Thursday, August 15, 2013

O Platform, My Platform

So you know how I've mentioned that when we writers intend to go out and get something published, the first thing the publishers want to know is: what is your platform? What can you bring to the table?

I now know why.

Going through this process preparing for our book launch, I've seen the edges of underbelly to this beast. The publisher has their own venues for book promotion. But authors are expected to toe the line. Fortunately my novella is part of a collection, so I'm collaborating with 8 other authors (all of which have various platform constructions) to help launch our babies out into the world on September 1. 

I literally cannot imagine going into this process without having set up a hub. A home-base. A homing beacon guiding all other social networking traffic to itself. And that's this blog. That's all of you! (You rock, by the way.)

Additionally, the fact that I already had over 800 Twitter followers, over 70 followers on my author Facebook page, and a smattering of followers on Tumblr and Pinterest (I don't lean on these quite so much--I'll explain in a minute), all gives me a huge boost when the flurry of book promotion starts.

So my only other tasks to broaden the net was to set up an Amazon author page and a Goodreads author page (both of which you need to have some sort of publishing credit in order to set up, so I couldn't do it before now.) 

Okay, to boil it all down, this is what I've learned so far (and I'm certain you know all of this, but I'm gonna say it anyway. Because reminders are helpful.):

  • Keep up with your blog/website: this is the brain center of all you do and this is where people will come to find out about you and what you're writing. If you can only focus on one thing, make it this.
  • Keep up with your social networking venues: I would say, from what I've experienced, that having 2 or 3 really solid social network venues at work is better than to have 5 or 6 that you manage inconsistently. My focus is FB and Twitter. These are what I enjoy most, what are easiest for me to manage (especially when I'm on the go--I can still manage it from my phone/iPad) and what offers me the widest audience (at least at this point). A couple of the other authors I'm working with use Pinterest religiously. While I occasionally post on Tumblr and Pinterest those are venues I've found more difficult to break into. I also find that in those 2 venues I have varied interests beyond just the literary. I like to pin pictures of travel and photography, which has nothing to do with my writing. So I find I use it more for personal reasons rather than for expanding my follower base. (Others feel the same about Twitter, so it must be like handed-ness. Different things come more naturally for different people.)
  • Be open, be a good learner: I've learned so much just by watching other veteran authors going about their business. I've tried a few things that seem to have had great impact, tried some things that seemed to have nil. Sometimes "old school" ideas are great: like mailing postcards to libraries in the area your story is set. (Yeah, snail mail. Who'd a thunk!). Sometimes "new school" stuff works, like making a promo video. (Love this video that Marcia Gruver put together!) I remember a conversation I had with author John Pipkin, and he said when his first book Woodsburner came out he sat in a conference with the publisher's marketing department and they said something like, "Does anyone know anything about this Facebook thing?" Obviously that was a few years ago, but look at where we are only a short while later! So at the end of the day, it's all an ever-fluid, ever-changing process, and we learn as we go. So have an open mind and enjoy the journey.
Bottom line for those of you who are writers, keep writing (always!) but don't ignore that platform--I hope these meager insights have been helpful to you.

Now, staring on Monday, I'll be posting a series of interviews with each of the authors in the Pioneer Christmas Collection. We all answered the same questions about ourselves and our stories, and I've loved reading what each person wrote--such a fun window into the authors and where the seeds of their stories came from.

Also starting on Monday, I'm going to be running a Giveaway for a copy of A Pioneer Christmas Collection signed by all 9 authors. Wooooo! The drawing will run through September 1 (launch day!) and I'll be announcing the winner on September 3*. (I'll also be doing another drawing for a copy of the collection on my birthday on September 11, so be on the lookout! It's crazy fun times!)

Happy Thursday, dear friends!

*ADDENDUM: I had originally said September 2, but we're going to be having a guest writer with us that day, so I want to give her the full spotlight on that day. So I'll be announcing the giveaway winner on Sept. 3! Woohoo!

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  1. This is so very exciting! I'm loving being a fly on the wall while you have your moment.

    1. Thanks, Amy, for your continual enthusiasm and support!

  2. must be walking, no dancing, on cloud 9! I can't wait for the book to come out, and like you, I do most of my promoting on facebook and twitter...

    1. I am dancing on cloud 9, Debbi! Although it's all still a bit surreal. I think once I'm holding the book in my hands will reality come aclattering :)

  3. I'm so excited for you, Anna! I know you've worked your tail off to get here and I hope your novella exceeds all expectations. Am so looking forward to it :)

    1. Thanks so much, Danni, for your support! It means so much to me!

  4. I am so excited for you! I'm really looking forward to bragging to all of my friends ;) It's going to be wonderful!


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