Tag s | Branding

Don’t Put Everything in Your Book

One reason platform-building is a such a problem for some authors is the feeling they must place everything important in their book, leaving little or nothing left to say for platform purposes.

This puts an author in an awkward position where they either deviate from their core book-message for their platform (social media and other efforts) or they treat their platform only as a “teaser” or commercial for a book.

Neither path is an effective way to create a loyal reader following, where connections look to you for a certain type of writing. One extreme will confuse your followers with material you are not known for, and the other will drive them away as they feel you only need them for marketing.

Like it or not, an effective author platform provides both good additional content and an appropriate way to point followers to your book.

Press pause on this post for a minute…

As an agent, I am far more interested in working with authors who have multiple books over many years rather than someone who wrote their one and only book and desires to find a publisher. My opinions take more of a 5 to10-year perspective on developing the career of an author rather than to “just get my book published.” This is why I want to know if an author has a broader perspective to writing as a career, or whether it begins and ends with one book.

Back to our point today.

It is very important for authors to be self-aware of the core message which permeates everything they do. In the Christian publishing world, because an author might be writing about huge, eternal, infinite things, they actually might become quite unfocused in their work if not aware how God directs them as believers, giving them a unique message, often based on their personal faith-life and spiritual giftedness.

Arriving at a successful core “message platform” is of paramount importance before you go too far. An effective author platform is always a mix of consistency and creativity. It is not simply collecting names, so you can advertise your book.

If your book is about developing a deeper walk with God, then maybe the content for platform building is a regular weekly devotional tracking along with your own walk.

If your book contains practical advice for an aspect of living, then for sure, you can apply certain practical principles to a wide variety of additional situations.

If your book is a Bible study on a certain section of Scripture, then use the same study approach to unpack another section.

Even novelists have certain recurring themes permeating their stories. Write about those themes, applied to real-life situations.

If you are an author desirous of successfully publishing multiple books over a period of time, logic would lead one to believe you have multiple concepts to draw on.

Everything you know should not be in your book. Save some for your second, or third book…and your platform.

A significant difference between an author who self-publishes and one working with an agent in the traditional market is the agented/traditional approach will require the author be more focused or “branded” as an author, sticking to the core message, something creativity often fights.

Being known for something is an effective way to increase sales for any kind of author, whether self-published or traditional, rather than simply writing whatever comes to mind.

Public speaking is a key part of the author’s platform-building. The most effective author-speakers stick to their core message, but bring new examples, new applications, additional insights and stories, along with some material from their book. Then, when it is time to mention their book for sale at the back table, potential buyers know it will add to, organize and remind them of what they heard from the author in person. When you speak, don’t put everything from your book into the public presentation.

Effective platforms complement and augment the messages found in an author’s book and visa versa.

 

 

Leave a Comment

Getting Started in Social Media

Actually, the title was a bit of click-bait to entice aspiring authors and platform builders to open this post. Sorry. Getting started in social media is not a problem. It’s as simple as 1-2-3 and grade school children around the world do it every day. If you are having trouble …

Read More

Books are Not Mass Media

A hundred years ago, the most powerful media in the world were newspapers. Newspaper writers and editors were society’s thought-leaders and political kingmakers. The day-to-day influence of a major newspaper was unchallenged, no matter what city or country. They were the first truly mass media, defined as broadly available to …

Read More

We Need More Reader Segments

In the bookselling world, books are categorized with a coding system developed by a collaborative industry organization called the Book Industry Study Group (BISG). They own and manage the BISAC codes, an acronym for “Book Industry Standards and Communications.” No matter how you are published, you will be required to …

Read More

How Do I Grow My Market?

I work with a ministry that self-publishes its own books. These are posted on our website, displayed at ministry-related conferences, and mentioned to donors via print and email. How can we expand our market? It depends. (For those of you following this blog regularly, I hope that made you smile.) …

Read More

Life Hands You A Platform

Every writer’s conference or gathering includes at least one presentation about developing or maintaining an author-marketing platform. Social Media, public speaking, blogging, newsletters…everything working together to establish and support your personalized and unique author “brand.” This agency and other publishing blogs address various elements of the issue on a regular …

Read More

How to be a Woman?

This will be our last trip down Memory Lane for a while. I hope you have fun with today’s post and think about how your female characters live. We’re bombarded with ads today and we were yesterday, too. How to be a woman? I was trying to figure all of …

Read More

Marketing to Him and Her

How do you market your books? Do you tend to market them to men or women? Obviously we want everyone to read our books, but many naturally fall into a female/male divide. With the exception of books with “Women” or “Men” in the title, I don’t see today’s book marketing …

Read More