Growing an online platform presents a challenge for most authors who prefer writing books to self-promoting and following social media. And yet publishers count on an author's platform for marketing. How do authors balance this responsibility when, as award-winning author Chris Fabry reminds, “Your online platform is only as good as the quality of the product”?
I asked nine authors, six of whom are NYT Best Selling Authors, the following question and compiled their answers.
What’s one thing you would do if you could go back five years knowing what you know now about growing an online platform?
1. Write well. Spend more time on craft than social media. Focus your energy on quality.
2. Write MORE books. That’s your best marketing tool.
3. Create an up-to-date and professional website.
4. Zero in on which social media works best for you and do it well.
5. Find 3-5 personal branding connections (pets, exercise, family, gardening...)
and create a circle of friends.
6. Post daily in one of your chosen social media platforms.
7. Respond personally to readers’ questions
8. Create a community of your readers. Engage them and join in the conversation.
9. Reach out to authors and celebrities. Interact.
10. Hire out some of your posting and memes.
(Most authors would prefer to hire ALL of it out!)
++ Should go without saying, but always a good reminder: Pray. A lot.
Their action verbs inspire me: Write, focus, improve, create, respond, answer, engage, follow, interact, connect, pray. I’ll talk more about their specific responses in the next week.
Stay tuned on social media where I'm growing my own online platform.
Many thanks to the following authors who answered and interacted on social media:
Jodi Picoult (NYT Best Selling Author: Small Great Things, My Sister’s Keeper); Debbie Macomber (13 #1 NYT Best Selling books); Rachel Hauck (NYT Best Selling Author: The Wedding Dress); Jacquelyn Mitchard (NYT Best Selling Author: The Deep End of the Ocean); Chris Fabry (Award-winning author: The Promise of Jesse Woods); Lisa Wingate (NYT Best Selling author: Before We Were Yours); Martha Hall Kelly (NYT Best-Selling Author: Lilac Girls); Martin Wilsey (Solstice 31 Saga); Steven James (National bestselling and award-winning author: Every Deadly Kiss).