Most authors find the promotion part of publishing a book at best challenging and, at worse, a necessary evil. Some authors enjoy it, seeing it as an important part of getting a book noticed and into the hands of readers.
The antidote to this entire platform thing is to first think about readers and those you will influence through your work. It’s a borderline magic potion to enjoying the platform-building process and writing content in general. Thinking first about others is quite liberating.
Or as C.S. Lewis pointed out, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.”
The vaccine to cure the problem if you are uncomfortable with self-promotion is to intentionally include books you didn’t write and other authors you appreciate in your promotion. When you do this, there are immediate positive results in the way you view platform-building.
When your author platform is a place to recommend good books to your connections, the purpose is raised to something much greater than only focus on your work.
Whether you have a reasonably successful author platform or are just getting started, make it a point to “adopt an author” or two, or more, to amplify along with your material.
The key ingredient in this “magic potion to enjoy platform-building” is not requiring reciprocal promotion. This is not a business transaction but a heartfelt endorsement of someone else’s work. Maybe you don’t even tell them. Do a Nike on them. (Just do it.)
We all need to see people in less transactional ways. Doing something without the expectation of an in-kind response pushes back against harmful self-interest.
Adopting an author to amplify is good for their book; your book; and, most importantly, your soul. Metaphorically speaking, it removes all the mirrors in your house, so you can’t spend all day looking at yourself.
Every author should have a list of books that meant a lot to them. None of them should have your name on the cover, index, or acknowledgment page. If you are an author, you should have read some books that impacted how you think about things.
This list should be posted on your website or social-media profile and changed every few years if you desire. Consider doing a “what I am reading now” list.
For me, the five books that changed my thinking or contributed to my understanding of life and our world are:
- Your God is Too Small by J.B. Phillips (the first Christian book I read)
- In His Steps by Charles Sheldon (the second Christian book I read)
- In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters
- When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss
- The Next Christendom by Philip Jenkins
Honorable Mention: 1967 Who’s Who in Baseball.
Making a list of a few authors you want to help succeed and another of books that formed you as a person are worthwhile endeavors since they will help other people grow, which is a far better pursuit than only promoting yourself.
Who knows? You might even enjoy marketing!