Last week in my Thanksgiving post, I mentioned working on my author platform. Since I am often asked how I sell my books, I decided to write a post about my author platform and how I promote (or how I should promote) my books.
I love to write and enjoy creating a fictional story, but the rest of my job as an author is not easy, and I’m not good at it. My latest novel, The Fisherman’s Daughter went on sale four weeks ago, and at first, sales were good, but lately, they have dwindled. I know sales have fallen because I have not been promoting the novel as I should. My excuse, and it is not a good one, is I’ve been exhausted. As we neared the end of the season at our lodge, I only had enough energy to work with nothing left over for writing or promotion.
According to my publisher, I should dedicate at least two hours a day to social media. Lately, I have fallen one hour and fifty-five minutes per day short of this goal. I also have not “advertised” my book in any other way. In today’s market where thousands of books are published every day, it is not easy for an author to find readers. There are, however, scores of “promoters” ready to tweet about an author’s book to the masses for a fee (and sometimes a hefty fee). I have fallen for some of these offers, and they did not work. If an author wants to find readers, she must reach out and approach them one at a time.
An author’s platform is a way an author attracts dedicated readers. A platform consists of a website, a blog with frequent posts, and a newsletter where an author can contact a prospective reader through his or her e-mail inbox. The platform also includes social media, such as an author’s page on Facebook, a presence on LinkedIn, an active Twitter account, a Pinterest board, Instagram, Google +, Goodreads, etc. The platform also includes non-internet activity such as book signings, speaking engagements, and other appearances where an author talks about her books. The platform can also include many other things, but this gives you an idea of the basics.
I have a website and a blog, and I post frequently, I also have an e-mail newsletter. I am on social media, but I do not post as often as I should, and I am not active in the social media groups I have joined. I don’t usually have two hours a day to spend on social media, and if I did spend that much time on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, I’d never find time to write.
Unfortunately, while the number of brick and mortar bookstores decreases, the number of books being published increases. More than one million books are published in the U.S. each year, and it is impossible for a new author to get her book into a store without the backing of a large publishing agency. Most authors I know are not great at promoting themselves or their work. We want to write not sell.
I will keep working on my author platform, and maybe I’ll get better at self-promotion. My publisher is currently encouraging me to work on a webinar about how I became a published author. It’s a fun project, and I’m excited to work on it. I’m not sure how I will use it to sell books, but I’ll let you know when it’s done, so you can take a look at it and tell me what you think.
I’ll continue my salmon posts next week when I write about king salmon biology. My fish posts have been popular, and I love the opportunity to dive into each species and learn as much as I can about it. Learning about fish is so much more fun than selling books!
Please sign up for my newsletter so I can put another brick on my author platform!