An author platform is a crucial part of any author’s marketing plan, particularly if you’re self-publishing a book. This platform might be a website with a mailing list, a strong social media presence, or a combination of both. Either way, a platform allows those who are invested in and excited by your work to keep tabs on your latest projects. It’s a particularly great way to nail those crucial early book sales!
This means your platform should be designed not only to entice new readers, but also to engage with existing ones. Growth may not come in the form of a rising follower count, but you might find your current audience becomes more interested in you and your work through interactions.
However, it takes a little more creativity than you’d think to build a strong fanbase. With that in mind, we’re here to look at some more unusual and fun ways to make the most of your platform as an author—whether you’re a debut or a veteran author, here are some tactics you may not have tried before.
In 2021, using social media is no longer an unconventional marketing strategy. Luckily, with the growth of platforms like Instagram and TikTok over the past couple of years, new ways to build an intriguing, accessible image for yourself as an author are constantly emerging.
Labeled the last wholesome place on the internet, “BookTok” is one of the latest and rapidly growing corners of TikTok, the short-form video sharing app that’s predicted to hit 1.2 billion users in 2021. Users post videos about all things bookish—reviews, reading habits, favorite book aesthetics, and so much more.
Some of the most popular genres within BookTok are fantasy, romance, and YA. If you’re writing in one or more of these niches, you can tap into the platform by producing relevant content about your own books and how you came to write them. Share your thoughts on other books in your genre as well, or pay tribute to a BookTok meme by making your version of it — the possibilities are endless!
With interactive approaches like this, you build fan loyalty and you might just unlock a whole new readership. Keep that principle of interactivity in mind throughout your marketing efforts and you should do just fine.
2. Other media ventures
If you can provide real value to readers via your author platform—aside from showcasing your brilliant books—then you’ll build up a great level of trust between you and them. And we’re not just talking about blog posts or short stories; there are a whole host of other media ventures you could try out to improve your reach.
Online course platforms like Udemy and Skillshare have seen exponential growth throughout the pandemic, with people making use of their extra time by learning new skills or starting new hobbies. If you’re a nonfiction writer, creating an online course on the topic of your book is a great way to introduce it to new readers and demonstrate your authority in the field.
Similarly, if you write fiction and think you have some share-worthy insight into the process, you could design your own online creative writing class. Your readers may be fascinated by your process, while the writers who find the course first will grow interested in your books when you use them as examples while teaching!
Hosting a podcast is another way to diversify your reach and show readers what you have to offer before they commit to buying your book. You can talk about anything—though it should be relevant to your genre, subject matter, or themes in some way (think book reviews and book club discussions). You also could read out some original short stories, or even the first chapter of your book if you’re a novelist.
As with an online course, a podcast is a good space for a nonfiction author to introduce some of the topics of their books, or discuss other subjects that their target audience may be curious about. And in terms of interactivity, it doesn’t get any better than inviting fun guests onto your podcast, answering questions from fans, and giving shoutouts to fellow readers and writers!
Actively networking as an author can help make writing a less solitary process, as well as open you up to new marketing opportunities. With a lot of the world shifting towards online spaces, networking is only getting easier. Here are two tactics that are definitely worth your time.
Collaborate with other authors
Cross-promoting with other authors in your genre (especially those who have similar-sized followings to yours, as they’re typically game) can be a great way to introduce yourself to new readers. Think about where you’ll find the freshest audience while still catering to relevant readers—if you’re based in the US, for example, you could try reaching out to a UK author.
Make sure to suggest a newsletter swap where you’ll both mention each other’s books in your newsletters. Both of you should express genuine interest in and endorsement of these books, so that your newsletter subscribers feel there is value to the swap. This makes your link-sprinkling feel natural and trustworthy.
Reach out to influencers
We’ve already spoken about the impact of having your own social media platforms, but reaching out to influencers with larger followings than yourself could also really boost your visibility. Do your research and reach out to people whose audiences you genuinely believe would enjoy or benefit from your book. Strike up a conversation and tell the influencer what you enjoy about their work (more interactivity).
You could even offer to send them a free copy of your book. If they like it enough to review it, great! If not, you’ve made a new connection with someone you might be able to work with in the future. And if you don’t want to overwhelm them, try sending just a sample chapter first—this, hopefully, will get them absorbed enough to read the whole thing.
Marketing your book is no walk in the park, but with these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a stronger author platform and getting your books into the hands of all the right people.