or on social media, let people know what genre you write, to help you connect with other authors of that genre. Your potential readers are their readers. Maybe write a guest post and invite others to do the same on your site. Try not to contact someone unless you have had meaningful engagement with them in some capacity first. Don’t be the creepy stalker who sidles up to a bedroom window uninvited.
Remember earlier, I said this is no time to be shy? Here’s why. Podcasts, radio interviews and YouTube are also great ways to get your name and brand out there.
Well, that covers the basics of building your author platform. So, what are you waiting for!
Hayley is an Australian author of light hearted fiction. Hayley was born and bred in Sydney, and lives in Far western Sydney with her partner and two young stepsons. She love animals (don’t all writers), is a coffee addict, and has a wicked sense of humour. Hayley’s sense of humour is brought to life in her story telling. She loves to make people laugh, by writing fun stories they can relate to. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.