Sunday, May 26, 2019

Be a Visible Author

As authors, we need to be connected to our readers.

Last week I taught a continuing class at the Colorado Christian Writers Conference on the topic of platform called You Can Build a Platform! As a part of teaching this five session class, I pulled together a 28–page handout. I'm including the link here for every reader. I encourage you to download this resource and follow the extra links it contains for your own writing life.

While word “platform” is often used within publishing, it is insider language. At writers conferences, many people are attending their first conference. They have no idea what someone is asking about their platform. Most of these unpublished writers have been focused on getting down their book into a manuscript. A few of them have learned about one sheets to present their idea. A few others have learned about book proposals and worked on a proposal. But the concept of platform is completely foreign to these writers—as I can see it in their eyes when I mention it. I have a free ebook on this concept called Platform Building Ideas for Every Author (follow the link to get it right away).

Book publishers are actively looking for authors with connections to readers (what they call platforms). Yet from my many years in publishing. I understand this business is complicated with many twists and turns. A seemingly “minor” issue can be a costly mistake for the publisher and the author. If you are a writer, you need to be connected to your readers. I understand for most writers this process can be a challenge and outside of your comfort zone. Most writers are introverts and don't want to interact with anyone. They prefer to sit at their keyboards and write. Unfortunately this isolated stance does not sell books or reach readers. 

As writers, we need to be visible and connected to our readers. To achieve visibility, we have to consistently build a platform. Your way of building this connection will be different from my way but each author has to be aware of this need and be consistently working at expanding their reach. As you build your reach to readers, be aware that you can do it on “rented media” (which you don't control like Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or some other social network). The risk is if you “violate” their terms, then these networks can terminate your account and end your reaching these readers.

Our most effective way to reach readers is through our email list, our website and our blog (all things that we control as writers and are our personal media sources). The numbers are important to agents and editors so keep track and be growing it through creating lead magnets and producing valuable content.

I encourage each of us to continue innovating and looking for ways to expand your reach as an author. Also keep knocking on doors and take advantage of new opportunities. Each of us (experienced or brand new) have to pitch our ideas, our proposals, our skills to others. From my experience, very little happens without this pitching process. Each of us would probably like to avoid it so we are in demand—but for most of us, that isn't our situation so we have to be working at our own visibility.

How are you expanding your readership and visibility as an author and writer? Let me know in the comments below.


Are you a visible author? How can you increase your visibility? Get ideas here from a prolific author and editor. (ClickToTweet)

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4 Comment:

At 12:03 PM, Blogger Dianne Left a note...

Thank you for the 28-page handout. I grabbed it and can't wait to make my way through it.

I Tweet often, but had neglected growing my followers. I've been trying to do better by following a few new accounts (10 or 20) once or twice a week. And then while I'm on Twitter, I check who has followed me and follow them back if they are a real person who is in the audience I want to attract. (That means, since I'm a writer, I want an audience of writers. So I don't follow back the Real Estate people or the Quit Smoking people.)

And here's something I think is important on Twitter: I'm not afraid to block Followers if they are going into an area I don't want my Twitter going in. For example sexy girls looking for relationships get blocked. Even writers who write "erotica" get blocked by me. Not my thing and I find when I allow a Follower like that to stay, I get a whole bunch more of them.

At 1:51 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...


Thanks for the feedback and comment. I hope you get a lot out of my 28 page handout. You are right about Twitter (and in fact every social network), we need to control our own feed. I do this a bit but not as often as I would like.


At 12:11 AM, Blogger Unknown Left a note...

Hi Terry, thanks for your thoughts on this topic. Coming from a marketing copywriting background and having transitioned into being a nonfiction ghostwriter and writing coach for professionals, I'm constantly educating my clients and audience about the value of building their brand to help with awareness and sales of their book. I did want to dig into the resources you linked to, but alas, I received error messages and couldn't download it.

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Terry Whalin Left a note...

Hey, thanks for this comment and my shortcut tool has been messed up through a tech glitch. I've been trying to get it resolved and in the meantime, I revised some of the links and fixed it so you will have access to the resources I point out. Terry


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