BlogMandy Jackson-Beverly

Author Platform: The Publishing Industry Darling  

By June 22, 2020No Comments

Author Platform Dribble

There’s a lot of talk about author platforms. It’s a term flung around like an obligatory term of endearment, a string of words every new writer is supposed to understand. Like most buzz words, the explanation of an author platform and its use falls short of getting the coverage it deserves. When author platforms are mentioned at writing conferences, a glazed look often appears on the faces of new writers, quickly replaced by a slow smile when the speaker changes subjects. This leaves newbie writers none the wiser, and often too embarrassed to ask for a definition.

Yes, But What The Heck Is An Author Platform?

Think of your author platform as a stage where you present your talents. A place where people can find you. Your platform is your asset from which you showcase the best of you. It’s a long term commitment that grows with you. It changes in appearance and format as pieces are added continuously and deleted. Your author platform is an expansion of your talents. It is a place where you can shine, and the best place to support this information is on a website. A one-stop site where people can find you.

Your Website

A stunning, professional website is the foundation of an author platform. It is the root from which the branches of the author’s persona present information to readers, bloggers, agents, tv and radio hosts, film and tv producers, and podcasters. Do you have a YouTube channel or a background in film? Are you a public speaker? And let’s not forget your bio, tell the audience about yourself. Are you a podcaster? Have you appeared on TV? Do you enjoy writing blogs, or have you written articles for magazines and newspapers? Are you a specialist teacher, holding an expert degree? Have you been interviewed on the radio? These attributes are all assets and, as such, need to appear on your website.

Here are a few suggestions for items to share on your website. On a dropdown menu, have a link to your bio, an “About Me” page, and another for your blog. If you have participated in interviews, podcasts, written articles for publications, I suggest another dropdown menu titled “Media.” Consider having a “Where to Find Me” or a “Calendar of Events” page for people to connect with you in person and on-screen (book signings, speaking engagements, webinars, and Zoom get-togethers ). And of course, your books need to be front and center on your opening page.

Get Creative

Whether you have a website designer or build the website yourself, understand that it is your brand. The visual content is the first thing seen when someone clicks on your link. Make sure the home page has a wow factor (fabulous images, clear text, easy to navigate) and is compatible with your genre.

Take a look at other author websites, especially authors who write in your genre. Do you have a reaction when you see their first page? And is it a negative or a positive response? What colors and fonts appear on the more successful author websites? Is the site easy to navigate around? Do their books stand out on that opening page? Does their home page scream their genre?

You may decide to hire a professional website designer or to use a site like Wix and build it yourself. Wix is easy to use, and you can choose the free option or sign up for one of their monthly programs. You can also add e-commerce to your website, allowing customers to purchase books directly from you. Another option is to join bookshop.org and support Independent bookstores, while also earning money through the sales of your books and books you recommend.

But My Book isn’t Published Yet

If you’re a writer still waiting for your book to be published, use your website to get potential readers excited about your writing. Present blogs that include photos related to your upcoming book. Include images of your workspace and places you may have visited for research. You get the picture—these are all of interest to the outside world.

Of course, an author website isn’t complete without links to your social media platforms. But that’s a subject for another day.

Mandy Jackson-Beverly is an author, developmental writing coach, public speaker, and teacher. Her courses are available on Teachable.

 

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