So you’re an author. What next? The general consensus is you need a platform. But what on earth is a platform, and how do you create/maintain one.
A platform is more than collecting as many nameless faceless followers as possible and trying to shove your book down their throats. Despite what my mother thinks, my book isn’t for everyone, no book is. The idea is to build a network of people who hold the same interests and reading tastes as you and then to get to know them. This is an excellent thought, but how does one do this?
Social networks, book festivals, conferences, blog hops, and pretty much anything you think of that allows you to connect with readers. But before I get into specific social networks this is how you determine your reach and the areas you will want to build on your platform.
- How many people are on your email list or subscribe to your blog?
- How many followers do you have on twitter?
- How many Facebook friends or fans do you have?
- How much monthly traffic do you get?
Facebook is a little easier to get to know people. There is more information and an easier forum for a relaxed conversation. However, how many of us really talk a lot to the people we don’t already know well? Especially with fan pages it is important to interact and once again to post interesting and entertaining posts. Even your biggest fan doesn’t just want to hear about your book all the time. Let people see who you are and the loyalty will come.Goodreads is definitely a source I think I under use. The groups would be a great way to meet people who are into your genre and talk to them (not sell your book to them). I also under use Google +. Mostly because between writing, editing, blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, I don’t have a lot of time left for other networks. It is more important at the start to limit the number of networks you are on so you can do them right than it is to be everywhere.
The first is the author persona-centric platform. This is the idea that you should use your blog/web site/social media persona etc. to talk about your book, your writing, and things that have to do with you book.
The second is the human-centric platform. This is the idea that the reader wants to get to know the person behind the book. They want to feel like you could be their bff and hear about your daily life and struggles.
I don’t love either of these strategies. First off, no one will keep coming back to your blog to have your books shoved at them constantly. That is no fun. Second, no one wants to hear about what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner unless they are a stalker. I think the middle ground has to be the key here. You have to talk about your book, but not too much. You also have to talk about your life, but not too much. It is our job to find a middle ground that will be interesting and engaging. Is this an easy task? Absolutely not. But the easy things in life are rarely the ones worth working for.
When Liz isn’t writing or on social networks she is inflicting movie quotes and trivia on people, reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. Liz is a Midwest girl through and through, though she would be perfectly happy never having to shovel her driveway again. She has a love for all things spooky, supernatural, and snarky. Her favorite authors range from Edgar Allen Poe to Joseph Heller to Jane Austen to Jim Butcher and everything in between.
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I don’t know what I expected—certainly not the pain that tore through me when I opened my eyes. Feeling Holden immediately saturate my mind nearly shattered me and made me want to scream—or go back. I struggled and finally managed to shove him into a closet deep in my subconscious, where hopefully he’d stay until he disappeared forever—forgotten which was still better than he deserved.
Why did I agree to this?
Better yet, why didn’t my heart understand what my brain so clearly explained? Holden didn’t want us. He … No, I wouldn’t let myself do that. I would not think about Holden. He was dead to me. It was the only way it could be, the only way I could do this.
Quintus was waiting for me, all dimples and kindness—the traitorous bastard. Where was he when I needed him? Why didn’t he save me? The accusations running through my mind fell aside, as I noticed how weird things were.
Everything looked different making me sad that my camera would never be able to capture what I now saw—not that I had a camera anymore. Lights and colors shimmered through the air and the trees, like I was inside a snow globe that someone was relentlessly shaking. How had I not seen all the things around me? It was incredible.
The more Quintus spoke, the more I realized I had a lot to learn and plenty to distract me from the person I wasn’t thinking about. I was also not thinking about the fact that I’d been running around the forest stark naked giving Quintus quite a show until he made a crack about what we needed to do first.
I didn’t think it could get worse until Quintus made some god awful dress appear on me.
“So what now? Do we walk?” I squished my bare toes into the soft leaves beneath my feet. All I wanted was to not think about the past. The past was where he was and where I was angry at Quintus. I could only look forward now, because hindsight offered no solace, no future.
“Do you know where we are?”
“I was sent the same as you.”
“So we’re lost? Great! What kind of operation is this?”
“Guardians are never lost.” Quintus flashed me his ridiculously deep dimples, but I felt no appreciation for them. There was only one smile I wanted to see—
Needing to keep moving, I trudged through the woods in the direction I was facing. I heard Quintus walking behind me. How could he come to get me without a better plan than this? How did I get stuck with the person who’d abandoned me to a demon? My afterlife sucked.