In my last article, “What’s the next step, Sophie,” I shared the importance of updating your profile(s) and creating an Author Page at authorcentral.amazon.com, whether or not your book is ready to launch or has been published. Just in case you have not created your Author Page at AuthorCentral, here are a few excellent examples from two of my favorite authors: Joanna Penn and Mike Wells.
As you will discover, your Author Page will be a great place to let your readers see your authentic self, view your latest Tweets, read your most recent blog posts, and a perfect place to display all your books.
BUILDING YOUR PLATFORM
Once you create your place in the author’s market, here’s the next step and something you can work on now and over time to prepare for your future and marketing successes. I believe this is one of the most important steps in building your foundation: your platform. This is your rich supply of Potential Readers!
Potential Readers – Email Contacts
If you are like me, you have created several email accounts over the years: your personal account (family, friends, acquaintances), maybe one designated for your educational pursuits (professors and colleagues), and/or maybe one for your business (which I may refrain from including, unless you have known your clients for a long time).
Task: Go through your list of contacts and clean them up. Eliminate contacts that you no long want to be connected with – I’m serious. You are cleaning up your contacts in order to create a quality database. You will be sending a short, personal introduction with a link to view your book.
You may have another list with names and addresses but no email address. No problem. Postcards come in handy, and you can make some really nice looking ones on your own computer or with the help of a copy center. There are some great design and printing resources online to promote your book with a quick note.
Potential Readers – Collected Business Cards
I knew someone who wallpapered his bathroom with all the business cards he had collected over the years. Business cards are nuggets of gold. If you have a business card from someone, the two of you must have made a connection. Do you think you might have said in the course of your conversation that you were writing a book? If not, from now on, when you meet someone, you need to tell them you are a writer, even if you are in another line of work ~ most of us have a couple of gigs going on at the same time.
Task: Create a database for yourself. When you send your friends and acquaintances a personalized email (or a letter, which might get more attention) to inform them that you wrote a book that you want them to take a look at, it would be beneficial if you could recall your conversation and/or where the two of you met. If not, just be honest: ”We met a while back and you gave me your business card. I don’t remember if I told you I was writing a book. Well, I finally published it! I would like you to check it out online at Amazon.com and tell me what you think. You can view the first 10 pages of my book [title of book] without obligation. Hope you enjoy it! Sincerely, [you].”
Potential Readers – Social Media and Person-to-Person
We are so lucky to be a part of social media opportunities as authors. I’ll mention this, but I don’t think I have to: Twitter, Facebook, Linked-In, Pinterest, and your own blog sites are only a few “store fronts” where you can let people know about your book and maybe more important, your authentic self. Sometimes people will buy a book because they like the author and not just because of the subject or the book’s cover.
But what will you do when you happen to meet someone in the coffee line and they strike up a conversation with you. Think about how many people you know, people you see everyday on your way to work or errands, people at the gym or on the golf course? They are just acquaintances (or familiar strangers) and you do not necessarily have their email or home address. If these people are frequenting places where you go, you must have at least one thing in common. They might even like your self-published book . . . if they knew about it.
What you need is something unobtrusive that you can give to them, if the opportunity arises. For my latest book, TWO of US, I designed a mini introduction to my book with my Company name on the back. If you created a cover for your book, then designing a business card will be a cinch! My business card serves two purposes: it promotes my book and directs others to my website (here), so they can learn the tools they need to become writers-publishers-authors. [NOTE: The business card below was created by myself, online, at VistaPrint.]
Just this morning, I was walking towards my local cafe when someone called out to me and asked, “Did you ever finish your book?” I walked over to him and proudly replied, “Yes, I did,” as I handed him my business card. ”Wow, congratulations!” my cafe acquaintance replied.
Well, it looks like the teacher in me just gave you some more homework! But I know you will enjoy the next few steps and the results of your hard work. Enjoy the process!