Friday, October 3, 2008

Building Your Author Platform

The writing life is all about sitting in front of my computer doing just that: sitting and writing.
Or so I thought.
Nowadays, a writer has to build a platform.
Rob Eagar of Wildfire Marketing is mentoring me, teaching me how to build my platform. Here's what I've learned the last couple of months:
1. Building an author/speaker platform is hard work. My son worked construction two separate summer vacations during high school. He came home hot, dirty and exhausted. Redoing my web site (MommyComeLately.com) and writing press releases and free resources and practicing for media interviews wears me out. Oh, sure, I'm not putting in drywall, but I'm pushing myself past my comfort zone. Remember, I'd rather be just sitting in front of my computer writing--not thinking about marketing.
2. Building an author/speaker platform takes time. My book on late-in-life motherhood, Baby Changes Everything: Embracing and Preparing for Motherhood after 35, has sold decently. But I'd like to see it do really well. Increasing book sales, booking speaking engagements--getting my name out there--isn't going to happen overnight. So, I have to be patient and build my platform one piece at a time.
3. Building an author/speaker platform is worth the effort. I am learning skills that will benefit me for years to come along The Writing Road. Rob and I have run through a couple of mock media interviews, which have helped me feel ready for the real ones I've got coming up. We worked on a press release through Labor Day weekend when Gov. Sarah Palin was selected as John McCain's running mate. (Politics aside, she's a late-in-life mom--and that's my area of writing/speaking expertise!)
The reality is, authors have to promote their books, unless they're bestselling writers with names like J.K. Rowlings or John Grisham.
So be it.
The question for you is: How are you going to build your author platform? It's not an optional activity for any author.

1 comment:

Paulette Harris said...

I wish I had the money to build stronger and better marketing skills. The more I learn about the writing world, the more I realize how important the marketing is. In the meantime, I take one day at a time, write and work on the tools that I have at the moment for these areas and last but certainly, not the least, I pray A LOT!
I also belong to several fiction groups and I pull out everything that they have written and suggest and keep the pieces in a separate
marketing file for reference.