You’ve gotten your author platform started. You have a great website, you’ve started a mailing list, and you’ve even come up with something to offer in exchange for signing up for that mailing list that your target audience can’t resist. That’s all you need, right?
But still you’re discovering that maybe it’s not quite true that if you build it, they will come. You’re at the point where it seems like your platform’s growth has come to a standstill.
What’s missing? In this article, let’s explore the one last step you need to take to make your platform grow.
The Key to Growth
A couple weeks ago, I discovered a new favorite Mexican sauce at my local grocery store. This product had been there probably the entire two years I’ve spent shopping at that store, but I only noticed it because there was a sale sticker on the shelf. Because the sauce was on sale, I saw it.
What does that have to do with marketing your book? Well, it’s clear that simply putting a book on the Kindle store and creating a great platform-building system will not gain you a following. And that brings us back to a very foundational part of marketing: Telling people that your product exists.
Just like I didn’t know the Mexican sauce was there until a sale drew my attention to it, your target audience doesn’t know you and your book exist until you get their attention. That’s the missing step: Getting the word out.
So how do you draw attention to your author platform? Let’s look at three ways to make sure you get noticed.
Boots on the Ground
Your goal with this strategy is to get out into the real world and plug your book. It’s great for the extroverts among us who love to meet people, see the world, and that sort of thing.
Take a minute and think about what’s in your home city. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Is there a local library where you could do a book signing event? Or if you’re a children’s author, can you read to the kids one evening?
- Does your city have a locally-owned coffee shop or three? If you’re a frequent customer at one of those joints while you’re pounding out pages, now might be a good time to talk to the owner about the possibility of doing a book signing or author talk.
- This one might be a long shot, but also think about if you know of any locally-owned bookstores in your area. They are a dying breed, but if your city has one, make friends with the owner and see if you can do an event there.
Now think bigger and go outside your backyard. Here are a couple ideas:
- Is there an author conference you could attend? Get yourself there and bring your books!
- What about other conferences that fit your books’ niche? Can you get a booth space and sell books at the conference?
When you’re doing any of these ideas, make sure you have a way for the people you meet to get on your author mailing list. Getting people signed up lets you tell them when you write new books!
Boots on the Internet
This strategy is like the online version of Boots on the Ground. Your goal is still to get out into the world and find people who are interested in your book. Again, take a minute to brainstorm some places online where you might be able to make connections with your book’s audience. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Search Goodreads or Facebook for book clubs that read titles like yours. See if you can contact the administrator and offer everyone a free e-book copy for their club.
- Look for blogs that feature authors and see if any of them would be interested in doing an interview with you and a giveaway of your book.
- Similarly, search for blogs that might like to review your book and offer to send a free copy.
- If you’ve written a non-fiction book, see if you can find a discussion forum about your book’s topic. Contribute to the discussion and become a valuable member of the community. Don’t spam with links to your book in every post you make, but if the forum allows it, mention your book in your signature.
That’s just scratching the surface of what you might be able to do online. The key here is to not look for sales so much as to look for audience. You can sell them your next book if they sign up for your mailing list after reading a book you gave them for free.
Money, Money, Money
Running some well-placed, well-targeted ads can be a great way to build your platform and mailing list quickly—just as long as you have the funds to do it!
The key to remember with this strategy is that you won’t build a mailing list by trying to sell your book with advertisements. That typically results in some additional book sales, but rarely converts to subscriptions. Instead of trying to increase your immediate sales, work on building your mailing list.
To do that, run an ad for your mailing list offer: the free story or book that you give away to people after they sign up for your mailing list. Think about it. Which would you be more likely to click on? “Get this free book!” or “Buy this book!”? Again, if you get someone on your mailing list now with a free book, you can sell your next book to them later.
So there you have three ways to get the word out about your book and your author platform. Do you have ideas for any more?