- Building my platform is a necessary part of my career. It’s my “work.” Every job has tasks that are not as fun as others.
- Social media is not about me. It’s about the people (readers) I am reaching.
- Building a platform is about serving my reader’s needs, not about building my empire.
- I get to choose how I build my platform with joy as the foundation.
- I can build a platform without burnout that fits the way I’m uniquely created.
- As always, I leave room for the sovereignty of God.
- Email list (Absolutely the best way to foster engagement with your followers). I’ve seen a high level of engagement, too, in engaging with readers over text message. I’ve successfully used Textiful to build my lists, which is a combination of both approaches. I speak a lot about email lists–and I teach best practices in Thomas Umstattd and Jim Rubart’s Book Launch Blueprint that starts April 12th. They cover nearly every aspect of platform as they teach you how to launch your book. Hint: email matters.
- Amazon ads (You typically have to pay a professional for this, and many publishers do this for their books). Here’s a general overview of Amazon ads for authors.
- Professional, reader-centric website. (This is your home on the web. You own it. It’s not about you; it’s about your readers.) Here’s a good example of a reader-centric website by fellow Bookie, Lea Ann Garfias. Here’s a quick (free) video about why some author websites fail (and how you can do better).
- Posting on high profile, highly trafficked online sites. (I love referring people to this online platform). When I wrote an article for the Washington Post, not only did I see my credibility rise (and add a trust badge to my site), but I grew my audience. Here’s how to pitch to the Huffington Post.
- Speaking engagements (online or in person once this scourge has passed). This can include online summits, webinars, and even FB Lives. You could also include YouTube here–any platform that allows people to see and hear you. Here’s a great group on FB who may help called Take the Stage Speakers.
- Podcast (if you have one), or being a podcast guest. (Hint: podcast listeners buy books). Here’s a terrific FB group called the Christian Podcasters Association. Here’s a podcast episode about how to get booked on podcasts. I’m surprised that my biggest platform turned out to be my daily podcast.
- Instagram. This is actually my favorite social media platform. I spent 2020 understanding and mastering it on my way to reach the magical 10,000 number. (I’m getting close!) I find so much joy here, and my audience tends to congregate and engage int his space. Here’s a free course by Mixtus Media that may help as you tackle this platform.
- Facebook. The positive? Most people are on FB. The negative? Increasingly, you have to pay to be noticed there. If you want to run ads on Facebook, here are the four best ads to run for authors.
- Twitter. A great platform if you’re writing a controversial, newsworthy book. But it can be very hard on you if you have a tender heart. Oddly, besides my podcast, this is my largest platform. Here are 8 steps to get more Twitter followers.
- Pinterest. I know author Tricia Goyer is a master at this. Take a look at her boards here. Here are 8 tips for authors for growing Pinterest and readership.
- TikTok/Snapchat/any new platform like mewe or clubhouse. I’m a wait-and-see person about new platforms. I’ve seen a lot of new things fall away. Best practice is to have a profile and watch it. If it takes off, and it’s where your readers are, adopt it.
Of course these priorities will change based on your readership and where you find your book buyers. It will also shift based on your joy level, ability, and time.
I’ve created a graphic you can print and work through these online spaces to see what best fits your platform building prowess. Simply put a checkmark where you feel confident. Then look at how many checkmarks each platform has. At a glance you can make a determination which ones fit you best.