Building an author platform

Sometimes it seems the only thing that matters these days is MARKETING.

You have to network, plug, sell, tell, promote … on and on … you have to be out there shouting from the rooftops: Look at me! I’m here!  If you’re a writer that means ‘building an author platform’.

Writing, by its very nature, tends to be a solitary business, especially if you are a fiction writer. You create worlds and people, you give birth to them on the computer and hope that they live on the page. These worlds and characters often seem more real to you than the actual world you inhabit.

But then the book is finished. You have to say goodbye to these people you have lived with so closely for so long, but you love them – and you want other people to love them. But how will they love them if they don’t know them? And that’s the rub! You have to leave your solitary state and tell people about your book. You have to build an author platform!

In earlier times, that was a simpler process. For a start the publisher did most of it for you. You’d go to the launch, do a few readings in draughty halls and silent libraries, and hope readers would find your book. But in the 21st century – that’s not enough. There’s TECHNOLOGY.

Yesterday I went to a talk organised by my local Society of Authors group by a career psychologist, Denise Taylor on Marketing Your Book in the 21st Century. The significance of the topic was shown in the numbers of people attending – about 50 people crowded into a smallish room, when usually only 15-20 attend the meetings. The talk was very good -Denise spoke about promoting your book on amazon, websites, promotional material, blogging, networking on facebook and twitter, videos on YouTube, virtual book tours – the list of possibilities is endless.

I came out energised and determined to do more, do better, do everything. However, what made me laugh was the remark I overheard afterwards in the car park from one elderly attendee to another: ‘Do you know, I just can’t be arsed!’ And sometimes I know how she feels.

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  1. Strictly Writing had a post on a similar topic last week, all of which left me feeling exactly as the comment you quote. Insofar as I do not need to earn my living at writing (and I know that I am lucky) and largely write for my own enjoyment I shall stick to self-publishing … for the time being.

  2. Lindsay says:

    Thanks for your comment, Sandra. This marketing/publicity/putting yourself around is a real trial and time-consuming. I self-published my novel ‘Unravelling’ but still want people to know about it and – I hope read it, so it seems important to do this marketing stuff. Much as all I really want to do – like most of us – is write!

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