Expanding your Author Platform

This morning, I was reviewing the status of my stories when I realized they needed improvement. In other words, I need to expand my author platform. As I was lying in bed (where I do most of my thinking), I kept thinking of ways to improve my presence online. So far, I have a following on WordPress and Wattpad, but I need more if I plan to reach a wider audience. The only problem is I don’t have time to manage all these social media sites. I’ve tried twitter, but that’s either hit or miss.

Author-Platform

(image was taken from http://authorstash.com)

So, I was thinking, maybe I could try something new. I’m sure a lot of us out there have tried Facebook, Instagram, and other story writing sites with little to no success; however, has anyone tried Youtube?

Yes! I’ve decided to start uploading videos to Youtube about my stories and offer some writing advice. For a while, I was trying to make my own book trailers, but they weren’t that good. Once I have time, I plan to pick up creating videos again. Doesn’t it suck when there are so many things you want to learn, and you don’t have time for eveything?

Has anyone tried the YouTube approach? Did you get more people following you and reading your stories?

Currently, my author platform includes:

WordPress

Wattpad

Fanfiction.net

FictionPress

Like another blogger pointed, many of these sites are hit and miss. On Wattpad, I can post messages to my followers, and I’ve noticed other writers doing the same thing, but many times only a few or no readers will respond. It’s almost like messaging ghosts lol

As for fanfiction.net and fictionpress, you can’t mass message your readers. Both fanfiction and fictionpress have old layouts and aren’t really the best websites for posting. However, even though they are old, you can still get some readers on them. Especially, on fanfiction.net if you post fanfiction.

Even with posting on all those sites, I still don’t think I’ve reached a lot of readers. Well, will see if posting videos on Youtube helps at all. And of course, I’ll post the videos to my blog. Fyi, most of the videos will be me talking and texting. I’m too shy to show my face.  I’m excited to embark on this new project, though!

Also, what sites does your author platform consist of and how would you improve it?

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16 thoughts on “Expanding your Author Platform

  1. Author platform is more than just where people can find you. Smashwords isn’t really a social media outlet. It’s where you can publish your stories and have them distributed to retailers, if you format them correctly according to their guidelines.

    For me, I have WordPress as my main site (which has an official domain that routes to it to keep me connected with the WordPress network), twitter, and instagram are my primary social media. Twitter is hit and miss, but I have most of my twitter stuff automated. Instagram has been the most fruitful, but it comes with its share of troubles. After almost two years, I’m growing faster every day. I’m not exactly active on Goodreads, but my information is the same. My books are still being downloaded by the dozens. That being said, YouTube is a relatively untapped resource for writers. I’ve considered it, but instagram is time consuming enough.

    Finally, it brings me back to the rest of the platform. You need a “look”. A cohesive design that’s reflective across every place you have an account. If you change your bio or tagline, or even your profile picture, it should be the same everywhere. People should recognize you wherever you are.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I forgot that Smashwords is a publishing website. I edited my post to reflect that.

      Hmm, that is interesting. How are your sites automated? I haven’t used Instagram yet, but other authors told me it’s a good way of connecting with their readers. I know you post pictures on it, but other than that, I don’t know anything else.

      I know I tell you this almost time, but it’s great you’ve been successful. I do agree that YouTube is an untapped resource for writers; however, I have seen writers post videos about their books and writing tips. I’m hoping that somehow I’ll get some followers for my channel that may check out my books.

      Ah, I have definitely heard the “look” has to be the same across all accounts. Thanks so much for responding to me! Your words are always so helpful, and I can only hope that one day I’ll be successful like you^^

      I’ll work on editing all my accounts so they look the same.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, it depends on what you want people to see about you. If there are authors you admire or that influence you as you’ve grown, try looking at their sites and social media, take notes on what you like and don’t like, etc. Then develop your own “look”. Mine is more of a minimalist, organic feel, with a twinge of darkness. And my tagline reflects that. People are more interested in what else I have to offer if I’m not blasting it around that I have books available. But that’s me. Most authors don’t do that. So I realize my situation is a little bit unique. If I were to have, say, a site devoted to my fiction universe, I would have banners, some teasers, character introductions, etc. that mimic the feel and theme of my books. But for now, I don’t need them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sometimes expanding your author platform doesn’t necessarily mean trying other platforms, but maximizing the potential of the existing ones that seem to work for you. I have stories on Fanfiction.net but there’s practically no engagement there now that I no longer write fanfiction, so there’s no reason for me to post anything there. Wattpad has been good to me even though I do take breaks from there by not posting stories for months at a time but I’m glad to see the same readers show up when I do.

    I’ve seen writers go on Youtube and do well while some fizzle and disappear after realizing it takes more than just a phone camera to post something online. You have to have some sort of a script, a way to edit your work, and make it interesting. Some successful Youtube creators then go to Patreon which is another platform that now allows them to make money as a creator – but again, it’s not for everyone, yet I have seen people succeed at it. I’ve seen some writers really do well on Reddit as well, which is a mystery to me. Other platforms out there are Snapchat and Periscope (I’m more partial to Periscope because I love seeing how other people go about their days live) and of course, Facebook, especially now that there’s Facebook Live.

    It’s about deciding which one works well with you without spreading yourself too thin that you’re scrambling each day to figure out what content goes where and when. Automating like Sarah says works and there are tools to do that like Buffer, Hootsuite and Publish.

    For me, there’s only so many hours in the day with a six-year-old kid to entertain for the summer and books to write and promote, so I stick to my blog, Twitter, a bit of Facebook, a bit of Instagram, and my newsletter. The newsletter is my main platform. All the others can go away or start charging you to use their services while keeping all the reader info, but when readers willingly subscribe to your newsletters, that right there is your platform. You don’t have a middleman. It’s you directly communicating to them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, that is very true! I can honestly say I haven’t tried to maximize my use of WordPress yet. When I was Wattpad, I tried to be very active in the community, and I even started a Skype group with other fantasy writers, but none of it helped me to get readers for my stories. After I saw all my efforts were in vain, I decided to stop putting so much time into it.
      I’m planning out ideas for my YouTube videos now, but I don’t have high hopes that things will easily work out. I know building up yourself on YouTube is like a job in itself. Hmm, I’ve heard about writers doing well on Reddit, too. I’m surprised about that because just being on Reddit scares me.

      Oh, I know what you mean. Between having a day job, writing and reading, I don’t have a lot of time to promote, either. There just isn’t enough hours in the day > <

      Thanks for the advice, Liz. I honestly don’t know what the best course of action is in this sense. It’s been a rough week for me. I’m almost at the point where I just want to delete my blog and Wattpad account. I haven’t seen any benefits to having either of them.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If you’re just building your author platform, focus on just a few at first and strengthen that. I honestly didn’t have a lot of followers for a long time on Wattpad when I started, and also on WordPress, on my poetry blog, but I still keep on writing my stories on WP and my poetry on my blog and people still read and interact. Now, I write on my author blog each week and readership is growing. You can’t attach expectations too much on these things because it’s just another tool in your toolbox, but you’re the one wielding them. Just keep writing and focus on your stories, if that’s what you want to do and keep writing on your blog here since your readership is growing, and that’s the key word there – it’s growing. It’s not going to do it overnight but it will get there. People have to know where to find you and right now, if Wattpad and WordPress are where they can find you, then stick to that. For my Wattpad readers, they know me for a specific type of story and contests and short challenges keep me in the periphery so they’re always reminded that, oh, yes, that woman writes angstsy romance or whatever. But they’ll know where to find me, and that’s what counts. If they can’t find you because you’re now on some other platform then you run the risk of losing them. But whatever you decide to do, I wish you all the best. I’ve honestly been there, but I stay because at the end of the day, I write to heal myself and make my soul happy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Liz =) As a young writer who is still looking to others for advice, I can say you and Sarah have been the most helpful^^ Thanks for all the encouragement and honesty you have given me. You are right; it does take time to get a following. I’m starting to see my main problem is impatience. I want so badly to have readers, a completed book and be doing writing full time, but I know it won’t be an overnight thing.

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  3. I’m learning about getting my work out there and what platforms to use too. I’m so glad there are lots of people who can inform us of what works for them. I currently have WordPress and Twitter. Overall I think its just hard work and networking that helps the most. 🙂
    Also let us all know when you have your YouTube channel, I’ll be sure to subscribe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • WordPress is a good wealth of information about where to publish, contest and different platforms. That is very true. I do need to start networking more and posting my chapters faster. I will, and thanks for supporting me^^

      Like

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