Do you know who you’re trying to reach? No? It’s fine; don’t beat yourself up because most people don’t know either. Here at the How To Build An Author House Series , we’re here to help by offering advice on how to get you talking to the right folk.
So far you’ve set your foundations and now we’re moving on to stage two of your author platform. What’s it about I hear you scream? Well it’s about who your target audience is and how you can best position yourself to take on the world! Exciting, yes?
If you’ve yet to create your foundations please CLICK HERE and follow the previous 7 steps. You can thank me later with cups of Black Coffee and Jaffa Cakes.
Now I think it’s important to note that this is a strategy for YOU, the author, creating an AUTHOR Platform, not a BOOK Platform. Therefore the things we’re about to discuss are fairly general, rather than specifically choosing a market to sell your individual book to. This is Author Marketing, and as such we have YOU at the heart of things. Book Marketing comes later, so leave that worry for another day.
As an aspiring author in the modern world you should prepare yourself for a multiple of things to sell. You may be writing a book on Fiction, but in the near future you may find yourself selling self help books, a non fiction book about you, consultancy on things such as Blogging or marketing, and to conferences who wish to have you speak and share your expertise. This may sound insane, but it’s happening more and more.
Take Joanna Penn for example, her intentions at the beginning were to write and become a published author. A few years down the line though she now has:
– 2 Fiction Novels
– 4 Self Help/Non Fiction Books
– Is a Speaker (2 in the next few weeks)
– Is a consultant (on Blogging and the publishing sector)
If you were to walk up to her in the street and ask her what she did I’m sure she’d say she was a writer first and foremost. Yet she is now an entrepreneur too, offering services and products to help bring in extra income, further enhance her brand, and increase the value she offers people. Her author marketing drives her forward, allowing her to take advantage of several products she can now sell.
Each one of these products/services requires its own marketing plan, a structure that will help target the right people in the right way. Creating an author platform is about YOU though, the overall brand and how YOU can leverage YOU to the people YOU need to. Without an author platform you aren’t prepared for this potential (or maybe impending) success.
So if we take a look at segmentation I see us aspiring authors trying to reach three types of people:
Splitting customers up like this (Market Segmentation) is an important part of any marketing strategy. Each segment has it’s own needs and wants, and therefore needs to be communicated differently. Taking these into consideration further down the line (When discussing the Tactics such as Social Media and Advertising) becomes vital in understanding who and how we’re talking to people.
By now (see ‘Author Marketing: Are You As Strong As Your Writing?’) you should know what your general market/genre is. Now is the time to engage with these people as they could very well be your future readers, and if you target them correctly they could become your followers on your own Blog and Social Media outlets.
For example, let’s say you’re a Science Fiction writer who focuses on NASA and it’s new technologies. It would be a grand idea to get involved in a forum for enthusiastic scientists, either professional or amateur scientists that love to read about NASA and their future missions.
Engage with them, get involved with discussions and focus your Blog (or at least certain posts) on this. It will be a great opportunity to network with people and if you become an ‘expert’ in these communities then selling your products and gathering fans will become a much easier task.
I think interacting with the right kind of Expert is a very important aspect of building your Author Platform and author marketing activities, if for nothing else you’ll learn a hell of a lot. These people may not become your readers, but they could become a massive part of your future writing, become guests on your Blog, and generally bring some credibility to what you do.
Let’s take the Science Fiction NASA writer again. Now is a great time to begin following scientists that you like, people that will keep you up to date in the area you write about and love. Sign up to their Blog, follow them on Twitter, and generally begin engaging with them. Follow as many of these experts as you feel comfortable with, but make sure you do so with the right intentions. Don’t simply go up to them and start asking for interviews and quotes. Follow them, interact, and form a relationship. In time this can develop into something big and help you in so many ways.
Some of you may think this is pointless because you’re looking to self-publish. There’s nothing wrong with this because self-publishing is only going to increase in the coming years. However, I still find it important to engage with these people, because like the experts, they could provide some invaluable advice, credibility, and engagement.
Make sure you do your research and begin making lists of Agents you think align with what you do. If we once again take the Science Fiction NASA Writer, look at books similar to what you write and who published and represents said author. Are there any Agents that Blog about your genre? If so engage with them, learn about what they do and what they like, and you’ll at very least learn a great deal.
If you are hoping to send your manuscript out to Agents and publishers though, then follow exactly the same advice, but take extra note on the things they like and don’t like in Query letters. Don’t make the mistakes they warn about and tailor make your letter around what they love. Who knows… if they recognise your name and like what you do online it could lead to your MS jumping to the top of the pile.
So brings the end of another post, Part-1 of this extract becoming part of the archive. Next time I’ll look at how you can find these people, ways to stay organised, and how to position yourself to take advantage of these segments. I will once gain use myself as the example and present to you my list so far and the tools that I use. Everyone will be different though, so make sure you constantly ask yourself ‘how can I get this to align with my own Vision and Brand Identity?’
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million