Whether you are a traditionally published, or an Indie author, or a hybrid author, you will be in charge of marketing your novels.
Many authors do not realize that they must treat their writing as a business. As an entrepreneur, your job is to make sure you have a constant source of income.
Just to be clear, by a traditionally published author, I mean someone who probably hired an agent, signed a contract, and received a four to five-figure advance from their publisher.
By Indie author, I mean someone who decided to publish on their own, who mostly offers e-books, and who earns their income directly from what they sell, minus the cost of the platform where the books are launched.
By a hybrid author, I mean someone who does self-publishing on the side and is also traditionally published. Today, I will talk about building your platform.
Having a platform is essential for any writer.
It’s usually a website you use not only to present your work, but also to offer goodies. Your platform not only tells your reader what you have to offer and where to buy it, it helps you connect with your fans and develop fruitful relationships.
Because you are facing a lot of competition, you have to offer something better and connect more.
First, focus. Write in one genre, one age group, and write series. Change your pen name when you write for different audiences. Fans like to stay as long as possible in the worlds they love. They like to know more about the characters they have admired. They like you to write the same kind of books they have enjoyed so that they can keep coming back for more.
Second, build your platform. Publishers will not take another chance on you if they do not see progress in sales. Sales do not depend on them anymore. They depend on you and how you present yourself. You can also chose to invest time in social media. Focus your energy on Facebook. Forget about Twitter. Make yourself available online for school visits, library events, and website tours.
Third, build your fan club. Some authors’ websites just display their books and where to buy them, but others offer a wide range of experiences. Some websites offer board games or video games to entertain their visitors and keep them coming. Others have a forum. Most forums/chat rooms nowadays have moved to Facebook groups, which allow much more freedom such as the use of live events.
Games/Movies/Artwork: Brandon Sanderson: https://brandonsanderson.com/
Kit for educators: Brandon Mull: http://brandonmull.com/
Chronicles of Alsea: http://www.chroniclesofalsea.com/writing-whoops-the-silencer/
Q&A: Books of Ember: http://www.jeanneduprau.com/answers.shtml
Mysteries included in Books: Spirit Animals: http://spiritanimals.scholastic.com/
Videos/trivia: Percy Jackson: http://www.percyjacksonbooks.com/
Note that some of those links use the name of the series rather than the name of the author.
What you might offer:
Something for educators (novel guide or deal).
A VIP password-accessible for loyal fans.
Cut scenes, novellas, prequels to your stories.
Maps, genealogies, charts, symbols.
Drawings of characters & their clothes and food.
Fan art gallery.
Free novels in exchange for beta readers.
Talk about your writing process, where you write.
- Be creative…
Engage the dialogue with your fans and answer their questions. Some people say 1,000 true fans are better than 10,000 sales. True fans will allow you to make a living while occasional buyers will come and go. To get the best fanbase, prefer connection to income.
Many Indie authors admit that they developed their fan base only after the third book, and they still have to write four or five books a year to maintain this fanbase.
If you are a traditionally published author, you might have to wait for years before the next book gets published, so a website is even more important for you to stay connected with your readership.
As a hybrid author, you probably can afford to wait a few years to get your next novel released in the market while you are offering novellas on the side or give a gist of your next world to your readers while they wait.
No matter what you do, build a strong platform. The more (long term / right kind of) work you put into it, the more successful you will get.
What Do Publishers DO? http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/288447.html
Oliphant, Kirsten. What Is Platform and How Do You Build It?
If you liked this article, consider reading Sussu’s articles: “Writers Get organized” at Novel Without Further ado: http://novelwithoutfurtherado.weebly.com/