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Building your Author Platform

Literary Agent Jim Hart

 

An Author Platform?

Yes, an author platform. Any author who wants to sell books needs to build an author platform. But how?

One of the best things you can do to build you author platform is to grow an audience of subscribers to your blog. A healthy e-mail list is attractive to potential publishers.

Lack of author platform continues to become one of the top reasons we see proposals declined from a publisher.

According to a recent blog from Rob Eager e-mail is forty times more effective at “acquiring customers than all social media combined.”  That’s a bold statement. But consider that your e-mail list allows you to communicate directly to your readers. It’s more targeted than Twitter or Facebook. (BTW- I just noticed the Pope has 8.75 million Twitter followers, he should have no problem getting a book contract.)

A very effective way to grow your e-mail subscription list is to offer some free content as an enticement for a reader to subscribe to your e-mail blog. In the same blog Rob Eager addresses the myth that giving away free content could have a negative effect on current and future sales. He counters this by explaining “free content is a low-cost effective way to gain new customers.”

So what content do you have that you could format into a short, downloadable PDF?

  • An unpublished short story
  • A five-day devotion series
  • A short collection of your poetry
  • A handful of your favorite recipes that tie in with your current book or work-in-progress
  • A how-to manual for one of your hobbies

But whatever content you offer, it needs to have value to the reader. It should be something that they feel they may not be able to find elsewhere. Think about content that is unique to you as a writer.

In addition to using your blog to collect e-mail subscribers, using a site like Noisetrade is a great way to offer content to potential readers. Noisetrade originally started as a “pay what you want” site for musicians to release content. They’re also now allowing authors to offer content— everything from a complete book to a short story. With Noisetrade, the consumer can pay you a small “tip” or download for free if they so choose. But either way they have to supply you with their e-mail address.

Remember, the larger your e-mail list is the stronger your online marketing asset becomes. And that could get you a J from a publisher.

I’m looking forward to presenting a class on “Marketing for Writers Who Don’t Like to Market” at the Montrose conference this year. This class will look at marketing and promoting your book in a different light, starting with Jesus’ Parable of the Talents. We will define marketing simply as engaging with others. These are the questions that will be presented:

Why to engage?

Who to engage?

When to engage?

Where to engage?

The thought of marketing and promoting can be overwhelming. It’s my goal for writers to be encouraged to step out and let their message be heard, and starting small is okay!

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Jim will present two more classes at Montrose this July. All his classes will help writers zero in on key elements essential to getting published:

What to do if there is No Market for Your Book

This class will examine what to do with your manuscript when you are told there is no market for what you’ve just written. We will explore options such as self-publishing, re-purposing the manuscript, as well as changing direction and writing something new.

Peace in the Literary Storm

There are tools and practices that can help us deal with discouragement when it enters, or threatens to enter, our lives. As both Christians and creative people, we can be subjected to seasons of disappointment. However, it’s possible to not only survive through these seasons but to still thrive in spite of a dry spell.

In this workshop we will consider:

1) Living the dream: it could be worse; I could be a ________________(fill in the blank)

2) Faith vs. Plan B

3) Patience, trust, exercise, and other bad words

“Peace in the Literary Storm” will encourage you to dig in for the long haul and be confident in the gifts the Lord has given you.

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I look forward to seeing you at our conference July 16th to the 21st!

Marsha

Director MCWC

 

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