Saturday, April 21, 2012

Author Platform

Becoming known, or seen. Why is it so important? Why is it the advice that everyone shares? The reason is really quite simple; every person you take the time to get to know just might buy one or more of your books.

But just how do you go about developing said platform? For me, it wasn't easy. I've never been one to toot my own horn. I'd much rather stand aside and watch what everyone else does. If the turn-out is good for them, I'll try that. If not, I won't go there. It worked for me for most of my life. But now that I am a published author with a handicap of not living even in a town, I had to get used to 'tooting my own horn' everywhere I could.

When I first published, I didn't have any internet, and I had no idea what a platform was, or that there even was such a thing. All I had was an email address and I scarcely knew how to work that. I didn't know any other writers and so had no advice to go by. I wasn't entirely clueless about the business end of selling my book, though. I was fully aware that I would have trouble getting in touch with people and talking to them about buying my book. That is the biggest reason why I paid for the largest advertising package AuthorHouse had to offer. I mean, I was supposed to have my very own 'valet' - it sounded pretty good to me.

Imagine how disappointed I was when all my valet did for me was send out something like 300 emails. To her credit, when I complained about obviously seeing no results, she did it again, but I knew better than to bother asking again. I really hate it when people shove their 'whatever' in my face, looking expectantly at me, waiting for me to shell out however many dollars for their creation. I wasn't about to do the same. I've always believed in the Golden Rule, though I don't consider myself religious. My valet was helpful in another way. She advised me to get a Facebook account and a Twitter account.

Since then, I've explored other sites like Goodreads, Authors dot com, Agent Query Connect and LinkedIn. All of these were, and are, very helpful. Through Agent Query Connect, I learned of an ongoing contest, You Write On, where I learned a lot about the mechanics of writing. Competition is stiff but the feedback is invaluable and I was so hungry for such. The only person who read my book before it was published was my mother and her comment was "It's very nice but I wouldn't buy it." My mother liked romance and my book is no romance novel.

Facebook is still my center of operations, my corner of the world. Coming to a logical decision, my profile page is me (of course), and since I have quite a few books waiting to be published, my fan page needed to be more about my writing than about any particular book. Though it was something I had considered, I just didn't know what to do with a single book fan page, and then what would I do with a dozen of them somewhere down the road? Every friend I make, I take a moment to welcome them to my corner of the world. The same with every new fan, though it is only recently that Facebook has made easy to see who had recently liked my page.

Another thing a writer can do is start a blog. Blogging can be really quite fun but you have to plunge in with both feet. Before I started, I had no idea what I would do with a blog. I didn't consider myself an article writer so I had put it off. When I was having trouble commenting on several blogs I read, I decided creating one might help. It didn't but there it was - I had a blog. Now what? Well, as you can see, this blog has evolved into a place where I talk about what I've learned along my writing career. Now, sadly/funnily, I have four blogs. The Fortunes of Magic, my blog novel is now complete and that book will be published as soon as possible. Anna of Alaska came about by popular demand and is true stories about my life here in the wilderness of Alaska. And then there is Anna's Philosophy where I have taken to expounding on my various philosophies, whatever they may be at the time.

Another important link in your platform is a webpage. I use weebly.com. It's free and really rather nice, and certainly very easy to manipulate. Someday I'll upgrade to my own domain name, but that can wait until I'm no longer a starving artist.

As many of you have likely heard me comment from time to time, I do my advertising every day on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. I am now a moderator of two different groups on Facebook as well.

My platform seems to be growing all the time. Is yours? What do you do to expand your platform?




12 comments:

Mattias Kroon said...

I really enjoy your travel as the talented author you are Anna.I had to focus solely on GYBF and my other business but I have learnt a lot from you as well.I am glad for your honest attitude.You are on your way though the wilderness you are living in.

Anna L. Walls said...

Thanks so much, Mattias. I learned a lot from you too, having questioned you a time or two on this or that, not to mention just paying attention. You have been a true asset to my life. Thanks for stopping by.

Alsblog said...

I was fortunate, Anna. I created a platform by writing for friends before I ever thought of publishing a story.

Although sales in the real world have been less than what I hoped. I still have an ever growing on line fan base, which never fails to astound me

Anna L. Walls said...

Then you had a huge head-start on me, Alan.

Carol Wills said...

I really enjoyed reading about your sojorn in the world of promotion. It's a long hard road we travel Anna but we will get there in the end.

Anna L. Walls said...

It was a learning experience, for sure, Carol. Thanks for stopping by.

William Kendall said...

I've made use of a number of the sites. I've found that blogging has been one of the keys for me, personally, for exposure. I seem to get a lot of hits that way.

Anna L. Walls said...

Yeah. Every once in a while I do something and get a major spike in hits. Wish I knew what it was - I'd do it more often.

tbaoo said...

one of the things i do is read really good heartfelt advice and absorb experience from others. that's why i'm here, and i'm not disappointed .. when i finally get going on the writing i'll be tapping you for advice .. ;)

Anna L. Walls said...

I look forward to it, Tbaoo. I love reading your blog.

annigirl72 said...

Thanks Anna, I enjoyed hearing about your experiences. I'm still learning so much about writing because even though I've always known it was what brought me fulfillment, I was told that it was unpractical to pursue it. Now I know that practical or not, I should write. So that's what I'm doing, following a dream but sometimes dreams do come true. If I ever get any money, having met you online through facebook and your blog, I will so send for a copy of your book! Thanks for all you do.

Anna L. Walls said...

It may be unpractical, but it sure is fulfilling and fun, and there are ways to make a buck or two from writing. Look at all the article writers out there who have their own columns.