What’s an Author Platform?

author-platform-smWho knew that the writing part of the self-publishing game would be the easy part? Writing a full-length novel is a popular item on many a bucket list and it wasn’t that long ago that this remained one of the items unchecked when finally kicking the proverbial pail. Swimming with dolphins and running a marathon have typically had better odds for getting accomplished.

But with the advent of digital self-publishing and its subsequent explosion all that has changed. Independent authors are releasing new works at a staggering rate with some authors publishing a novel every 1-3 months. I’ll never be in that league, but it’s certainly a message that I need to pick up the pace.

Of course, with so many eBooks in the Amazon Kindle Store, it’s next to impossible to get noticed.

To make matters worse, if you don’t sell at a healthy clip, then your book will sink to the bottommost depths. What’s required in order to achieve visibility is to actively promote your work. That and have a significant backlist. These two points are hammered home on a daily basis on the self-publishing forums and blogs.

Promotion encompasses a wide variety of strategies and when you factor them all in, from social media to giveaways to paid promotions, it becomes overwhelming in a hurry. Promotion used to be something that was handled by a traditional publishing house – provided they deemed you worthy of the effort and expense. Indie authors are completely on their own in all aspects of publishing. It’s the “self” and “indie” parts in full evidence.

The foundation for these promotion strategies begins with the book listings on Amazon and other eBook sites and the corresponding author profile pages associated with them. From here, it quickly branches out to social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and all the rest.

For now, I’ve decided to leave social media alone and place my focus on this blog. I think it holds the best chance of connecting with prospective readers and as a result, I’ve decided to make it the cornerstone of my author platform. The other pieces, such as a Facebook page, can be added in later if I develop a following that warrants a dedicated page (the term “following” makes me cringe – conjures up images of a cult).

Why do I think a blog makes the most sense?

Well, since I’m attempting to get you interested in reading what I write, I think drawing you in with my blog posts should be a start. Sure, you can sample the “Look Inside” feature of my books on Amazon, and I recommend that you do that, but blogging provides an author with the opportunity to stretch out and delve further into topics treated in his/her books. It’s also a way for you to get to know my writing style, and hopefully, get a feel for my sense of humor. It’s not for everyone.

One thing I don’t want this blog to be about is writing and the self-publishing industry.

There are enough blogs and websites on these topics for those who are interested. I think those interested in reading my books most likely aren’t interested in the publishing business. That’s not to say that I won’t on occasion wax philosophic on the process of writing or share my views on the self-publishing industry, but they will be few and far between. Book and movie reviews are another story and I hope to share the ones I feel you may be interested in.

The emphasis will be on technology-related issues and trends, but I’m certainly not limiting myself to this area. Though my Sudoku Player series has a political backdrop, I’m not interested in promoting my political views here or in my books for that matter. That’s an area that ends badly for everyone. I believe we’re all in this together regardless of whatever mess we find ourselves in, regardless of who is to blame. There’s more to be gained from cooperation than from contention. I suppose I just let one of my political beliefs slip. My apologies, it won’t happen again – promise.

I look forward to seeing where my writing takes me. I also look forward to gaining readers – one reader at a time. Yep, it’s a slow process and I’ve got my work cut out for me.

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