Platform Building Done Right

platform building - Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

As a writer and consultant, part of what I do professionally is advise authors how to use the Internet to build their platforms. In publishing parlance, “platform” means the total number of people you can reach about your book. It’s the sum total of readers, TV viewers, podcast listeners, email and blog subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends, attendees at public speaking events and readings, stalkers, and so forth.

The theory is, the bigger your platform, the more buyers you’ll have. Also, your friends will have friends, and they’ll have friends, and so forth, kicking off a word-of-mouth effect and reinforcing your relative influence (because the more people who appear to be talking about you, the more popular and important you must be).

Read morePlatform Building Done Right

Why This Author Website Works: ChristineSchwab.com

Once in a while, I like to share well-designed websites when I come across them. Usually, the sites and blogs I’ll share here will be author/expert or book launch sites that act as effective hubs for their owners’ author platforms and promotional efforts. I also give kudos to sites that create clear calls to action and that are structured to convert casual visitors to subscribers or buyers.

Here’s the latest well-designed author website I’ve discovered: ChristineSchwab.com (a former consulting client). What’s good about this site:

  1. Everything’s easy to find.  All the information a publicist, agent, or radio/TV booker needs is clear, easy to locate on the margins of the site, and requires no clicks. The author’s bio, publicist and agent contact information, present and former books, book reviews, buy buttons, social media, and media room are all right there on the home page. If I were in a position to hire her as a guest on a show or as a keynote speaker, almost everything I need to pitch her to my colleagues or contact her for an inquiry is there for me to grab in under 30 seconds. This site is perfect because it’s accomplishing the client’s clear objectives: selling books and getting herself booked.
  2. The call to action is visible. Christine is asking you to do two things: Follow her on Twitter and Like her on Facebook.
  3. She’s blogging actively. Because she’s blogging, I immediately understand her current platform (rheumatoid arthritis) and know that she’s actively talking about the issue. She’s also boosting her search engine optimization for that topic by writing regularly about it.

Takeaways

If you’re inclined to blog, I recommend a design format like this. Your wisdom and experience is front and center (literally) and all your major credentials are easy to see. Blogs are also unparalleled for SEO and give you a hub from which you can network with other bloggers and create relationships that can pay off for you over the long term. (Tactics for which I discuss in my eBook, A Brief Introduction to Internet Publicity.)

If you’re interested in viewing more well-designed book, author, and expert/speaker sites, follow me on Google+ or follow me on Pinterest, where I maintain a board of sites I find that set a good example. If you need to build a new blog or website or give yours a facelift, get in touch–I work with talented designers who can help you.

Goodreads Report: How Users Discover New Books

Note: This post was originally published on 563media.com in 2012.

For authors: Goodreads recently released a presentation of data about how its users discover new books. I’ve pasted the link below. Here are two actionable quotes about how you can make better use of the site:

“So authors, if you know of a strong comparable title to your book and you are able to market your book to those readers—and they respond by adding your book to their Goodreads account—our recommendation engine will notice this correlation and be even more likely to suggest your book to the right readers.”

“Our best advice is to work hard to establish your core fan base. The more momentum on Goodreads you get, the more it will build. Encourage your readers to rate and review your book on Goodreads. This will not only help generate word-of-mouth buzz, which is essential for a sustained promotion, but also help get your books onto the appropriate book lists and onto the Goodreads Recommendation engine. Our Listopia lists are a great source of discovery for our members, including lots of mid-list titles. They tend to be specific, such as World War II Fiction or Pacific Northwest Books, so having your book on the right list can make a huge difference.”

http://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/343-how-do-books-get-discovered-a-guide-for-publishers-and-authors-who-want?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=editorial&utm_campaign=blog_post

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Blog Post: How do books get discovered? A guide for publishers and authors who want their books to find an audience
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