|Image Source: Writer's Digest|
In their current print issue (Mar/Apr 2011), Writer's Digest featured an article by Christina Katz entitled, "50 Simple Ways to Build Your Platform in 5 Minutes a Day." I highly recommend this article to every writer, especially those upcoming authors not yet published. So snag a copy of the magazine and learn simple steps every author can take to develop their personal brand and build a loyal following long before it is time to find an agent or publish that first manuscript.
A few of my favorite suggestions from the article include:
02 - Start Surveillance: As a writer/author it is important to connect with readers, reviewers, and fellow authors. The best way to know if others are aware of your existence, and perhaps even following your progress, is by setting up a Google Alert on yourself. After doing this, Google will notify you every time your name, article, blog, twitter handle, website, etc. is mentioned anywhere on the world wide web. When you are notified that someone else is promoting you, be sure to pop over and say thanks.
03 - Poll for Solutions: Use social media outlets to ask questions and get answers from others already in the business, or from potential readers. Twitter and Facebook are great for connecting with fellow authors and asking them questions. Most authors are very willing to help once they know you need it, and this also can be the start of a long-lasting friendship and can snowball into multiple new contacts.
15 - Review Worthy Writers: Anytime you come across an author or work that you feel was exceptional in some way, share it with others. You can mention them on your own blog or on review sites like Amazon.com, GoodReads, and Red Room. Not only are you helping to promote other authors, which will more than likely cause them to notice you and your work as well, but you are also helping to bring more attention to yourself and your own work.
17 - Take Time To Interact: With the multitude of blogs available on the web, it is sometimes a small miracle that your posts get read at all. Be sure to show your appreciation to those who have taken the time to read your posts and leave comments by commenting back and answering any questions that readers have. This is a great way to build a rapport with your readers and assure that they will continue to follow your posts.
20 - Create a Quickie Blogroll: Include writers and other blogs that you read regularly. This serves two purposes. First you are providing additional resources for your blog readers, and secondly, you are making other authors aware of your blog as well when they notice your link.
23 - Get Together: If you are participating in events, be sure to let people know where you will be and what you will be doing. Facebook has a great event application so you can also invite your friends/fans and get an RSVP. Also follow other author's events and support those whom you admire and respect by attending their events as well.
24 - Spark Conversations: With the infinite number of blogs, websites, social networks, forums, and chats out there today, find someone talking about a topic you are interested in and join the conversation! Not only can you learn something new, but you might also pick up a new fan or two, or find another networking partner.
25 - Friend and Follow Media Pros: Find out who the movers and shakers are in your genre (ie: well known authors/writers, literary agents, publishers, book reviewers, etc.) and interact with them (DON'T stalk them!!). They can be valuable resources and can help point you in the right direction.
30 - Shake Things Up: Don't be afraid to shake things up on hot button topics where you have a strong opion. If you disagree with something, tactfully rebut it. If you can think of a new and interesting angle about a topic, share it.
31: Capture Email Addresses: Start a newsletter to keep your fans informed of your progress, upcoming events, causes you support, book releases, and more. This is the easiest way to keep in contact with a multitude of people and keep them informed, and to market your books. There are several great services that make newletter production quick and easy and most have a free trial period: Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, and Get Repsonse. Also be sure to include an RSS Feed on your blog so readers can get each and every post.
35 - Share This: Be sure to utilize social networking buttons from Facebook and Twitter on your posts so that your readers can share your content with others. Also if you come across some great content, be sure to share or tweet the post or article to your readers. I guarantee you will make lots of new friends who will appreciate you promoting their work.
37 - Grow Your List: Be sure to include an email sign up link on your site, in your Bio signature, your business cards, and anywhere else you have a media presence. Also make sure to take an email sign up sheet with you to each event you attend so that people can receive updated information from you on a regular basis. Remeber the people on your list are the most likely people to purchase your work when it is ready.
41 - Round Up Resources: Include a resource page for your readers or other authors and share helpful content with them that they can share with others. This will also help generate traffic back to your pages when your content is shared by others.
For more great ideas on ways to build your author platform, check out the full article in Writer's Digest or visit Christina's website. She has tons of helpful and free resource info there for you to peruse at your leisure.
She also has a great book available for purchase that gives lots more tips and tricks about how you can become a well known author way before you land that first book deal. Click the image to the left to find out more about Christina's book and begin building your platform right now!