I remember attending a writer’s conference where the agent I was pitching stated debut authors needed a platform, even for fiction, in their proposal. She said if a query piqued her interest, she’d google the author’s name to see what came up. If there was hardly anything, she’d think long and hard before asking to see more of their book. And, she said editors do the same thing.
Yikes. I didn’t have anything up. I thought that all came after the book deal.
First thing do to is establish yourself as a professional writer. I recommend starting a Facebook page as a writer, not a profile, but a page. Announce to people that you are a writer and believe it!
Do the same with your Twitter account. Don’t have one, here’s my post on How to Effectively Use Twitter for Authors.
You need a website. Don’t panic. There are plenty of free sites that can provide you with a website. I use wordpress.com You don’t have to start a blog yet, though I would recommend it later. You can simply have an about page and a contact page. You can check out my about page here for ideas. Visit your favorite author sites to see what you like and don’t like.
Now, you’ve got these pages up, but what do you do with them. Here’s where it get’s a little bit harder. You need to figure out who your target audience is. You’ll need this for your book proposal, so now is a good time to start on it.
Who will be interested in your books? If you’re writing inspirational fiction, then you’ve already got a faith element. Christians are interested in your books. If you’re writing historical, then what time period? What groups of people or hobbies would go along with this?
This is just scratching the surface. Go deep with this. I recommend making a list of possible interests. Now, you can write some guest posts to blogs targeting this area. Tweet and share Facebook links with articles written by other people on these subjects.
Ask questions on Facebook and Twitter. If you’re coming up with a name for a new character, list two and have people vote.
You are well on your way to establishing a platform.
What ideas or tips do you have to make your platform even more effective? How often do spend social networking? Should you be engaging even more?