What Is An Author Platform and How Do You Create It?

Building a writing career can be a long, and at times, difficult road. And, many new authors think writing itself is the tough part, but that’s not really the case.

Writing a story that you intend to publish traditionally or self-publish has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You can create an outline as kind of a GPS to get you from point A to point B. There are steadfast rules and tricks to help you complete your writing journey.

There is an end to that particular writing journey.

With marketing, that’s not the way it works. Marketing your book is the roll-up-your-sleeves part of a writing career. It’s the ongoing job of creating and building your online presence, your author platform. And, the rules and tricks of the game are in constant motion, always changing.

While many of the rules may change, there is one constant in your author platform, and that’s visibility.

It should be noted that the definition of an author platform encompasses multiple genres and freelance writers, and even marketers who create and sell information products, so it may vary, depending on who is providing the definition. But, in regard to your author platform, web editor for the Virginia Quarterly Review Jane Friedman notes that editors and agents are “looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience.”

So, the bare-bottom basics of an author platform are: visibility, authority, and proven reach.

Breaking Down the Three Basic Elements of an Author Platform

1. Visibility

This is the promotional aspect of marketing. It’s the element of becoming known in your particular niche and building on that presence.

With online marketing strategies and Google’s updates always on the move, the face of creating visibility has changed. Today, visibility is created through ongoing connections and relationships with your target market, your audience.

2. Authority

Authority is built through ongoing communication. As an author you need to provide valuable information to your readers. Providing this information on a regular basis establishes you as an authority in your niche.

3. Your Reach

Elements one and two of your author platform help take care of number three, your reach. By using effective marketing strategies to create an online presence, such as building a website and creating your authority through ongoing information/article marketing, your reach is automatically broadened.

Other strategies you can use to further broaden your reach include:

•    Guest blogging
•    Article marketing
•    Joint ventures
•    Presenting webinars
•    Presenting workshops
•    Offering ecourses

Today, your author platform is about what you can offer your audience. It’s not about what you’re selling.

Providing ongoing ‘wanted or needed’ information builds a relationship. In the marketing arena a general rule of thumb was to offer 75 percent free, valuable information and 25 percent promotion. Now, it's recommended offering 90 percent free, valuable information and 10 percent promotion.

It’s this ongoing author/reader relationship that will build your author platform and help sell your books, other products, and services.

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning author, ghostwriter, and online marketing instructor for authors and writers. You can check out her e-class through WOW! Women on Writing at:
Build Your Author-Writer Platform


Being Social can Bring Extra Promotion
Guest Blogging – Advantages for the Hosting Site
Book Marketing – To Niche or Not to Niche


Magdalena Ball said...

Good post Karen. All authors need a platform, regardless of how they're published or what stage of their career they're at. Having been involved in your e-class before, I know it's an excellent, very thorough way for authors to get their platforms in place from scratch and to begin gathering in readers.

Karen Cioffi said...

Maggie, thanks so much for your kind words! I find more and more authors who are taken advantage of by web designers or who just don't know what to do or feel overwhelmed in regard to marketing themselves and their books. Taking it from the bottom, one step at a time, and building your way up is the best way to go.

Don’t Depend 100% on Your Publisher

By Terry Whalin (@terrywhalin) In 2007, America’s Publicist Rick Frishman invited me to participate on the faculty of MegaBook Marketing Uni...