Create a Theme for your Author Platform

Thanks to Canva, I've created posters and flyers
that showcase the theme that runs through my books

By Linda Wilson    @LinWilsonauthor

Developing an author platform is a matter of finding the right balance that works for you. Advice given to authors is to experiment with the social media outlet(s) that you’re comfortable with, and expand from there. The important thing is to connect with your target audience. Some of the best advice for you to create an author platform plan can be found in Carolyn Howard-Johnson’s Frugal Book series, especially Howard-Johnson’s The Frugal Book Promoter.

What is an author platform?
According to, an author platform is how an author reaches their target audience. Ideally, authors need to find ways for readers to discover what they can gain by reading your book(s). Will your readers be entertained? Will they learn something? Have you offered them enough for them to want to come back for more? Read more of your books? A good start is to zero in on offering a need you can fill for your readers and find ways to get the word out. “It’s not uncommon for new authors to get a book deal based solely on their social media presence or blogging platform.” ( In a nutshell, here are the four steps Masterclass suggests to create an author platform: 

                • Create a website.
                • Publish articles on online outlets that specialize in your area.
                • Maintain social media accounts and keep the accounts current.
                • Explore other media ventures, such as discussing your craft with other authors on podcasts.

How to Create an Enduring Author Platform 
After posting blurbs and the covers of my books on various outlets such as Twitter and Facebook and making no sales, I had to stop and figure out why. I took a look at the body of work I had developed, four picture books and a chapter book trilogy, some still in development at the time, and unearthed a common thread. Perhaps I’m unique. Probably most authors have an overall plan worked out before they begin writing. But if you’re like me, you might be pumping out material with no common thread in mind. After much soul searching, I came up with a theme for my body of work, the message I want readers to remember after they read my books. Once I put my plan in place, visits to schools, book fairs, and more, have been fun and easy.

           • Decide what you want to impart to children in your works. What is the message you want to send that will remain with them after they finish reading your book(s)?
            • Come up with a sentence that encompasses your message. My sentence is not earth shattering and it sounds so simple. But I looked at my projects, as I said, some in progress at the time, and realized that my biggest desire was to show my young readers that they can extricate themselves from their screens and have fun pursuing outdoor activities. All of my books take place outside. My sentence, which I use in my advertising: Stories that Explore the Great Outdoors.
            • Promote yourself using your theme online and also by making local appearances. What can you offer children? I’ve found my most rewarding experiences are by sharing my books and programs with children in my town. So far, I’ve had great fun doing readings at local outlets, such as schools, libraries, and small businesses. I’ve put together programs that include puppets, collections of natural materials I’ve made through the years; have conducted treasure hunts, and have provided crafts that fit the books’ subject matter—anything that brings children close to nature.
            • Examples of my theme carrying through in my books: My chapter book trilogy, Secret in the Stars: An Abi Wunder Mystery: My character, Abi Wunder, learns that she has good instincts, can solve problems, and can learn to be athletic by swimming and hiking. In Secret in the Mist, the second book in the trilogy, to be published later this year, Abi learns how to ride a horse and bikes all around town.  My picture books, A Packrat’s Holiday: Thistletoe’s Gift, Tall Boots, Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me, and Cradle in the Wild: Each book takes place outdoors and leaves readers with a message, respectively: If you try, you will find the perfect gift for a loved one; with courage you will succeed at your goals; through trial and error you can save animals in trouble; and from a surprising discovery, you can think of a creative way to be a Nature Buddy, a person who understands nature and doesn’t interfere.

When you create programs and activities that revolve around the theme of your works, there you will find your reward. Hopefully, you’ll be making book sales along the way. But the true reward is seeing the light in children’s eyes as they get excited about reading your books and sharing in the activities you’ve created for them.
Here is the theme on a banner made by VistaPrint
 Linda Wilson writes stories for young children. Visit   Linda at Click the links for   free coloring pages and a puppet show starring   Thistletoe Q. Packrat. While you’re there, get all the   latest news by signing up for Linda’s newsletter. 

 Find Linda’s books at  Amazon Author Page.

 Connect with   Linda: FacebookTwitterPinterestInstagram



Terry Whalin said...


Thank you for this important article about creating a theme for your author platform. Without a plan for our writing life, we will be haphazard and not have a coordinated and well-thought plan. Years ago, I added the phrase at my personal website: Dedicated to the Craft of Writing. I've done many different types of books but this generic theme plays into each of them.

author of Book Proposals That $ell, 21 Secrets To Speed Your Success (Revised Edition) [Follow the Link for a FREE copy]

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks for tips, Linda. I think most authors jump in without thinking of a plan or branding. I'm curious to know if after creating the common thread between your books if it improved sales.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

What a surprise! Thank you for crediting my multi award-winning The Frugal Book Promoter, Linda.And thank you, Terry, for the reminder that Linda's new contribution to #WritersonthMove is here. I wouldn't have wanted to miss this one.
Karen asked about the success of your common thread. It certainly has helped my #HowToDoItFrugally Series of books for writers. But I do think much depends on the demographic one chooses for the thread. Karen's help for children's literature authors is a very broad demographic. And yours for environmentally inclined readers is broad (and valuable!), too. I admit my thread for poetry called the Celebration Series of Chapbooks has NOT been very successful in spite of perseverance. It's not that there are not many poets out there, but it is still a narrow demographic for those buying books as gifts for specific holidays. Or perhaps it is the messaging. But your article will encourage me to explore the latter to see what I can do!
Carolyn Howrd-Johnson

Linda Wilson said...

Thank you for your thoughts and comments. They are very much appreciated. Karen, you asked if the common thread in my books has helped sales. It helps when people learn about my books because most parents want to encourage their children to get involved in outdoor activities. So far though, book fairs are the best way for me to sell books, coming face to face with readers. Online sales are low.

Karen Cioffi said...

Thanks, Linda. That's helpful to know.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

It seems important for us to figure out where our efforts are more productive. Sometimes that isn’t possible. Usually, though, the most productive are the ones we like (or do) the most.

Karen Cioffi said...

Absolutely, Carolyn, because not all strategies will work for everyone!

Linda Wilson said...

I agree. I enjoy meeting people interested in reading and who encourage their children to read. So far, it's been easier for me to meet readers in person than online. I keep trying though!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I use my "theme" (including a motto) in everything including my media kit. This is the footer from my media kit that includes a little border of coins to work with my "frugal" theme for do it your self authors. And I change it for my poetry about the environment and other genres I write in.

“Careers that are not fed die as readily as any living
organism given no sustenance.”
Carolyn Howard-Johnson,
Website: Blog:
E-mail: Phone: 818-790-0502
Amazon Profile and Book List:


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