Today I am really excited to bring you some information on platform building by the awesome Shelli Johannes. Her book, UNTRACEABLE, is a great read (my review here), and she's been a total inspiration to me in terms of how to attract people to your book and presence online.
Building a strong platform
-How do you define platform? It’s one of those concepts that everyone has an idea of what it is, but a good definition of it would be interesting and helpful (imho at least!).
A Platform is an identity that people - potential readers, agents and publishers - recognize your name when the time comes.
It is how you present yourself to the world. Kind of like an online business card.
Everything that goes out represents you in a cohesive way – your blog, web site etc. It should be concise and connected.
-There are many aspects that go into building a solid author platform. What do you think is the most important?
You HAVE to have a web presence in this day and age. People still ask me about this. If you Google someone and they are not there –in today’s world - people assume you are a nobody. We’ve moved to where if Google finds you – you are credible. Sad but true.
From a marketing perspective, make sure you project the right image and can be found easily. The worst thing is creating a platform that is not you. People will see right through it. So get to know yourself and identify what you want to project and what kind of writer you are – before you start creating a platform.
-What do you find to be the most effective way to attract readers to your blog (and/or website)?
First of all – I don’t think everyone needs to have a blog. Only do it if you want to. And if you do – find some small way to stand out. Whether it is style, voice, or topic driven. Think of how to be different.
If you have a blog- the best way to attract people is to blog about something they care about. Make sure your blog is talking about something that audience wants to know. If you are blogging about writing – you will not touch teens and that is fine as long as you know that.
Visit other blogs that are popular and see what they are doing.
Find blogs you like and go to them regularly. Look at it as making a friend. You don’t just say – “hey you be my friend.” You reach out a little and see if they reach back. Comment on other blogs, especially ones that you like or new ones. People love that. It shows that you care what they are saying.
Always include your blog in signatures and on business cards.
-If you had to name your top means of spreading the word about your book, what would they be?
Oh gosh – that really varies by the book. There is no one way. But just make sure you are targeting the right audiences. Focus on a few different ones too. Don’t just focus on the industry. Be sure you are touching the end user – the teens in YA case. I see too many authors marketing their stuff to the book community and nowhere else. You need to hit all your targets differently.
-What’s the most effective way to network with other bloggers?
Comment on their blogs. Do to them what you would want them to do to you. Include them on blog rolls, help promote them, and comment consistently. Eventually they will be your blog friends. Don’t be fake about it – only do that for ones you want to really connect with. Bloggers know if someone is fake. Call it a cyber sense.
-Do you have any tips for how to make platform building more fun? (It doesn’t all have to be hard work, right? J)
- · Play with your web site – don’t be afraid of it.
- · Make connections in a genuine way
- · Only do things you like to do (blog, twitter etc) – It’s not fun if you hate it.
- · Building a platform takes time. It does not happen overnight. So don’t pressure yourself. Start now and it will grow over time.
Now wasn't that super useful? If you'd like to learn more, check out Shelli's blog here, as well as the rest of her book tour stops here. Her newsletter is also something you might want to look into, for other good information. And of course, you can check out more about UNTRACEABLE here, and purchase it on Amazon, and Smashwords.
16 year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.
When Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. After finding a Cheetos bag and stolen government file, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.
One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy who has an intoxicating accent and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged, Wyn.
After a few run-ins with the town's police chief, her father's partner, and some new evidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence.
Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.