Author Platform Required?

How Do You Establish an Author Platform?

For the past several years Social Media has been putting a spin on what is expected of an author—or at least those who have yet to get their foot in the publishing house door. An established platform to market your book(s) is not only expected by publishers, it is now required.

From the many submissions I receive daily, it is plain to see that first-time authors/never-been-published-writers believe that it is still the publisher’s sole responsibility to market their book. Ten years ago, that was mostly true; however, with cyber stages such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Instagram, and LinkedIn taking hold, it’s a new ballgame where leagues of players are being left on the bench.

How Badly Do You Want to Play?

If you’re willing to put in the work, Social Media is the answer. Create a Facebook page for your project, genre, or for you as a writer. Post your favorite books, add links to popular blog sites, use Twitter to gain exposure, and Instagram photos from writers conferences or geographical locations that inspire your stories. LinkedIn—the “Network for Professionals”—is a great place to make connections and to share ideas with those likeminded, interested in the same goals and dreams. Finally, start a blog and be proactive in getting the word out. Attend conferences, join an online critique group, and follow other bloggers. There is an entire subculture happening that you need to be a part of. Established bloggers are becoming a commodity going from zero to The New York Times Bestsellers list with mind-blowing speed (relatively speaking). Publishers understand that it’s the author’s ability to reach the masses—in a matter of minutes—that has replaced the full-color ad on the publicity page. They’re searching for the next “new voice” in Social Media. That could be you!

Is There a Downside to Self-Publishing eBooks?

I’ve seen it go both ways. In one aspect, 1,000 units sold by an author is evidence to publishers that there is an audience out there for a book. But depending on the format, such as self-published hard copy or electronic edition (sometimes for free) on the internet, editors can spook. With such vast quantities of works available in addition to a cyberspace black-hole that allows material to float out there forever, publishers may take a step back when considering rights, ownership, or if the material can be removed from its eResidence in order for the publisher to turn a profit.

With the demise of brick & mortar stores, and a slow but steady annual increase in online book sales, it’s a new era for publishing. Agents and editors are still finding their way in the dawn of this new day, but one thing is certain: the power of the computer is what will get you, the author, noticed and eventually published.

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