This week, we've invited BookWorks' professional colleague, Dr. Judith Briles, (aka the Book Shepherd) to share her perspective on the important topic of how to build your publishing platform. We will be presenting her insights and tips, excerpted from her successful book on the subject, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms, (which was the IndieFab Book of the Year) as a two-part series.
Here is Part One...
Creating Your Publishing Platform
- Have you set its stage...its foundation...its platform?
- How about for you? Do you know what your stage...your foundation...your platform is all about?
If you think publishing platforms happen overnight; if you think their creation is a solo event; or if you think that they are only your social media contacts and connections, you need to think again.
Now, answer these questions:
- Do you know what ignites your passion for your topics?
- Have you created a vision for both you as the author and for your book.
- Have you really probed into your commitment factor in time, energy and yes, money?
- And do you know who your crowd is?
All these come into play when it comes to building a solid publishing platform for you and your book. Is social media important today? Yes, but before social media and mega crowds come into play, the seeding and infrastructure needs to be in place: your passion, your vision, and your commitment.
There is a fine line—but a critical one, a line that will begin to separate as you continue on your writing journey. Initially, book and author platforms appear to be one—yet they are not. Though they are both essential parts of your overall publishing platform, don’t think of them as inseparable twins.
Your Publishing Platform is Actually Two Platforms
Your Author platform is all about you—your persona, your passion for the art and craft of writing, as well as the commitment that you will put into it—your personality is all over it.
Your Book platform is all about the book—a distinct personality in its own right, with its characters and scenes, or the answers that it provides to the nonfiction reader. In nonfiction, some authors focus on one issue; others cover multiple. In fiction, some authors center their books on one protagonist; others spread their writing wings.
Some authors are soloists—writing only one book. Others find that books begin to multiply. Sometimes in a series format; at other times, new genres open. Your author platform will build on your expanding book empire. As more confidence comes your way; your reputation as an expert or storyteller is enhanced; people will seek you out.
Superfans are created and anything written turns to sales gold (J.K. Rowling, James Patterson, Debbie MacComber, Stephen King, David Weber, David McCullough, Erik Larson). Your book empire builds on the title or series of books (Harry Potter—did you know that book #8 in the series pops this July?—, The Hunger Games, The DaVinci Code, The Power of Positive Thinking).
The reputation of your quality of writing and information/expertise spreads. It becomes a coveted resource—whether for providing solutions or offering entertainment.
Each book you write and publish add to your success journey. It’s important to understand that not all books will do as well as others, some might even be duds. Yet each one adds to the fabric of you, the author, enabling you to stretch your platforms and audiences. It’s your vision, your passion and your commitment that are the driving force.
There will be times when you will feel out of sync with work, life, family, book, even self. It’s the authoring life. Sometimes it's so exciting, you can barely contain yourself: you’ve created a rock star chapter. At other times, so lonely that you'd talk to anything, even Wilson the volley ball, as Tom Hanks did in the movie, Castaway. The chapter that you wrote, the one that you thought was the cat’s meow, turns out to have a tad of sour milk in the second read-through.
Your publishing platform will always begin with some type of statement of fact—why you wrote this book; why you are the author for it; why you are committed to it and its theme/topic; what value you and it bring, and who the book is created for. You will want to convey this all with confidence, clarity, competence and conviction.
The Author and Book platforms...you can’t be successful in your publishing journey without them. Think of them as your essence, your core infrastructure. Part Two will identify and explore building your superfans and the business side of publishing.
Dr. Judith Briles is the author of 35 books. Her book, Author YOU: Creating and Building Your Author and Book Platforms was the IndieFab Book of the Year. The CrowdFunding Guide for Authors and Writers was released last summer and her next book is How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers and Boo-Boos will be available in May. She’s the Founder of AuthorU.org and is known as The Book Shepherd. Get her Weekly Kick-Butt Tips on her website, www.TheBookShepherd.com, and follow her on Twitter @MyBookShepherd. Join the new Facebook group, Publishing with the Book Shepherd.
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