Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BUILD YOUR PLATFORM PART ONE By Rita Karnopp


Today there’s an art to writing and an art to self-promotion.  When you start writing a book, it’s the time to start promoting it.

You start a book, develop it, and finally finish it.  Promoting your book should develop one day at a time, too.  Your platform should embrace all the means we make ourselves visible to readers. Do you need a platform?  YES.  It might seem overwhelming at first, but start by putting yourself out there with small steps.  Before you know it, you’ll have built a strong, solid platform for your work.
So, if you aspire to be read and well-known launch your platform into action.
1. Your readers - What kind of readers do you want to connect with?  Make a list of all the types of readers you want to connect with.  Also list those people who have bought your books and have been supportive in the past.  This will be the seed to a growing solid list you’ll build from. 
2. Google Alerts - (google.com/alerts) can help you become widespread in only a few clicks. Set up alerts to notify you when your name, articles, book(s), Twitter handle, site URL and/or specialty topics pop up online. When you’re alerted to people promoting your ‘platform,’ reach out and thank them.
3. Social network – Keep in touch with follow writers and friends in your field whom you admire.  Be aware of the shifty, clingy or people who aren’t concerned with content – they just love being online all the time. Don’t promote or forward the causes of anyone online who you wouldn’t in regular life.  Take the time to get to know people; it’s your reputation on the line.
4. Who is your competition?  Use search engine ‘keywords’ connected with what you write about.  Who pops up on the radar?  Study the competition. What are they doing better than you and what can you learn from them?
5. Your bio - Write a brief bio to ‘introduce you’ wherever your name appears online. Include your website, email address, publisher addy, professional experience, publications (online and off), self-published works and professional connections.
6. Pictures say it all - Display online photos of yourself doing what you do. Post shots of you writing in your office, at book signings, speaking at conferences, workshops, and even doing research. 
7. Invest in yourself – It does take money to build a platform.  Make the most of the resources and tools you already have.  Take time to post an ad or affiliate link on your website or blog.
8. Plan an event - Plan an event with a time limit (like one week only, or 30 days). Create an exciting environment surrounding the genre you write.  Draw in your readers and encourage them to interact with one another.  Be loyal to your fans and they will be loyal to you and keep coming back for more.
9. It’s free – Correlate an item that coincides with your book (genre) and give it away for free.  I write Indian historicals and did a giveaway drawing for a dream catcher I made. People love free.
10. Write-down your ideas – We get new ideas at the most unexpected times.  Reading will give us ideas, a movie, magazine, a conversation, or even in a dream.  You tell yourself you’re going to remember it – and then all you remember is thinking you’ll remember it!  You must get in the habit of writing your ideas down.  Carry a small notebook in your purse and make sure you keep a flashlight and pad and pencil by your bedside.  Spend time brain-storming ideas and jotting them down into your notebook.
11.  Don’t reinvent the wheel – Articles and blogs you’ve already written should be redistributed to new outlets.  There is always a ‘new’ place for old writing – make it work for you all over again.
12. Do reviews – If you take the time to read a book – take the time to do a review.  Post your review on sites like GoodReads, Amazon.com and Red Room. Singing the praises of your all-time favorites will get your name out there too.
13. Involve your readers – We all like a little fun and with a reward . . . how fun is that?   Get your reader to respond to a photo, clue or game, or create a fun riddle.  If they answer – enter them in a drawing for a free book, calendar, or signed postcard.  
14. Always respond - It only takes a couple of minutes to reply to those who took time to comment on your blog. Thank people who enter contests.  It’s worth your while to spend a little time with those who’ve gone out of their way to connect with you.  Bottom line – it’s great to make new friends.
15. Do you want a partnerships?  Is there someone out there you’d love to form a partnership with?  They won’t know unless you ask.  Like Ginger did when she asked if I’d like to partner-up her on Dishin’ it Out.  I was totally surprised, honored, and excited!   There should be no strings attached — but real partnerships should be equally beneficial with both participants gaining something specific.  Who would you like to be partner with?  Reach out to them.

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