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Building an Author Platform: Effective Strategies for Online Presence

~ Sankalita Roy

Before we begin to read this article, let me share one of the mistakes that I made as a new author while publishing my book, that is, not building an effective presence in the comforts of my home. I never knew writing a book is easy but to let your book be known to the world, you need a strong base of readers. Now, you will question, how will you create a strong base of readers. That is easy through online platforms. On which platforms shall I build my presence and how? These are the questions that I am going to answer in this article.

Before that, let me share with all the new writers out there, what are the advantages of building an online presence.

  • An author platform can help you to connect with your audience and build a loyal base of readers

  • It helps your readers know about you and your books

  • Increase the sales of your books and generate a passive income for you.

  • Establish yourself as an authority for your target audience.

Finally, let us investigate the strategies of how to effectively build an author’s platform through online presence.

  1. Identifying your target audience

The first and foremost thing an author must do is to know who their audience is. It can be anyone for example children, young adults or people who need self-development. This helps one to know exactly what his/her content should be and the marketing strategies that must be employed to build an online presence. The author of the book ‘A Walk to Remember’ by Nicholas Sparkes's target audience includes young women who are living in the fairytale world of romance. Dan Browns the author of the best thrillers such as Da Vinci Code and Angels and Demons are more oriented for audiences mostly adults, both males and females. Knowing the target audience is like setting the path in your direction for the steps that must be taken ahead to build your presence online.

You can also ask yourself these questions in order to gain clarity.

  • Who are my readers (target audience)?

  • What is their age group?

  • What are their hobbies?

  • What job do they do?

  • What authors do they like?

  • What websites do they use?

  • What are their interests?

You can answer these questions by speaking with your readers or you can search them online or you can conduct surveys based on the above questions in order to plan for the next steps.

  1. Building your brand

Your author brand is about how you present yourself and your writing to the world. A strong brand will help you to connect with your readers but also sets you apart from other writers making you unique. It becomes a powerful foundation for your online business.

Here are some of the ways in which an author can build their brand.

  1. Develop your voice

The tone, style and language that you use in your writing should be consistent across all the platforms.

  1. Have a clear message

Considering what sets you apart from other writers and how can you communicate that in a clear and compelling way. For example- it could be your way of writing, it could be the message you try to convey through your writing and so on. In my case, I always aim to write about the things that brainwash the mind of the readers with the beauty of life.

  1. Share your personal story

Your personal stories are something that always helps you to connect with your readers and resonate with their experiences. I remember a friend of mine who experienced severe depression after losing his parents. He sought writing as an escape from his depression and suffering. Now, it is your turn to think about yours.

  1. Engage with your readers

As an author, in order to gain the trust of the readers it is important to communicate with them through comments, personal messages and public messages across social media. Another way of answering the readers’ questions is through question-and-answer sessions on Facebook/Instagram/ YouTube live to enhance connectivity. You can also ask your target audience about your work in order to improvise yourself.

  1. Be consistent

Your online presence as an author should be consistent through all the social media platforms and websites. Your presence should be consistent visually as well as in tone and style. This helps you to gain the trust of the readers and build recognition.

  1. Creating your author website

Your author website is the home base of your author platform. You can either create the website for free or you can hire a professional to do the work. The author website is a great way to connect with your audience, build your rapport as an author and most importantly, let the world know about you and your work. here are some tips that can help you while building your website.

a) Research

As an author who is either going to create his/her own website or hire a professional to create the website must research another author’s website. It adds great clarity to what should be added to the website and what the website should look like. If you are a new author like me who is willing to create her own website, first, check the websites which can be used to create your website such as GoDaddy, Wix and so on. Check the YouTube videos of other self-published authors who created their own website and how they did it. It is an excellent way to plan effectively.

b) Choose a domain name, especially one that is easy to remember and reflects your brand. The domain name can also be brought from the website directly in order to increase the SEO(Search Engine Optimization) of your website.

c) Use a professional-looking template or download templates from other sites in order to design your website. While choosing your template, one must think about the brand he/she is promoting. For instance, if you are a writer writing about vampire stories, you may choose a template that reflects a black and red template.

d) Include your biography, book summaries and links to purchase your books. The biography should be written in the third person. You can also share the stories behind your writing journey. The book summaries and their links are a great way to let the world know about your work.

e) Add a blog to share updates about your work, news and insights related to your work. This can be sharing about the release of your upcoming book. A promotional video of your new book works extremely well in this regard.

Blogs are a great way to generate interest in your work as a writer. If you want, you can share the link to your blog on other social media platforms to generate interest among the readers. The blogs can be anything including short stories, poems and so on.

  1. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly and optimized for search engines.

4. Building your email list

The email act as a source of communication between you and the readers. The emails sent by the co-authors are an effective way to know their responses to your work. emails are an effective way to promote your work, build relationships and generate revenue. It is one of the most important assets of the author’s platform.

Some tips that can help you to build an email list are as follows:

  • Offer a free resource such as some chapters from your book or a short story in exchange for your email address.

  • Add a subscribe form to your website so that the readers scan knows about your work and the latest updates.

  • Send regular newsletters with exclusive content such as sneak peeks or promotional content.

5. Leveraging social media

Social media is a great way to let the world know about you as an author and your work. most significantly, social media helps you to connect with your readers. However, it is essential to know which platform to use in order to reach your target audience effectively.

Some of the tips in order to reach your target audiences using social media platforms are mentioned below:

  • Choose platforms used by your target audience. Generally, young adults use Instagram mostly while the older generation prefers Facebook. The platform used by you depends on the availability of the target audience.

  • Post regular updates about your writing journey, sneak peeks into your work, glimpses behind the scenes, writing tips and so on. You can also share your thoughts about incidents that left a profound impact on you through reels.

  • Engage with your followers by responding to their messages and comments. This builds a sense of connectivity amongst the readers.

  • Use paid advertisement on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media platform. In this regard, your aim can either be to let the readers know about your book or help them know about your website using suitable blogs.

6. Creating Engaging Content

Creating engaging content is one of the best ways that can join the bridge between the authors and the readers. Some examples of engaging content include the following:

  • Share your journey as an author, and share your experiences where you failed and triumphed. This shows we as authors are just like other human beings.

  • Collaborate with other authors, bloggers, and influencers to expand your horizon.

  • Use multimedia such as videos, and podcasts, to build connection. Videos can be spoken word poetry, lines read from your book or an introduction of your book to the world.

  • Provide valuable insights and advice related to your niche.

Additional platform-building strategies

In addition to the main strategies, we can also use the ones mentioned below in order to establish an effective author platform. Here are a few more ideas to consider:

  1. Guest blogging: reach out to other websites where you can write as a guest blogger. This can help you to establish yourself as an authority in your niche.

  2. Speaking engagements: speak about your books at book signing events, talk shows or at bookstores or conferences or libraries and other events. This can help you to connect with your readers and other authors thereby building your reputation as a speaker. Before such events, don’t forget to share about these events through online platforms and invite the readers to join you.

  3. Podcasts and interviews: grab the opportunities to speak as an author either as an interviewee or to share insights about your book in a podcast. You can also appear as a guest on another interviewer's page and build your network.

  4. Online courses and webinars: you can also create online courses in apps such as Udemy where you can teach others about your niche if you are a food and mental well-being speaker, you can build courses on this topic to reach your target audience.

  5. Collaborations and partnerships: look for opportunities to join other authors and businesses to expand your circle of new audiences.

Things to keep in mind

In this section, I am going to share certain things that may have come to your mind by now that can further help you to establish your author platform productively.

  • Choose quality over quantity. You do not have to be active on all social media platforms but if you want choose those platforms where your target audience can be found.

  • As an author, most of us are quite intimidated when we must be social in our ways of letting the world know who we are and what we do but slow progress is always better than nothing at all.

  • Remember, if you do not let the world know about you and your work, you will always be restricted within a small band of your own circle.

  • Provide insights about your work, niche, and updates about your work on your website in order to increase search engine optimization (SEO).

  • Most importantly, BE CONSISTENT.

So, what are you waiting for, start building your author platform online now. If you want to live your dream of becoming a famous author, start now. It's always now or never always.

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