Today’s blog post is a follow-up to my January 30, 2022 blog post, How can I attract readers when I write about my author’s platform? In spite of my rant last week in What does a month in the life of a would-be author look like? and a continuation of that craziness this past week, I’m feeling good now about my author’s platform.
Read on, to find out what has lifted my writing spirits.
Colleen M. Story’s Perspective
The Writers in the Storm website came to my rescue again. Colleen M. Story wrote an article for it months ago while I was already trying to decide when to blog about this topic. Here’s the link to Ms. Story’s September 14, 2022 article: How Your Author Platform Helps You Do More Than Sell Books (writersinthestormblog.com).
Ms. Story hit on some important points and helped me not to feel quite so intimidated by the whole author platform thing. Her article touched on the “whys” and the “wherefores” of an author platform. It boils down to anything and everything you do to attract readers.
She talked about five ways an author’s platform can help your career. They all made sense. Then she listed 14 examples of things a writer can do to attract readers. I was happy to see “Blog” on the list, but the wheels fell off my wagon when I got to “YouTube site.” Yikes! Moving on down the list (because, after all, I can’t do all 14 of them) I came to “Newsletter.” I’ve toyed with that idea, but I haven’t attempted that avenue yet.
When my redesigned website gets up and running (soon!), I will start asking people to sign up for my email list/newsletter. More to come on that in the coming weeks.
Ms. Story also had “E-books” and “Social Media” on her list. I’ve mentioned my lack of comfort with social media in many blog posts. There’s certainly more work for me to do there.
On the E-book front, I’ve written a southern historical short story that I plan to give away as an e-book to everyone who signs up for my mailing list. Stay tuned for my announcement about that when my new website is ready.
Blog and Social Media: Is it Both or Either/Or?
I recently listened to a Penny Sansevieri of https://www.amarketingexpert.com on this topic. It unburdened me! I learned that more and more authors don’t have a desire or the time to be on social media. Whew! What a relief! I’ve read and heard a thousand times that authors have to be active on social media.
I’ve tried to be active on Twitter. It’s just not my thing. It’s a chore. It’s something I have to put on my to-do list, but usually it gets pushed to another day. And Instagram? I created an account several years ago, but I’ve never used it. By that, I mean I’ve never logged in to my account a single time.
I enjoy putting things on Pinterest, but I’m more likely to pin a recipe than something writing-related. Last week I read a theory that Pinterest might be an author’s best friend when it comes to social media. I like Pinterest, so that was encouraging.
When Penny Sansevieri said I don’t have to do social media, I wanted to jump up and down. If I blog on a regular basis (check!), update my website (check! Being done!) and stay active on Pinterest (fairly easy!), all I need to add is a newsletter.
With that in mind, I looked back at the “Next Steps” section in my January 30, 2023 blog post. I was tempted to strike through numbers 5 and 6 (find out where my target reader hangs out and hang out there), but I’m pretty sure historical fiction fans hang out on Goodreads. I like Goodreads. I just need to get more serious about it.
My takeaways from the podcast were (1) Since I blog every week, I don’t have to have a presence on social media; (2) I need to upgrade my author website; (3) I must have a newsletter with updates on what I’m doing and teasers about what’s coming; (4) I need a magnet to attract people to my newsletter; (5) I must have information in the back of my books with links to my website, blog, and any social media I want to participate in; (6) I mustn’t overlook local events and local media; and (7) I need to engage with influencers.
Where do I go from here?
With the new advice from Penny Sansevieri’s podcast that I just need to choose those activities I’m comfortable with and focus on them, I don’t feel overwhelmed now. (Well, not completely overwhelmed.) I will stop feeling guilty for not Tweeting every day.
You wouldn’t believe how much weight just got taken off my shoulders!
I’ve Been Part Way Down That Road Before
I could be the poster child for how not to build an author’s platform. I’ve given half-hearted effort in the past to everything on Kimberly Grabas’ list I shared in m January 30, 2023 blog post. I’ve let excuses like lack of technical expertise derail my good intentions.
Reading the articles I referenced today and two weeks ago and listening to the podcast I mentioned were extremely helpful. Those actions, plus taking Tim Grahl’s “Launch a Bestseller” course, prompted me to make a plan and set goals and deadlines for myself.
It’s all paid off. I put my nose to the grindstone last fall and self-published a 500-page local history book in November. I’ll have a revamped website later this month. Then I’ll be able to start compiling a mailing list. I’ll give away an e-short story. I expect to have my second local history book available by the first of April.
Since my last blog post
I’m still dealing with the problems I blogged about last week, but I’m trying not to be as upset about them. Several of you have reached out to me about the issues with suggestions and empathy. Thanks to each of you!
My sister and I continue to proofread the manuscript for Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 2.
Harrisburg, Did You Know? Cabarrus History, Book 1 continues to sell well at Second Look Books in Harrisburg and on Amazon.
The daffodils are blooming, so spring must be on the way!
Until my next log post
Thank you for dropping by my blog. I truly appreciate the time you took to read my post today. If you have friends who might enjoy it, please tell them about it.
I hope you have a good book to read. I’m listening to The Home for Unwanted Girls, by Joanna Goodman. I recommend it. It’s historical fiction based on a real life experience and is set in 1950s Quebec. Saskia Maarleveld is the reader on the book on CD. She does wonderful work! I’m beginning to seek out books she’s recorded.
Remember the suffering people in Ukraine, Turkey, and Syria.