Help a Good Cause and Your Author Platform

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

Last week a client received a request to do an advertisement to help promote a good cause. She wondered if it would be wise because it didn’t appear to relate to the books she writes. She was wise to discuss the opportunity with me before making a decision, because it’s an agent’s job to guard a client’s brand. It’s also important for authors to do all you can to increase your platform.

After talking it over, we decided the ad she was asked to write actually would reinforce her brand, and it would give her the potential to reach new readers. She in turn would be helping to promote the cause. A win-win.

When authors help a cause, everyone benefits.

The trick is to choose the cause that’s right for you to associate with. It all begins with knowing what your passion is. It is important to focus on what interests you most because that’s where your best writing will happen. That focus also applies to your platform growth, because it’s where you’ll find readers interested in what you write. Become an expert in your special area of interest.

Then look for an organized group with a purpose that has a direct or indirect connection to that passion. Don’t wait for a request to come to you. It might take some creative thinking and enough research to be confident of the integrity of the cause you select. Offer to be a speaker for the group.

Here are five tips to help you succeed in partnering with your chosen cause:

  • Be prepared with talking points. You never know what impromptu opportunities you might have to talk about your cause and your books. When others see your enthusiasm, they might approach you to speak to their group.
  • Don’t wait for media to come to you. Local radio and TV shows are always looking for interesting interviews. Contact the producers and share some of your expertise about what you write and the cause you are supporting. Your knowledge and the fact that you are a writer give you credibility.
  • Dedicate an area on your website to the cause you support. Update it frequently with news and your speaking engagements for the cause.
  • Talk about your cause on social media and your blog. It offers a subtle segue to talk about your books in an appealing way that doesn’t sound like a sales pitch.
  • Seek out others who blog about your cause and suggest you guest post for each other. Agree ahead of time that you can also talk about the books you write. You and your books will reach a new group of readers who might not otherwise have known about them.

Platform has been a major hurdle for nonfiction writers for a long time. Increasingly it is an obstacle for novelists as well because publishers’ sales teams have a lot of clout in pub board decisions. They want proof that an author has a solid base of book buying readers.

Today, authors must be creative about expanding your platform. One way to accelerate its growth is to help a favorite organization, and you don’t have to wait until you have a book releasing to begin. In fact, you’ll have increased authenticity if you are associated with the cause before your first, or next, book is published.

Are you already aware of a cause you could support that aligns with what you write but haven’t connected with it yet? What is stopping you? If this concept is new to you, are you interested in looking for a win-win association with a worthy cause? If you are already involved with one, in what way are you contributing and how is it helping your platform?

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Author, Check Your Online Presence

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

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