Lately I have been obsessing over how to build that most mysterious of things: a platform. It, apparently, involves blogging and tweeting regularly. But it feels as though I should be doing something more. But what?
Alan Rinzler writes that:
It’s still about visibility, but today’s approach has changed. The New Author Platform requires a focus on developing an unobstructed back and forth between authors and their readers, with the authors — not the publishers — controlling the flow. Now it’s the author, not a publicist, who inspires readers to buy the book. The New Author Platform allows not only well-established authors, but unknown, first-time beginners to do an end run around the conservative gate-keepers and reach readers directly.
Here are Alan Rinzler's tips:
Successful authors today are designing websites filled with their work-in-progress, writing frequently updated blogs, tweeting, and shooting home-style, brief videos to post on their sites and on YouTube. They’re offering original content in samples and chunks, with invitations for feedback, and taking every opportunity to comment and join forums and other online venues on topics that relate to their own work.
In this way, they’re creating a public face that represents who they are and what they want to say.
Readers like to know and trust an author before buying their book. An artificial, smiley-face false front won’t do the trick. Instead, authors need to extend their literary skills to create a genuine bona-fide online persona that has human quirks, dimension, and nuance. You can be funny, cranky, indignant, nostalgic, didactic.
As long as you’re honest and persuasive, you have a better chance of getting potential readers interested to the point where they make the final commitment and put their money down.
Authors don’t need to be full professors at Harvard to contribute useful comments and information online. Post brief sections from your book, and take social networking seriously by commenting and tweeting to build your reputation and visibility. This is true whether your subject is science and technology, history and biography, food and cooking, parenting and relationships, really any subject in any genre, and whether you’re a fiction or non-fiction writer.
Consider yourself a public service resource in the field you’re writing about. Your reputation and expertise will flourish in proportion to the value of the content you offer.
A cardinal rule of the new author platform is never to actually ask people to buy your book. Rather promulgate your work by making an enduring connection. Establish an authentic online personality, offer valuable information, analysis, opinion, and inspiring entertainment.
These are the elements of the New Author Platform that will ultimately sell your book.
What I found especially useful were the examples at the end of Mr. Rinzler's article where he gives examples of authors who have built sites that exhibit the characteristics he discusses.
Here is a link to the article: The "New Author Platform" -- What you need to knnow
Thanks to The Book Designer for the link.