Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Resource For Author's Platform Building

The last time I wrote about platform, I received several vocal comments--especially from the fiction authors, who many times believe they don't need a platform. Yes, story is important but increasingly the better your platform, the more likely to sell your book.

In the last few days, I've read a new book from Stephanie Chandler called The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform, Leveraging the Internet to Sell More Books. I just wrote a five star review for Amazon but wanted to also give you the insight from this review--then I have even more information from Stephanie Chandler. First my review:

Every writer has great dreams and aspirations of selling many copies of their published book. Stephanie Chandler gives you the real story about publishers. They can make beautiful well-crafted books but selling those books? That's a key responsibility for the author. THE AUTHOR'S GUIDE TO BUILDING AN ONLINE PLATFORM gives writers the critical tools to sell their books into the marketplace.

As Chandler writes at the bottom of the first page of Chapter 1: "The reality in the world of publishing is that without marketing, a book simply cannot be successful. And even if you have the biggest publishers on the planet behind you, it is unlikely that they will run your entire marketing campaign for you. You will still be required to do the majority of the work."

Publishers use the word "platform" a great deal and Chandler explains, "The formation of a platform is essential for publishing nonfiction and helpful for writers of fiction. A platform encompasses your ability to reach a broad audience before the book is even released."…"Authors of fiction and gift books aren't always required to have a platform first. But if you come to the table with one, your chances of getting published will be dramatically increased. Agents and publishers want authors who can sell books. Once you realize this and figure out how to demonstrate that you can do that, your future in publishing will be bright." (page 6)

In a no nonsense style, Chandler gives you the details to stand apart from the run of the mill book submission or published book author—because you will be motivated and informed to sell more books."

That was my review. Now I want to give you an article from Stephanie Chandler's website which will give you a bit of her writing style and a sample of the type of information in this book:

Create Passive Income Online: A Formula for Financial Freedom

By Stephanie Chandler

Passive income is money you make while you sleep. Real estate is the most traditional form of passive income, but the Internet has opened up opportunities for anyone who wants to generate revenue online. Following is a strategy you can follow to develop your own passive income business:

Create a Content-Rich Website.

Content really is king. Not only does it give your site visitors a reason to return to your site, but it gives the search engines plenty of reasons to index your pages. Load your website with articles, links and other resources. By offering free information, you can convert many of your visitors into paying customers.

Publish a Useful E-zine.

Online newsletters or e-zines are powerful tools for keeping your name in front of your customers. Pay attention to the e-zines you receive from other businesses. What do you like about them? What could you do better? Publish yours weekly or monthly and make sure it offers plenty of value. This is your chance to build a rapport with your readers while you soft-sell your products and services.

Develop Products to Sell.

Information products are powerful revenue generators. Product opportunities include books, e-books, special reports, teleseminars, workbooks, tips booklets, mp3 files and virtually and form in which you deliver information. Use your expertise to develop products that your site visitors need. Electronic products are ideal passive-income earners since once the product is created; it can continue to sell for years with little effort on your part.

Write Persuasive Ad Copy.

Once you create a quality product, you need to convince customers to get out their credit cards. Offer a list of product features, testimonials from others who have enjoyed the product, and appeal to your buyer's emotions. The key to successful ad copy is to identify the buyer's need and show them how your product will fill that need.

Automate Your Online Business.

The key to passive income is to minimize the amount of work involved. Instead of manually responding to every sale that you make or every inquiry you receive through your website, you can automate these tasks. Add a shopping cart solution to your site such as www.1shoppingcart.com, a comprehensive shopping cart solution or www.payloadz.com, a service that automates electronic file delivery.

Implement Affiliate Programs.

You can sell other people's products and services directly through your website and earn a percentage from every sale. Find products and services that compliment the content on your site. Popular affiliate programs include those offered by Amazon.com, Google Adsense (www.google.com), and Commission Junction (www.cj.com). Your shopping cart service provider may also allow you to implement your own affiliate program so that you can empower others to sell your products and services. You can also create affiliate programs through services such as Click Bank (www.clickbank.com) or Pay Dot Com (https://paydotcom.com/).

Market Your Business.

Drive traffic to your site by spreading your website link across the Internet. Some strategies to employ include swapping links with other businesses, publishing articles online through services like www.ideamarketers.com and www.ezinearticles.com, submitting press releases through www.prweb.com, and purchasing classified ads in industry publications. Try to do one to three tasks every day to market your business and soon your website traffic will begin to explode.

Continue the Product Development Cycle.

Be on the lookout for new product opportunities. Pay attention to what questions your customers are asking so you can create products that they need. Each new product should help increase your bottom line by generating new income streams and new reasons to advertise your business. Keep in mind that customers who liked your previous products will be more likely to purchase new products from you for years to come.

About the Author:

Stephanie Chandler is the author of several business and marketing books including FROM ENTREPRENEUR TO INFOPRENEUR: MAKE MONEY WITH BOOKS, E-BOOKS AND INFORMATION PRODUCTS. She is the founder of www.businessinfoguide.com, a directory of resources for entrepreneurs and www.thebusinessgrowthconnection.com, a marketing company specializing in electronic newsletters.

You may recognize that I've been writing about a number of these elements through these entries on The Writing Life. Stephanie Chandler pulls this information into a worthy resource that I recommend: The Author's Guide to Building an Online Platform.

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3 Comment:

At 6:46 AM, Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt Left a note...

Hi Terry -

I don't often comment, but I read visit your blog every day. Thanks for the excellent information and links you provide.

Susan J. Reinhardt :)

At 6:47 AM, Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt Left a note...

Oops - Should have re-read that comment before hitting the send button. That first line should read, "...but I read your blog every day." LOL


At 6:18 AM, Blogger Kristi Holl Left a note...

If I ever figure out how to do all the platform marketing that seems to be necessary--and still get the writing done--and still have time for family and ministry--then I am going to write a runaway bestseller! Until then, I continue to try to keep what feels like way too many balls in the air. How you write and agent and blog and market and review and read all that you do is still beyond me!


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