Your Author Platform – Is it Ever Too Soon to Start? What About Your Author Website?

Thursday, June 20, 2013
by Karen Cioffi

Newbies to the writing arena have many questions about creating an author platform. And, the most puzzling one is whether they need a website before they have a book published or in contract. In fact, I’ve recently been questioned twice about whether a newbie with NO book on the publishing horizon should bother to start working on a platform and more specifically on an author website.

Both individuals felt it would be like putting the cart before the horse.

This though is far from the case. Creating a website at the get-go is putting the horse before the cart. It’s the force that will pull you forward and help you establish your online platform, your presence and visibility.

So, the answer to the title question is NO. It’s never too soon to begin your author platform or your author website.

If you want to be a writer or an author; if you intend to submit manuscripts to agents and/or publishers; if you intend to self-publish a book, the answer is still the same: the time to get your online platform started is RIGHT NOW. And, the foundation of your platform is a website.

One surprising element of the questions I was asked about how soon a website should be setup is that a well-known and respected institute for children’s writing advised its student to wait until he received a book contract before creating a website.

If this were ten years ago or even five years ago that advice would make sense. But, today, agents and publishers want to know what the potential new author’s platform is beforehand. The size or lack-of-size of an online platform can make or break a contract.

The powers-that-be expect you to have a website in place and be involved in social networks before you even submit a manuscript. They expect you to be a big part of the marketing involved in selling the book.

Jane Friedman, Media Studies instructor at the University of Virginia and former publisher of Writer’s Digest, says, “You must cultivate a readership every day of your life, and you start TODAY.”

Why do you need to start your online platform TODAY?

In a single word, the answer to that question is TIME. Establishing an online platform takes time.

It takes time to establish yourself as an authority in your niche. It takes time to develop a relationship with your readers. It takes time to develop trust. And, it takes time to broaden your reach.

Since your website is the foundation of your author platform, it’s absolutely, positively necessary to get a website setup and optimized as soon as possible.

It’s from this focal point, your hub of information, that you will draw the attention of the search engines and readers. Your website is the place you will setup your call-to-action and opt-in. It’s the place you will get readers to sign-up for your mailing list. It’s the place your will begin a long-term writer-reader relationship.


Join Karen Cioffi's class, CREATING AND BUILDING YOUR AUTHOR-WRITER ONLINE PRESENCE: Website Creation to Beyond Book/Product Sales, which starts July 1, 2013. Limit: 10 students. Early registration is recommended.


Margo Dill said...

Couldn't agree more! It is so easy to say, when I meet people, check out my website. And it's my name, which I also highly recommend, because it is easy to remember. Thanks for the info!

Karen Cioffi said...

Margo, using your name as your hub-site does make thinks easy. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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