How to build an awesome author platform

Writing Etc.: Become a Writer for Hire

June 8, 2015

~~~ Notes from Minnesota ~~~

Hey Freelancer,

It’s always something. First, everything gets derailed due to cancer and all the stuff that comes with it. Life is finally evening out, then the powers that be at the world headquarters of Filbert Publishing (a.k.a Kandiyohi… ha) decide to replace nearly every street in town.

Every. Single. Street.

So yeah, if I’m not dealing with water shut-offs, I discover the electricity is iffy. Just yesterday, the road crew pounded the cement so hard that my computer monitors wiggled. Needless to say, the Filbert Publishing mascots spend most their day barking in opposition to these new developments.

No problem, though. The road work should be done sometime in… er… 2016.

Ah, small town life.

Kinda reminds me of writing careers. If it’s not one thing it’s another.

One day Google loves websites, the next it’s all about blogs. Then that changes. I just got all our sites updated so they’re “mobile friendly,” and who knows how long it’ll be before we get to change things again.

One day historical fiction is hot, the next it’s all about erotica and fantasy. How-to articles are fab… then life revolves around listicles.

Winds change. Opinions evolve. Who knows what’s going to happen next?

Truth is, nobody does. That’s why, if you aim to be a sane writer, you work with what you can, leave the rest, and (this is most important) write what you love. The minute you start contorting your talent to fit the whims of public “opinion,” you’ve lost the game.

I’ve always told my writing students to stay true to your calling. Write what’s in your heart. Keep doing that and you’ll eventually (hopefully) find your true audience.

Great readers are a gift. Don’t let them down by tossing aside your hard earned writing talent aside for the latest fad.

At least, this is what has worked for me… for now. But I have a hunch it’ll work for a long time.

Onward and upward,

Beth 🙂

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Got Questions?

  • How do I land writing assignments?
  • How do I get published?
  • How do I gain a readership?
  • What makes an effective query?
  • How do I sell my writing?

All these questions (and many more) answered here: “Advice to Freelance Writers: Insider Secrets to Effective Shoestring Marketing, Managing a Winning Mindset, and Thriving in Any Economy, Volumes 1 – 3.” Get the scoop here: http://filbertpublishing.com/Advice13.html

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How to build a strong author platform

Beth Ann Erickson

I recently spoke with an aspiring author on the phone. He was pitching his book to me. When I asked about his platform, I noted a definite hesitation in his voice. “I’m just a new author,” he said.

New author or not, if you want to get successfully published, its imperative to build your platform. Luckily, it’s easy. Here are a few pointers:

Identify what makes you unique.

It’s probably not a stretch to say that right now, a gazillion writers would like to sell their writing to someone… anyone. I always tell my writing students, “the only thing someone cannot rip off is you, your personality, your unique way of communicating.

You rarely sell your writing. What you sell is you because you are the only truly unique aspect of your biz that can’t get ripped off, swiped, pirated… whatever. Pinpoint your uniqueness and capitalize on it.

Also, by embracing the one thing that makes you unique, you’ll have a much easier time finding your audience.

Post regularly on your blog, Facebook and Twitter.

Your goal is to generate conversations surrounding your work. If you post relevant content often, Google tends to like you. If you stimulate conversations, you can create buzz. If you create buzz, you can grow your readership.

Create an ebook… and give it away… to people who sign up for your email list.

It’s a very good thing to keep in touch with your readers. You’ll find it’s far easier to build your own email list of readers if you offer them a taste of your expertise. An excerpt, a targeted ebook, a group of articles, anything will work.

If you recall, when you subscribed to Writing Etc., you got your own copy of Power Queries. (If you didn’t email and I’ll send you the link.) I’ve had many compliments on that easy-to-read, simple to implement tips contained in that little book. Finally…

Stick to your editorial schedule.

Don’t give up. Time is your friend, discouragement is your enemy. You build your platform task by task, day by day, month, by month. Give it time and watch legions of writers flounder and give up. Meanwhile, you just keep plugging away, continually moving closer towards your goals.

See? Author platforms aren’t confusing. They’re not difficult either. But they do require regular maintenance. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll find your writing career far ahead of the pack.

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You can use any of these articles free of charge on your own website or zine. Just don’t make any changes and be sure to include this byline:

This article is courtesy of Filbert Publishing. Make your writing sparkle, write killer queries, get published. Subscribe to Writing Etc., the free e-mag for freelancers and receive the e-book “Power Queries.” http://filbertpublishing.com

Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “How to build an awesome author platform

  1. Doreen Pendgracs

    Hello Beth. Glad to hear your health has improved and you’re back in the saddle. Sorry about the disruption in your world! I agree that building an author’s platform is so important, and such a big job. A couple of year’s ago, when I was attempting to market my latest book, I was told by several agents that my platform wasn’t large enough for a book of this nature. I’ve kept working at it and managed to publish the first volume with the aid of crowdfunding. Am now researching the second volume, and still working madly on my platform. A job that never ends …

    1. BethAnnErickson

      That’s such an excellent example! Kudos on taking control of your writing career. Crowdfunding can be tough, you’ve clearly built a fantastic platform… and yes it’s a long-term project. Best of luck with your second volume. I fully expect to hear when it’s released. 🙂

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