Every author should build an author platform.
Plain fact and not an opinion!
This post is a simple but helpful guide to get authors started with the basic of how to build an author platform from the scratch in a question and answer format.
This is the second part of my post about author platform building; you can read the first part – The Complete Guide to Building an Author Platform.
- What Is The Price For Building An Author Platform? : Call it Time, Effort and Hard work and you will be 100% right.
As with everything in life, building an author platform is not a day’s job but what you build from the scratch and have the needed patience to make it work at the end. Each component of building an author platform requires time and consistency as well. You cannot start a blog today and tomorrow having millions of visitors to your blog just as you can start your Twitter or Facebook platform today and expect to have everyone following you and connecting with you. These all takes time but the good news is that it worth it at the end.
- Is Building An Author Platform Worth It At All? In one of my old posts – Author Platform: The Indie Author’s Holy Grail or a Complete Waste of Time., I discuss this issue in detail in a 3 part post – Make A Killing on Kindle without Blogging, Facebook or Twitter – The Guerilla Marketers Guide To Selling eBook On Amazon by Michael Alvear. Here, he advises authors to avoid the unnecessary job of building an author platform because they never sell the book at the end.
Note: I am not an affiliate of Michael or trying to give his book an unsolicited publicity but this post is just to talk about the issue he raised in his book. I gave № link to the book, if you would like to read it, you can check on the Kindle Store for it.
A glimpse inside the book is like being hit by a Tsunami! Why?
Although his stance of seeing an Author Platform as a mere waste of time for Indie Authors came on the background of using an Author Platform to market, sell and promote self-published books the whole hit on the Self-Publishing giant called Author Platform is of uttermost interest.
The publication approaches book (most especially Kindle eBooks) marketing a little differently than others in the genre.. Unlike everyone else, it does NOT tell Indie Authors not to spend time, energy and effort on social networks to build an Author Platform or to promote Self Published books.
Instead, of “wasting” time building an author platform to sell books, the book focuses on three things:
(1) Attracting loads of people to your book’s page at Amazon.com right inside Amazon’s bookstore rather than from a blog or social media network
(2) Getting your visitors’ attention once they’ve landed on your book’s page at Amazon.com
(3) Converting your visitors to buyers of your eBook.
Self-publishing can be a crazy world and with different things been said by different people. When it comes to self-publishing, there can’t be a single answer to a question and also there isn’t a single way to reach the zenith of book marketing and promotion. Different Indie Authors, all have different marketing strategies and beliefs. But in all, Building an author platform has somehow been a unified belief among almost all self-publishing experts.
So why would one man now come and say building an author platform is a mere and wonderful waste of the Indie Author’s time, energy and effort? Trust me, only Michael can answer that question.
I think he had some valid points on eBook marketing especially on the Kindle Store as an internal promotion. He did not emphasize the external way of book marketing like creating an Author Platform and driving traffic to book sales page through Social Media Networks, a common thing many Indie Authors are doing.
Optimizing book page for efficient visibility using the right categories, having a catchy and inviting book description and having a nice pieces of writing in the first part of a book to make good use of the Look Inside and Read a Sample feature of Kindle eBooks and many more like that has been his model of proper book marketing. This feature contains some useful tips and book marketing strategies indeed.
We can also consider the fact that similar to what the book preaches, Aggie Villanueva in her book, Amazon -Create Best Seller also talked about how a book can become a best seller by having the book in the right categories on Amazon Kindle Store. To me, such book marketing strategy is a worthwhile one.
However, that cannot stop Indie Authors from Building an Author Platform. Is it a waste of time given the low click through and sales conversion rate of traffic from these sources?
No, maybe a yes!
His book has raised valid points but should Indie Authors stop building an author platform.
However, let us see what Joanna Penn of The Creative Penn, an Indie Fiction Author, a book marketing, writing, publishing and blogging expert and Rachel Abbott, also an Indie Fiction Author, a book-marketing expert and a blogger have to say about this.
A Message to Joanna about this issue got me the reply below:
Thanks for the email and there are two answers – for non-fiction authors, who essentially want to have small businesses, speaking careers and more, I think blogging is important because you need to build authority through multiple channels.
For fiction authors, there is no need to blog or have a platform, just write many books. It just takes most people a while to write many books so some people like to market as well. It depends on how patient you are.
I am both of these – I started out with non-fiction and continue to write it, I also make an income from my courses and professional speaking – I am an entrepreneur and a businessperson. So I do both and you can see the difference between TheCreativePenn.com (business, speaking, non-fiction) and JoannaPenn.com (fiction)
Here is my article on selling more books – you will see that openly at #8 do I mention anything about platform
You are welcome to link back to the article in your own post.
From Joanna’s point of view, the following is my deduction:
1. Building an Author Platform might be the best thing to do for Non Fiction Indie Authors who would like to be seen as an authority on a particular niche or topic. Building an Author Platform helps in spreading the message and knowledge of Non Fiction Author in a particular genre to the right and necessary audience.
However, with Fiction Authors who only write to entertain or to engage reader’s time, there might be nothing much to say to those fiction audiences who might warrant having an Author Platform. The best bet for authors like these is to write as many books as they can to achieve their aim of writing those books.
2. Being on both side of the fence can be profitable too if there is the will, time, energy and expertise to do so. Joanna herself is a Fiction Author but she stills have an Author Platform where she shares his book marketing, writing, publishing and book publishing knowledge to fellow Authors. She also writes Non Fiction “How To” Guides for Self Published Authors as part of her Author Platform’s job. She can do this all because she can both write Fiction books and also have an expertise and knowledge she can share with her audience who are mainly Self-Publishing Authors.
Now, let see what Rachel has to say about this same issue
An interesting question!
I think that his points are very valid. Getting categories right is very important indeed – something which I have stressed. With Amazon it is all about visibility, and if people cannot actually see your book, they will not buy it.
However, although I do agree with the principle that maximizing visibility on Amazon is the key, I recently ran a very short promotion on my book. It is now over a year since it was launched, and ten months since it hit the number one spot in the Amazon charts, so as you might expect, it is dropping down the charts. But around the time of the ‘birthday’ of the launch, I ran a promotional campaign – just for one week – when I did a little more blogging, talked on Facebook and a couple of forums, plus did a few tweets. Moreover, there was a considerable difference in the sale figures. Not enough to get back up to the top ten, of course, but certainly enough to demonstrate that marketing on social media really does make a difference.
I did not keep it up, unfortunately, because I was in the middle of editing my second book – which had to be my priority. However, I think it proves that you really can make a difference with social media, even if managing the Amazon visibility is a priority.
I hope that helps.
From what Rachel says, it can be said that Building an Author Platform can really help Indie Authors in their book marketing campaign even if going the “Amazon Internal Book Marketing Optimization” way is a priority. Why can’t the two run together? That is what I can say about Rachel’s answer.
The Experts have spoken and it’s all clear that both Joanna and Rachel never frown at or discourage building of author platforms by Indie Authors. It just a matter of the priority and the goals or aims that need to be achieved.
That settles the issue of if it is worth the trouble building an author platform.
No doubt, author platform building is a smart move for all authors – the results are there to see for many authors who have been blown from obscurity to being known just by building an author platform. There are way more pros than cons — if there is a downside at all other than the time and patience it requires to grow one from the scratch.
This guide is to be a simple but helpful one to guide authors with the issue of building and growing an author platform, and I believe there are many useful tips to help you do so today.
Download my five modules guide – The 80/20 Guide To Book Marketing that talked more in details about the basic building block of the 80/20 “no wasting of time or energy” way to book marketing.
Now it is Your Turn
Do you really believe building an author platform is a waste of time, and what are your points and reasons?
Let us hear you at the comment box below to join in the conversation.
P.S: If you are wondering how you can sell more books and build your email list as well, feel free to book a Book Marketing Consulting Session with me and let me discuss the best way to sell your books, build you email list, and grow your author platform.
Also don’t forget to sign up for my Free 5 Modules Guide – The 80/20 Guide To Book Marketing. This is s 5 part guide that shows you the no wasting of time and energy way to marketing and promoting your books online.