Phyllis Zimbler Miller holds an MBA from The Wharton School and is the author of Mrs. Lieutenant (www.mrslieutenant.com).
You can visit her Internet business consulting website here.
In this post, Phyllis graciously offers words of advice to authors regarding building your platform.
Welcome, Phyllis! What do you think is the most important pre-publication step an author should take?
The number one pre-publication step you must do is build your platform. What does this mean? Book agents and editors will ask how big is your target market – how many potential fans you already have.
In the “old” days this meant doing activities such as writing a newspaper column and then trying to get the column syndicated so that you could reach a national audience. That meant getting people to say yes to your writing.
Today you have only to turn on your Internet connection to start connecting nationally (and internationally) with your target market.
Now building an author platform isn’t quite as easy as I just made it sound. You do have to put in the effort to learn how to effectively use major social media opportunities – such as Twitter, Facebook fan pages, LinkedIn, videos, your own website/blog. Once you know how to utilize these social media opportunities, you need to implement a strategy to develop your platform while not eating up all your writing time.
Blogging is especially ideal for writers because we write. If you’re a nonfiction author, it’s pretty clear what you’ll write about – the subjects of your nonfiction books. If you’re a fiction author, it might not be as clear.
What’s important when using social media such as Twitter is to understand that your primary reason for being there is NOT to promote your book (even when it is published). Your primary reason is to share worthwhile information with the Twitter community so that you become a valued member of that community. If you accomplish this, people will be interested in what you are doing.
Please do not be discouraged when you first start out on social media sites. In many ways it is like learning a foreign language. At first you don’t understand anything. Slowly you begin to pick up words and expression. Then voila! Finally you are conversant.
I’m willing to predict that -- for those of you who put in the time and effort to learn how you can share information on social media sites in order to build your book platform – you will be grateful you did.
FYI -- Age is no excuse. I started learning social media techniques when I was over 60. It depends on your mindset – I was determined to learn these techniques to promote my novel “Mrs. Lieutenant.” If you are determined to help your book get published and then purchased by readers, you’ll be able to do this.
And you don’t have to do everything at once. As the saying goes, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”
© 2010 Miller Mosaic, LLC
Through her internet consulting business, Phyllis has created several free resources regarding social media. For information about blogging, you can sign up for her free blogging report at www.FictionMarketing.com (at this site you can also see an example of having a website BEFORE your manuscript is finished)
For basic information about how to integrate your website, Facebook Fanpage and twitter account, you can sign up for her free report "Twitter, Facebook and Your Website: A Beginning Blueprint for Harnessing the Power of 3 for Your Business at www.MillerMosaicPowerof3.com
You can also follow Phyllis on twitter at: @zimblermiller