Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Build a Platform


By Pamela Christian


One of my mentors, an author of several successfully published books, recently shared that his most recent book was turned down. I was astounded. The reason? The publisher didn’t think he had sufficient platform.

At first that didn’t make sense to me since he has a loyal reader following. But then it made all the sense in the world because he doesn’t utilize the Internet. He admits that marketing is not something he wants to do. He’d rather spend his time writing and churning out well-crafted books. Then he said with a chuckle, “I guess I am an official dinosaur in this new world of publishing books.”

I’m exceedingly grateful I have a marketing background and I actually enjoy marketing. If you don’t, you need to get up to speed or you will be on your way of becoming a fossil.

Whether you publish independent or through a publishing house, the marketing and selling of you books falls on your shoulders. If you can’t personally do the marketing, you at least need to understand the basics so you know what to expect from someone you hire.

Embrace the Internet

Guy Kawsaki and Shawn Welch wrote an excellent book that every author should have, APE How to Publish a Book. They spend a lot of ink on the topic of platform. It’s no secret that the Internet has replaced many forms of traditional marketing. This is actually especially great for new authors. With the right efforts, a new author can level the playing field and compete with best selling authors.

Understand Social Network Marketing

Think of Social Network Marketing as an electronic version of word of mouth advertising, which is precisely what it is. Word of mouth advertising is the least expensive and most effective. But to get exponential word of mouth promotions, you need to establish relationship. There are billions of people using the Internet. Simply starting your own blog will not attract people. You have to find your target audience, establish relationship in various networks and communities and then people will be open to purchasing your book—just like any other sales effort.

Start Building Platform Before You Write Your Book

At minimum, Kawsaki/Welch suggests an author should have 5,000 followers to successfully market. This takes quite a bit of time to build. If you don’t have that yet, don’t let that deter you from moving ahead. Stopping in this market-culture means your footprint will soon be extinct. Determine which social network sites best reach your target audience. Establish your accounts and post regularly. 

Your posts need to give people insight to you, what you’re about and provide some value for them. Give your followers reasons to come back, subscribe and most importantly tell others about your site. Yes, it takes some of your time to consistently post compelling content, but its cost-free marketing. I recommend Michael Hyatt’s book, Platform:Get Noticed in a Noisy World “offers a step-by-step guide for anyone with something to say or sell.”
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Pamela Christian, “the Faith Doctor,” has been helping people in matters of faith. Pam compassionately wants people to confidently discover and live in, life-giving truth. Her ministry experience began as Teaching Director for Community Bible Study, (an independent, interdenominational, international organization). This led to her receiving invitations to speak nationally, followed by work as radio talk-show host in two major markets. She is a contributing writer to various books and magazines. Her education includes a certificate in apologetics from Biola University. As a book author and media personality, Pam's desire is to reach as many people as possible. She and her husband live in Orange County, CA, with their two grown children living nearby. Pam’s newest and first in a three-book series, Examine Your Faith! Finding Truth in a World of Lies, See the book trailer and learn more at www.pamelachristianministries.com



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