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Marketing and Promoting your Writing Today


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The Importance of Building an Author Platform

Note: This was presented at the Sinclair Community College 40th Annual Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, OH in November 2013.. As such, the slides do not fully cover the material presented, so if you are interested contact

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Marketing and Promoting your Writing Today

  1. 1. Marketing and Promoting Your Writing Today: The Importance of Building an Author Platform Andrew Walsh Sinclair Community College 40th Annual Writers’ Workshop
  2. 2. What stands between you and your audience? ?
  3. 3. Author Platform - A Basic Definition 1. Your Visibility 2. Your Fans, Readers, Followers, “Tribe”
  4. 4. The Old Days “Author platform” = cultivated and controlled by the publisher, not the author.
  5. 5. The New Author Platform Advantages: Fewer barriers to entry, more self-publishing tools Can build a following using online means and interact directly with your readers.
  6. 6. The New Author Platform Challenges: Increasingly Crowded Marketplace • Traditional print books (US; 2002) = 215,138 • Traditional print books (US; 2011) = 347,178 • Self-published books have nearly tripled in the US since 2006, now totaling more than 235,000 each year.” (Bowker) • Amazon Kindle Books (2010) = 174,889 • Amazon Kindle Books (2011) = 308,591 • Amazon Kindle Books (2012) = 482,188
  7. 7. The New Author Platform Your author platform needs a central hub, an online space controlled by you that contains all the important information about your writing.
  8. 8. Options for Your Platform Hub • Your own website or blog (free-hosted) • Your own website or blog (self-hosted) • A social media or publisher author page as hub (less effective option)
  9. 9. Free-Hosted Website or Blog • Others: Wix, Weebly, Google Sites
  10. 10. Self-Hosted Website or Blog • (free) • Domain names: Godaddy, Namecheap ($10/yr) • Web Hosting: Bluehost, Dreamhost, Hostgator ($5/mo)
  11. 11. Free vs. Self-Hosted • Domain Names • Customization, control • Your budget
  12. 12. Big Question: DIY or Buy? • Your level of comfort with digital technology, graphic design, marketing, etc. • Don’t spread yourself too thin: you’re a writer first and foremost!
  13. 13. If Choosing to Hire • Work with a local web design company • Purchase a premium website theme online • Work with a web design company online • Hire for graphic design only and combine with a free-hosted website
  14. 14. Essentials for Your Website • Bio and Contact Info • Links to Book Info/Sales Pages • Endorsements/Testimonials • An Email List for Vistors to Sign Up (Services: Mailchimp, Aweber)
  15. 15. Other Ideas for Your Website • Author blog (news, events, thoughts) • Video trailer (for a specific work) • Interview (audio or video) • Offer a free download of some of your work
  16. 16. Other Ideas for Your Website
  17. 17. Other Ideas for Your Website
  18. 18. Website Pitfalls to Avoid • Contact info not obvious enough • Lots of flash animation or auto-playing music or video • Not keeping it up to date
  19. 19. Website Pitfalls to Avoid • Neglecting to have a clear call-to-action
  20. 20. Reaching Out With Social Media Your Website and Social Media: A OneTwo Punch • Reach out, attract eyeballs with social media, funnel them back to your author platform hub
  21. 21. Which Ones Do I Pick? Facebook – Profile vs. page, many use it for real-world connections. Twitter – Faster, open mutual following, more for networking. 140 character limit. • Others: Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, Youtube, forums/communities
  22. 22. Essentials For Social Media • Add a photo and provide a detailed bio and link to your website • Engage, don’t just promote your own work • Strive for consistency in your posting • Build your network (Add follow buttons to your website. Reach out to others personally.)
  23. 23. Share Expertise and Industry News
  24. 24. Share Your Writing Process
  25. 25. Share Others’ Content
  26. 26. Promote Yourself
  27. 27. Promote Yourself
  28. 28. Other Ideas for Social Media • Have a contest/giveaway • Ask for feedback/ideas from audience to democratize the writing process
  29. 29. Social Media Pitfalls to Avoid • Trying to be everywhere (Instead: research your audience and pick one or two places where they hang out.) • Being overly promotional (Think 80/20 rule.) • Posting too many mundane personal updates (Personal vs. professional account.)
  30. 30. Oversharing? • “Mystery plays a big role in our love of books, and by using social media to promote yourself, you’re only demystifying your work for everyone who follows you. And that makes you lose potential readers.” (author Benjamin Anastas on quitting Twitter)
  31. 31. Magic Bullet? • “If I wanted to gain (and keep) an audience on Twitter … I had to offer something beyond a promotional platform for my book … I’ve come to doubt Twitter’s value as a marketing platform.” (author Benjamin Anastas on quitting Twitter)
  32. 32. Works Cited Articles Referenced • • • • • Websites Used for Screenshots • • • • • • Images • • • • •