Cindy Ratzlaff reports:
"When an author submits his or her manuscript to a publisher, there are several things to go into their decision on whether or not to publish the author’s work. First, of course, is 'Is this a well-written book that people will want to read?' The very next question is '[W]hat is this author’s platform?'...An author platform is a suite of sites, tools or outlets through which an author can assist the publisher in creating sales for his or her book. The publisher wants a partner in the author...[B]uilding a loyal, engaged fan base takes time and commitment. Ideally authors would begin building that fan base during the writing process so they could share their journey with the growing fan base, and they’d be able to present the potential publisher with some impressive social statistics from their platform. Besides writing the book, building a platform is the author’s second most important job. For most authors, a large speaking tour, a national television show or [a series of] regular radio interviews is something that may come in the future but might not be in their platform as they pitch their book to publishers. But a large social media following and a good-sized e-mail list is something most authors can accomplish with some strategy, consistency and focus...The elements of a good social media platform will vary based on the book, the author and the time available to build a following...[T]here are ways to live your digital life in public and keep some things private. One caveat, however. Because you’re building a public facing personae, please be cautious about what you post. Don’t post things you wouldn’t want the public to see, even if you think they’re private. We’ve all seen how vulnerable anyone can be if there is some sort of leak. That said, unless you’re an author who wants to foster controversy and gossip, think of Facebook profiles as a garden party, at your home. You’ve invited the public to view your gardens and talk to you about your books, but at the end of the day, you’ll say [goodbye], shut the garden gate and talk to your nearest and dearest in private...People who hear about you and your books will be searching for you by name. Don’t let a potential book buyer sit outside your garden gate. Invite them in and eventually you’ll invite them to also join you on your business page. Also, building a following on Facebook starts with your inner circle and grows. Only a personal profile account can invite other people to 'Like' a business page. The more connects you have on your personal profile, the more people you can invite to engage with you on your business page. Inviting those closest to you, the author, is the ideal place to start spreading the word about your book. Finally, unless you have a personal profile, you won’t be able to use all of the customization strategies available to a business page, such as custom apps to sell your book. Allow people to find you in a search and connect with you on your Facebook profile as you begin to build an author brand...A Facebook fan page is indexed by Google and is, therefore, a powerful opportunity to increase the author’s ability to be found in a search...Live links to the author’s website...on the About page can direct fans toward the home base. Custom designed apps or tabs can be used to create a rich experience, including selling the book directly from Facebook, offering live author chats, showcasing rave reviews, and featuring an author’s Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest feeds. Think of a Facebook business page as a mini[-]website that increases an author’s visibility on the largest social network around...Twitter is a broadcasting and engagement platform that helps introduce an author to a large audience and invite them back to the author’s home base for a deeper conversation and for links to buy the book...YouTube is owned by Google, reason enough to start a YouTube Channel for increased author brand awareness...[G]etting comfortable using video apps like [Vine and Instagram], and live streaming options such as Periscope, Blab and Meerkat, authors can become video savvy easily. They can even make their digital photos into short, professional videos using a free and easy[-]to[-]use service called Animoto. Note: Upload your short video messages directly to Facebook for better reach and then upload the same video to YouTube for the added search benefits of that platform...Using hashtags as a way to help followers connect, Instagram has a language all [its] own and a passionate, massive following, all of whom want to connect with authors who share their passions visually...With a user base focused on enthusiasts, it’s no surprise Pinterest attracts readers who like to 'pin' their favorite books and direct people back to websites where they can learn more and buy books...The blog or website is the home base and all of an author’s interactions on other social sites should eventually invite the author back to that home base to take an action. That action can be [to] purchase the book, sign up for the newsletter, check out the live events calendar or leave a comment with a question. Here authors can run [contests or giveaways] and increase interactions with fans to build a strong subscriber base. Using multimedia...will increase fan engagement and help create a desire to revisit the site often...Authors, keep writing, and add some social posts to your daily activities to create a vibrant fan base of readers eagerly waiting for your book."
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