The answer is yes. Every author should have an author platform if they hope to sell books, whether that is now or in the future.
But what is an author platform?
In simple terms, and I use simple terms so I can understand it, it’s how visible you are to readers.
Can you be found on social media?
Do you have a website?
Do you write a blog?
All of those things are your author platform. They are what you use to promote yourself, and your books.
Does that mean I need to be on every social media platform out there?
No. So, don’t panic!
Choose the platforms that work best for you and that you’re comfortable using. For instance, I have my website, which has a blog that I’ll post weekly to, and a monthly newsletter. In addition to that I am on Instagram consistently, and to a lesser extent Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. I am trying to use those three more, but so far, I have found Instagram to be the most beneficial and people tend to engage more on there.
Okay, great, so I get on Instagram or Twitter and tell people to buy my book. Sounds easy!
NO. I beg of you, do not do that!
That is a sure-fire way to lose followers and quite frankly, annoy everyone. I was following someone on Twitter a few years ago who only ever tweeted about their book. It got so annoying that I had to unfollow, and I don’t do that often.
Obviously you need to use these platforms to promote your book, but give your followers more than ‘buy my book’ posts. Share insights into your writing process, tell people what you’re reading or recommend books you’ve read in the past, give them a hint of who you are as a person as well as a writer. Show a little personality, and once people connect with you, and see a post that piques their interest, they’re far more likely to buy your books and continue following you.
Now, if you’re thinking you should wait until you have a book out before you begin growing your platform, I urge you to start growing that platform now. I didn’t and it’s one of my big regrets. I was clueless when I first started and had no clue an author platform was even a thing. I look back at myself and can only shake my head at my naivety. But I learned from my mistake and am building that platform as we speak. And yes, it takes time away from writing, however it’s time that’s well spent.
Building your platform won’t happen overnight so don’t get down on yourself if your following doesn’t increase straight away. Be consistent and it will grow.