By: Stephanie Barko | Literary Publicist
When authors create their book platform, they are defining a forum and following for their book in its first year of life. This statement may include everything they want to do with the book, everywhere they want to tour it, and everyone they want enrolled in its message.
Platform is more than just a tagline or elevator pitch. It can include endorsements, reviews and listings, plus the various elements of an author’s online media kit. Platform also includes which forms of media are appropriate for your material and the specific outlets you intend to target. Virtual tours and ground tours are part of this statement, as well as third party opportunities like genre conferences, book festivals, industry gatherings and book signing venues.
This article focuses on just four elements of platform that are critical to an author’s success in marketing a book: Issues in the book, Endorsements & Reviews for the book, Social Networking by the author and the author’s Email List. Let’s look at each of these elements in more detail to see how they can strengthen a book platform.
Four Platform Tips
1. List the Issues & Topics in your Book. Exploring the subject matter in your book could give it more universal appeal. Make note of topics that may appeal to groups you may want to approach. Document any date tie-ins and any issues the book references that may have media appeal. Convert your list of issues and topics to keywords. Doing this will maximize your page rank and traffic to your website, book blog and social networking profiles.
2. Target Endorsers and Reviewers. Make a list of people whose remarks would help sell your book. Cut this list down to those you can contact. After making your appeal, follow-up if remarks are not received in 30 days. Target top Amazon reviewers for your genre, and never pay for a review.
3. Initialize Social Networking Profiles. Successful marketing today takes both blogging and social media. Use Klout to discover your social rank and how to improve it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+. Allow Klout metrics to guide you in improving your reach and to keep up with which social sites rank best in a given year.
4. Organize your Email List. Identify and quantify your followings. There are your social followings, your blog following, your personal following, your newsletter opt-ins and more. Create groups of actionable email and social lists from these followings. Get curious about how your following prefers to be communicated with and find a way to deliver that format to them.
In summary, know the issues and topics in your book. Gather endorsers and reviewers so that you can demonstrate independent evaluations of your work. Maintain social presences and a blog to establish your marketing effectiveness. Mobilize your list.
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Stephanie Barko is an Austin-based Literary Publicist whose award-winning clients include traditional publishers and their authors, small presses, and independently published writers. She promotes historical fiction & nonfiction, including history, business/career, memoir, self-help, spirituality and biography. She was a National Finalist in More Magazine’s Reinvention Story Competition, nominated by her peers as Book Publicist of the Year and voted Preditors & Editors Best Promotion Service. San Francisco Book Review publishes a column to which she contributes. Visit her website at StephanieBarko.com.