Creating an author platform can be daunting, especially if you are a debut author, or have never published a book. I use to wonder why someone would follow an author before they were published. Now, I know there are many ways we can be of value to the book/writing community at the beginning of our careers.
Today I am going to share with you five recommendations for planning your author platform, so that you may begin to connect with your future readers and have fun while creating it.
1. Choose a name
You should use the same name on all social media outlets. Choosing a name may take some work, as many names are unavailable. A name can be as simple as authoryourname or yournameauthor, but your name and picture should be consistent whenever you decide to post on social media.
If you want to be creative, I would suggest making a list of at least twenty names that you could envision as your future brand. Once you have a list, use a search engine (I used Instagram) to find which names are available. From there, choose a favorite. If the name is unique, or you are worried it will not be available in the future, claim in on social media sites you’d potentially use.
2. Focus Your Account
You need a niche. A niche is your specialty that will appeal to a section of the population. My niche is books.
The more focused your platform is, the better. If you want to post multiple things, they should be related. I suggest having a primary focus and including 1-2 secondary focuses that tie back into your main focus. The subcategories are what can help give your account personality. My primary focus is books (Picture Books up to YA), with subcategories of being a mom and being a writer.
If you stray from your emphasis, you need to tell your viewers how it relates to your main focus. If you deviate from what they initially came to you for, this is a time many people will unfollow or stop engaging with your content.
You also need to decide on your target audience. For example, my target audience is moms who like to read. Moms who like to read are my target audience because I write picture books and young adult. Knowing your target audience will help you focus your posts because you have someone in mind when you create it.
3. Choose Your Favorite Platform
Social media should be fun. If it’s not fun, you are probably using the wrong platform for you or are on too many at once. When authors try to do too many, they often become overwhelmed and discouraged, not finding much of an audience on any of the platforms, because they haven’t spent the time necessary to learn how to optimize one platform adequately.
So, decide on your favorite. Here are some you could choose from: Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Goodreads, Facebook, Podcasts, or Blogging.
Once you have chosen your favorite, have this platform be your focus for the next year. Not only will you begin to master that platform, but you will be able to grow an audience who will follow you to other platforms in the future. Watch videos about the option you choose, research, talk to people you admire who use that platform, network with others who are creating similar content to you.
I also think the plan of focusing on one is beneficial because it doesn’t take so much of your time. Although building a platform is important, it is also essential to spend time on your writing.
4. Plan What to Post
Once you have decided on your name, your niche and audience, and your favorite platform, you need to figure out what to post. The things you post should be intentional and thought-out. I like to ask myself, “What am I giving my audience with this post?” People are more likely to follow you if you are creating something valuable to them.
One of the things that have helped me is to plan out my content ahead of time. This way, even days I don’t feel like posting, or I’m sick, or I am discouraged, I continue to post, so I am able to still grow. Make a schedule, plan it out, and stick to it.
Here are some ideas of what you can give to your potential audience:
Podcast - interview other writers, interview people about their favorite books, interview librarians, interview illustrators or publishers, provide lessons on writing, talking about books and why you think they work or don’t work, discuss famous authors and their lives, etc.
Twitter - Post funny gifs about writing, tweet writing jokes, share thoughts about your favorite books, share what you are reading, share quotes about writing, share quotes about famous authors, share writing facts, share book facts, or share a combination of these.
Blogs - Use the same ideas as the podcast list.
YouTube - YouTube has a large community of writers (Authortube) and book lovers (Booktube). These two communities will often post tags (or ideas for videos) that you can make. There are simple video editing apps that are available for free to create videos. You could also order book or writing boxes and film yourself opening them; you can review what you read, or use the above suggestions.
Facebook - This is a great way to connect with the writing community, as there are many groups you can join.
Goodreads - Goodreads is a community of book reviewers. It can be a way to find others who have similar taste as you.
5. Be Patient
A platform does not grow overnight. (Well, for some people it does, but for most of us it takes a lot of work). Building a platform is doing small things, consistently.
When I began establishing a platform, I made monthly goals and kept a chart to see my progress. Monthly goals helped me to not focus on the ups and downs that come daily, but the overall growth in a month. I spent time learning the platform I chose, then once my following was beginning to grow more easily, I established a website, and now I will learn another platform. This way of focusing on one has been fun, challenging, but not stressful in the way that many authors find building a platform to be.
If you are working at it, your following will grow, but it will take time. You can do this! And you should do this. Instead of seeing an author platform as an obstacle, try to start viewing it as an incredible tool to further your career, reach your future audience, and connect you with like-minded people.
Creating my Instagram account has been one of the greatest blessings thus far in my writing career. I have met some of my best friends on social media, I work with publishers and brands to promote books and products, and I have a ton of fun. I truly hope you can find that joy as you create your author platform.
Comment below and let me know which social media you think you would enjoy the most!
About Jolie Taylor
We're all writers, we're all moms, writing our way through the "brambles" of life and our stories.