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 Most of these unpublished writers have been focused on getting down their book into a manuscript.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)