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Building an Author Platform:  for Non-Fiction Writers

Building an Author Platform: for Non-Fiction Writers

At author meets and even on email, I seem to have struck a similar vein when authors are asked when it will be time to build their author platform.

“I will focus on that when I’ve finished my final draft”

“I will start planning the marketing when I’ve got my production (cover, edits) done”

“I am in creative mode now, so I will worry about that when I am administrating and launching”.

In other words, they are putting off till tomorrow what they could (and probably should) be doing NOW.

Admittedly, it might help to have named your book title and come up with the angle – that is always going to help. But you don’t need to wait… FAME as an author never happens overnight. It is a long, slow road, best taken one pitch, tweet, or post at a time. Here is a simple break-down of the author platform steps.

Brand:

Set up your author brand colours (two is good), theme (i.e. saving money is mine), and get some initial author photos done. You’ll need another photo with the book cover later (which will contain your colours). Working with a designer will help to ensure your brand is awesome, from the typeface chosen down to the relevant logo for your imprint.

Pitch:

You need to get your media pitch ready. Firstly, what timely/newsworthy angle might you create, and secondly, summarise what your book is about.

Example Angle:   Isn’t it crazy how Australians get scammed in total more than $21 million a year, when they really want to invest for wealth?

Example Pitch: My new book, Creative with Money, helps people understand how past scammers have operated and uniquely ties it in with how your mind’s greed and fear blocks your investing success.

Produce:

Your book must represent the highest quality that you can muster. It’s representing your talent and so must be edited and formatted properly. Beautifully simple covers create a desire to click on to read more, while busy, ugly ones detract and repel. Find an editor with good testimonials.

Promote:

Promotion isn’t just plugging your book on launch. It’s doing a host of activities that are connected with you as a writer (rather than just personal). So set up your 3-4 social media profiles to say ‘author’ and reflect this theme and brand.

The articles (or journal papers or essays) you write to promote your discoveries, your theories, and your secondary research will all help to create a desire for a longer piece – your upcoming book. Some magazines will pay for quality submissions of a certain length. If you’re not a subject matter expert, then invite in an expert to comment in your article.

Then on launch, you can start sharing an excerpt of the book with relevant magazines, journals and so on. It’s best if these are offline but it could be good to hit up really high trafficked sites. You can check article-share numbers by searching on BuzzSumo for your topic specifically.

If every media pitch fails, you can always post articles direct to LinkedIn and share with your network. But don’t give up at the first ‘no response’ – it pays to ask more questions and get in touch in a new way (tweet / message / phone call). Journalists’ and editors’ email inboxes are overflowing with stuff and so a new pitch or release often gets missed.

Don’t forget: write your press release like it’s simply a newsworthy and timely news piece that integrates both recent statistics and your unique angle.


Media List

For month 3, I’m putting a Media List into our Book Writing Success membership so that Australians can have a starting point for pitching. I also have a list of American magazines to try. Since it took several hours to compile, the list is worth more than the monthly membership fee on its own.

If you have some money to make it zing, an author website will also help – preferably one that doesn’t have zero personality. Have a look at great business writer sites, like Seth Godin, Bernadette Jiwa, and Valerie Khoo. Look at their clean brands and what messages they say.

What could your main message be? Make it central to people’s desire to be special, well and energetic, worry-free or financially free, and you’ll have yourself a winner.

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World (Michael Hyatt) is the best book to explain this subject in detail for you. Order from wherever you are.

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