On any writing website/help book/blog you’re likely to encounter the words “author platform.” Often it is presented as “to be a successful writer, focus on growing your author platform”. However, as you probably already know, doing so is about as straight forward as writing an actual book (which takes years, on average) or creating a five star restaurant (which happens rarely, on average). Some of this has to do with the fact that there are countless social media sites, and some of it to do with the fact that every single author is trying to grow their own platform.
Here’s my guide to tackling social media and your “platform” in a doable manner.
1. Make your author website.
The author website is great to have a place to host a blog (which is encouraged although not necessary. If you do blog, you probably only need to post one or two times a week). It’s also a great place to post information about you, your books, and other author-y information (you can decide what this entails). Also, add links to your other social media sites (yes, you do need separate author accounts).
Setting up a website can be relatively complicated, but doesn’t have to be. Sites like WordPress offer free websites, although they do have the name WordPress in the title (like mollyfennig.wordpress.com) which is less professional. You can buy a web domain later if you decide to, also, without having to worry about making or buying site layouts/templates (making the web address mollyfennig.com without changing anything else, for example).
I opened my Twitter account 3 months ago and already have about 800 followers (yay!). Initially, I just tweeted quotes (inspirational ones or those about writing) making sure to add a picture when there were enough characters left (22) and adding relevant hashtags (#amwriting, #author, #quote, #inspirationalquote, #writer, etc. you can look these up online or by looking at author accounts).
Be sure to like/retweet other people’s content and reach out to other authors. Also, if you blog, share links to your blog posts on Twitter.
One easy way to increase followers is to follow a bunch of people (pretty easy concept). Then, you can download an app to figure out who didn’t follow you back and unfollow them (be sure to wait some time, probably about a week.)
I just got an Instagram recently (follow me @mollyfennig !) Initially, it was a strange concept to share pictures as an author who normally just deals with words. Here are some things authors can share, though.
Pictures of books you’re reading, pictures of your book covers/where your speaking/other promotional materials, pictures of inspirational quotes (you can make these with, you guessed it, an app), pictures of things that inspire you, and basically anything else that pertains to you as an author.
Create a Facebook page (under the category artists, then choose author). Invite people to like your page, share blog posts, and post updates on upcoming books, etc). You can make an event for each book that comes out and invite people to it, instead of having to make a new page for each book.
5. Other social media
I tried Pintrest, but found it hard to generate a following while taking a lot of effort, it would be a good one for you to try, but may not work out.
Goodreads is great when you do go to publish your book or to rate other people’s books.
Of course, there are countless others, but don’t feel like you have to have an account on every single site. It will be too much, I promise.
6. A word of caution
It’s easy to get sucked into social media and lose writing time. You have to set aside a fair amount of time to get a return, but don’t try to do it all at once. Pick a site to start with, then slowly add more once you’ve mastered it. Don’t post too often, make sure to help other people out as well, and reference Google when needed. (For example, look up the best times to post and what days to post what kind of content.)
If you found this post helpful, share it on your (possibly new) social media accounts!
What have you done to “grow your author platform”? Comment below.