Hey you! Yeah i’m talking to you! Don’t you know how important you are?
That’s right, you’re the most important person in this process so start respecting your talents and just how awesome you are, because today’s post is going to show you what YOU bring to the table.
Welcome back to the How To Build An Author House Serues. Today’s post will focus on the very beginning, the reason you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. Building an author platform is of massive importance to any budding writer, as the modern day publisher/agent will only take a punt on you if you offer a return on investment. 10,000 twitter followers and 20,000 blog hits a month will tempt them, even if they don’t fall head over heels for your story.
Joanna Penn talks about this brilliantly, so check out the link for some more info on author platforms and the importance of building one.
Anyways, every book has a beginning and a good marketing strategy is no different. So today we will look at your Vision Statement, Mission Statement, and Core Values; and how they will help create a ‘platform’ for the rest of your… well, ‘author platform’… not just now, but for years to come. I know, I know, it all sounds very corporate, but call them fairy and angel statements if you like, the point is the functions they perform. Simply put the Vision Statement is the WHY and the Mission Statement is the HOW.
Before I get started I will recap that this is a marketing strategy for YOU, not your book…we’re talking about Author Marketing people, not Book Marketing (that comes further down the line). You are the Brand and your book is the product. Although products and services need their own marketing and communication plans, they will ultimately unravel without a solid foundation, aka your Marketing Strategy. To recap on my story and what this series will encounter see my opening segment: Author Marketing: An Aspiring Authors Marketing Strategy.
As I said from the beginning I will be basing all content on my own Journey, but will do my best to offer the reasons why and the alternatives that you may wish to take instead. So to start things off, here’s my Vision Statement:
To become an industry leading writer and marketer that offers a unique and innovative insight for the writing community.
As I’m sure you’ll notice it’s quite small, but that’s fine, the Vision is yours so can be as long or short as you want to make it. I’d suggest less is more though, because this will be your guiding light, and the more precise it is the easier it will be for you. All your looking to say here is what and why you want to become something. There doesn’t need to be a time frame (that comes later) or even a ‘how you’re going to do it’ (that comes next). This is your dream and where you want to be in 5 or 10 or 15 years time. Be grand and be beautiful with your dreams.
Another striking thing may be the lack of author ambition in there, but there’s a reason behind this. As I said earlier this strategy is about you, and if you’re going to succeed as an author you need to have an all round strong skill set. If you wish to include being an author in your vision then by all means do so. Yet I find this to be a distraction, and if I achieve my vision, and my writing is good enough, then becoming an author will come on the back of it.
To help you along I suggest you ask yourself:
– Why are you doing this?
– What do you hope to achieve?
– What are your desires?
– What are the key characteristics that define you?
All of this may seem simple but please take your time and consider it carefully. This is your defining statement, the kind of thing you can use as a signature, on the back of a business card, or on the front page of your website. How do you want people to see you?
With regards to the Mission Statement, this is the HOW, the middleman between your vision and how you will actually do things. As such you should be asking yourself:
– What are you good at?
– What do you enjoy doing?
– What do your mentors or role models do?
– How can you help others?
– How can you help get your name out there?
– What are the current trends in writing, either in your genre or as a whole?
– How do you think you can gain leverage over other like-minded people?
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to length or how many bullet points this should have. Approach with an element of caution though and try and make it as short as you can. You aren’t putting a time frame to them, you aren’t quantifying them with percentages, or adding any specifics. Be broad and allow the rest of the strategy to go into things in more detail. The Mission Statement I’ve come up with is:
– To become highly regarded in the online world via Blogs and Social Media
– To offer advice and guidance to aspiring authors and marketers, consistently striving to gain personal growth
– To network both online and offline, utilising these contacts to extend my communication reach
– To offer honest and sincere opinions and advice, always looking to enter in to new discussions with like-minded people.
– Read daily updates in the world of marketing and writing, constantly looking to develop new skills and insights.
– To create a series of published books appreciated by a wide and varied audience.
As you can see it is again rather broad with no real specifics. It mentions my intention to use blogging and social media, but does not go into which ones, how to utilise them, or numbers of any kind. It also discusses writing and publishing books, but leaves out the bit about genre, how many, and how many you plan to sell. You may choose to make yours more specific, if you have a defined genre or niche in mind. But leave it as open planned as possible because the walls will come later.
The final piece of the puzzle of YOU are the Core Values you offer. These are important, because like your Vision & Mission, they showcase what you’re all about to the big wide world, and also as a marker for yourself when you have doubt.
These are my Core Values, the reasons I’m creating this author platform and what i’ll try to resonate each and every day:
Here to Help
I want to help people whenever I can; be it some advice on marketing, a link to a new Blog, or things I learn along the way. I don’t see fellow writers and Bloggers as rivals, rather a sibling in this battle to become what we want to be.
Here To Learn
I believe you never stop learning so I approach each day with open eyes and open mind. I love to search, and read, and interact in a manner that will help me better myself. If I spend a day not learning then it’s day wasted in my opinion.
Here To Share
With research and searching comes answers, and answers create the ability to share things with other people. If I read something I like I’ll share with my online family and we can all move forward with smiles on our faces.
Here To Network
Meeting new people is what makes the world great. I love conversing and sharing stories, and every time I do I learn something new. I know it sounds cheesy, but this author platform of mine will introduce me to so many new people.
Here To Write
Is this the most important value of mine? Arguably yes, because in the end of the day I want to become a writer; a somebody who writes books that people fall in love with. This Blog…this entire author platform is here to help me improve and showcase my passion.
This is the beginning of your strategy, and as such a very important part of it. Think about it carefully, just like you would the beginning of your story. Take your lead character for instance, would you begin a story and not consider the inner workings of him/her?
What you create here will go unchanged for the most part, any changes highly avoidable. There will be times on your author marketing journey where you doubt yourself and this will be your guiding light, bringing you back on track and safely passing you to the next step.
Before writing I would suggest creating some spider diagrams or lists of words best describing you and your dreams. It’s what I do and before long I usually create something that encompasses everything I’m trying to say. If you do have any questions though, or would like to share your own statements please do so below. It would be great to see what other people can come up with. We are after all brothers and sisters, not enemies.
And I suggest visiting the link from earlier, the piece done by Joanna Penn, a writer I will no doubt reference often. Her entire process is good, but her outlook on author platforms and author marketing is very good indeed. Next time I will discuss Branding and how consistency is key to everything. Please take a look at my other entries, follow this blog, and on Twitter too. And if you have anything to say please do, I love a good conversation
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million