Hi, I’m Brit from Thriving Scribes and I help indie fiction authors bring together the mindset and strategy to build a thriving author career.
Oh, the elusive author platform. Some will tell you it’s absolutely necessary to achieve author success and others will tell you not to bother building one. So which one is it and what is all the hype about? I’ll get to that in a minute but first, let’s cover the basics.
What is an author platform?
Your author platform consists of the variety of ways that you use to connect with, engage with, and nurture your audience (or readership). It allows you space to share ideas and news, communicate with your readership, and market your books. But the thing is, no author’s platform is going to look identical to others because we all have different goals and different preferences.
Your author platform consists of the variety of ways that you use to connect with, engage with, and nurture your audience.
So let's drill down into the different pieces of the author platform. I like to use this graphic here to explain the author platform.
The Author Platform Cupcake
The Pieces Of an author platform
The Base - Your Author Website
Down at the bottom, you’ll see the cake - that’s your author website. This is the core of your platform - it’s like your home "base"... get it? Like a cupcake base? 100% pure, undiluted YOU. A website offers you a place to:
- showcase your fictional creations
- create that professional online persona
- build landing pages to offer lead magnets, get email list sign-ups, host giveaways and marketing campaigns
- offer fun, interactive book extras for your fans
- sell book swag, signed reader copies, or even other products or services
- utilize SEO (aka make Google your bestie)
- .... and so much more.
The Icing - Your Email List
Then you move up to the icing. That’s your email list! I call this the sweet spot because this is where you really want your readers to end up. Email marketing can be extremely lucrative and valuable both for your author brand. I always say that if absolutely nothing else, an author should have these two things - a website and email list.
The Sprinkles - Social Media
Okay, feeling hungry yet? We aren’t done yet - next up is social media. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Tik Tok. Sprinkle in a couple of platforms done really well and you'll have yourself a solid place to connect with your audience and stay top-of-mind with engaging content. Big perk here, Facebook opens you up to the possibilities of social media ads and reader groups.
The downfall, these platforms can be time-consuming + overwhelming when you are trying to do too many or you don't have a solid game-plan. My advice? Start with the one that appeals to you the most, perfect your workflow and strategy there before moving on to adding another into the mix.
The Cherry On Top - Other Platforms
Finally, we have those other guys - you know, like Wattpad, Bookbub, Patreon, Goodreads, etc. These can be the cherry on top when it comes to marketing campaigns, reaching new potential readers, and nurturing a pre-existing fan base. But some people like cherries and others toss them in the trash before digging into their yummy treat.
Is an author platform essential?
So is an author platform totally essential as an author?
Valuable? Yes, yes, yes.
As I mentioned earlier, at bare minimum I think authors should have a website and email list.
Beyond that, deciding what you do and don’t do for your platforms depends on a few things:
- The types of marketing avenues you want available to you
- How much influence you wish to wield
- The level of visibility and engagement you wish to leverage
- The deepness of connection you wish to share with your readers
Once you get clarity around those answers, then you can begin deciding on a plan for your platform and how to best utilize it.
If you want to dig into some more great tips, definitely go join the Thriving Scribes Resource Library. It’s got lots of free goodies to help you thrive in authorship including my author platform quick-start guide, a mini-course that will help you get started setting up your author platform starting from ground zero!
I hope this helped put your author platform in context for you. If you’d like to learn more about creating a content strategy for your author platform, then click on the video in the top corner for a free training all about developing a killer author platform content strategy. If you like this video please give it a thumbs up and subscribe to my channel and I will see you next time. I'm always rooting for you bye.