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Wednesday, July 03, 2013


The Tale of The Three Authors (And How They Built Their Platform)

Once upon a time, there were three authors. Each had penned delightful books. Each worked hard, building her platform. Let’s see what happens when the Average Curious Reader comes along.

(Okay, you and me, we’re the Average Curious Reader in this scenario. Even though, yes, we’re writers. And I know that the Average Curious Reader may not be aware of “platform,” whereas us writers know all about platform. But for now, let’s think like an Average Curious Reader. Honestly, it’s not that much of a stretch for me.)

First Author underpinned her platform on the pithy power of social media. She worked day and night, promoting her book! A clever tweet and link here, pinning a photo and link there. The face of her book was everywhere!

One day, Average Curious Reader saw a tweet and decided to stop and take a closer look. Hooray! But First Author had no blog, and her website was basically a link to buy her book. There just wasn’t anything engaging enough to push Curious Reader to a sale. So she shrugged her shoulders and moved on.

Second Author’s platform was built on solid ground. She presented a professional website to the world, and had an amusing and occasionally updated blog. She also had a presence on social media, but rarely used it to her advantage. In fact, she rarely used it at all because it just took too much time.

One day, Average Curious Reader finally found a mention of Second Author’s book somewhere and decided to stop and take a closer look. Hooray! But Second Author’s whole presence had that has-been feel to it. Curious Reader wrinkled her nose at the virtual dust and moved on.

Third Author planned her platform’s structure purposefully. Before her first book came out, she designed her website and wrote regular, engaging blog posts. She reached out in the social networks and supported other authors and friends and built relationships.

One day, Average Curious Reader saw Third Author’s book cover and decided to stop and take a closer look. Hooray! She found Third Author’s website and read a couple lovely and current blog posts. She discovered all kinds of interesting tidbits about Third Author and her book and couldn’t wait to get her hands on it! So off she went, straight to her favorite bookseller to buy Third Author’s book.

Sure, we’re writers. But we must always keep a marketing eye on that elusive curious reader. And that’s not so hard, really, when we think about what makes us, as readers, buy a book. Whether we’re self-publishing or going the traditional route, we need a strong platform, with an engaging social network and an engaging and current website/blog.

If you build it, curious readers will come—and buy your book! Don’t you just love it when stories have a happy ending?

~Cathy C. Hall

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Blogger Sioux said...

Now, if I only knew how to create a website... ;)

Seriously (and the above WAS 99.9% serious), you presented that in a way that makes even a stubborn techno-gawk understand your message. A website, huh? I'll have to ponder on that for a while...

5:16 AM  
Blogger Victoria Walters said...

Sioux: try Super easy and free.

5:29 AM  
Blogger Julie Luek said...

A very timely and relevant parable for writers. I am presenting a workshop at a writing conference (Writing The Rockies in Colorado) about building a platform. I may have to provide a link for this post!

6:19 AM  
OpenID shinemine said...

Thank you for this post in showing the importance of having presence and balance across all internet self marketing tools. I would say I have 2 1/2 out of 3 so I'm almost there :-). Thanks for your encouragement and insight!

6:43 AM  
Blogger J.L. Campbell said...

Useful and sensible advice. A few times readers have come to my website to ask when the next in the series will be release. It's the wise thing to do to make ourselves as visible and available as we can.

8:41 AM  
Blogger Crystal Otto said...

I love this post Cathy - thank you so much!!!!


9:41 AM  
OpenID said...

SO glad you all found something to take away!

I love finding writers online, but I love it even more when I find a writer who's engaging her readers, sharing on a blog, responding to a tweet--I feel like I'm making a new friend. And friends are much more likely to buy a book, right? ;-)

3:07 PM  
Blogger Margo Dill said...

I hope I'm like author 3, building my platform out of bricks. But sometimes, it is very tiring and you think: straw and sticks might have been easier. . .but success is not for sissies, or something like that. I think I'm getting all my sayings mixed up here. . .;)

5:28 PM  

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