Step One of Building Your Author Platform

By Sue Campbell

There is SO much confusion — and straight up misinformation — around the topic of book marketing. Every week it seems there’s some tactic that’s supposed to sell a bazillon books but when you try it...nothing much happens. It makes it hard to know where to focus your marketing time and energy, doesn’t it? Kinda makes you want to give up on marketing altogether and just worry about writing your books, huh?

Here’s the thing, you need a marketing strategy, not just a set of random tactics. Any tactics you end up choosing should directly serve that strategy.

And your strategy needs to be proven to work for selling books -- not for selling toothpaste, dog food or girl scout cookies.

Here’s what sells books: building long-lasting connections with readers and then keeping in touch with those readers in a way that delights them. That’s a strategy.

So, you may have heard what I’m about to tell you before, but not known how important it was because it was getting lost among all the noise about tactics.

You need to create and grow an email list.

A list of subscribers is by far the best method for keeping in touch with fans in a way that will eventually, gloriously, drive book sales. All your marketing efforts should go into growing your list and keeping up your relationship with all the good folks on that list.

“But how do I grow my list?” you may ask. There are many ways to do that, but the steps below are a great way to start. Do step one and then keep on repeating step two. For your entire career.

  1. Create a great lure. Give away great content in exchange for someone forking over their email address. A great signup bonus would be a digital copy of your book, an illustrated set of character sketches, a discussion guide, that kind of thing. Something of obvious value; too many authors rely on the banal “get the first chapter of my latest book!” and it just doesn’t work anymore.

  2. Borrow someone else’s audience. Find someone who has the kind of fans you want, then partner with them somehow so you can get in front of their audience. Go on a podcast, write a guest post, do a reading with another author. Then offer that audience your great sign-up bonus.

“But what do I do once I have a list”? is your next question. That’s easy.  Do what you do best: create something worth seeing and reading! Send them snippets of your work in progress, stories that inspire you, book recommendations, interesting research you encountered while doing your work...you get the idea. Make it about delighting your audience, not about tooting your own horn, and you’ll soon have a devoted following eager to buy your book when it’s ready -- and they’ll be just an email away.


Have more questions about author platforms? Get a free 30-minute consultation and we’ll get you some answers.