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Writing and Publishing

The First Step in Building Your Platform

After you write and publish your book, the next step is to promote it. This requires a platform.

However, don’t build your platform around a social media site. You can’t control that. Overnight they could change the rules, limit your reach, make you pay to be seen, or even summarily turn off your account. Then, you’ve lost the platform you worked hard to build.

Instead, make your website the home base for your platform, a website you control and own. Then use social media as a tool to point people to your site.

So, the first step in building your platform is to have a website—or fix your existing one. Do this before you spend another moment on social media or even think about growing your platform or reach.

On your website:

  • Make your site responsive to mobile devices.
  • Remove the clutter.
  • Delete slow plugins.
  • Fix all broken links.
  • Implement SEO best practices.
  • Keep your site up-to-date and regularly add new content.
  • Capture visitor email addresses.
  • Link to your social media sites and other online content – and link them back.
  • Integrate your blog with your site, and make it your primary means to interact with followers.

Once you complete these steps, then, and only then, should you work to build out your platform.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Turning Fans into Influencers

Although the labels vary, writers have three levels of supporters: Friends, fans, and influencers.

Friends like us and follow us, be it online or in the real world; they may read our books.

Fans adore us and our writing; they will read everything we produce.

Influencers may be a friend or fan, but whether or not they read our books, the important factor is that they influence others to embrace our work.

Writers need all three groups, but influencers are critical in getting the word out. As a writer, I have friends and fans but I’m not sure if I have any influencers. I’m not even sure how to find or cultivate them. Fortunately, someone just modeled this for me.

Two weeks ago in my post Stay Within Your Genre, I confessed to being a fan of Robin Mellom, courtesy of her book Ditched. She then shocked and honored me by leaving a comment! I’ve never had an author do that. This simple act moved me from fan status into influencer status, not a big influencer mind you but an influencer nonetheless.

In a brief 170 words, here’s what I learned about cultivating influencers:

Be polite: She began her comment low key and unassuming, almost as though asking for permission to join the discussion. In a world of loud and brash self-promotion of “BUY MY BOOK,” her humility was refreshing.

Be appreciative: She thanked me for my words. She didn’t need to, but it was nice to hear. I now know that she is a great writer and a nice person, too.

Add to the discussion: I’ve seen too many people comment badly. Regardless of the topic or thread, their message is twisted into “Buy my book.” Not Robin, she made relevant comments to my premise of staying within one genre. Her experience shows that you can write to multiple audiences. That’s so encouraging to hear.

Have appropriate self-promotion: She did in fact mention her next YA book, Busted. Sharing this information fit nicely into the discussion and answered my implied question. From this I learned that when self-promotion will advance the discussion and supports the post, then do it, but if it doesn’t, then the best action is no action.

Be positive: Throughout it all, she was positive and upbeat. Though she could have been nit-picky over some minor inferences, she was not. Her comment was as fun to read as her book.

That, my friends, is one way to turn a fan into an influencer. Now I know.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Book Review: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

Book Review: Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World

By Michael Hyatt (reviewed by Peter DeHaan)

Michael Hyatt dedicates his book Platform to all the creative people who were dismissed because they lacked a platform to promote their work. As his subtitle proclaims, he wants to help them Get Noticed in a Noisy World.

Divided into five sections, Platform takes readers on a progressive journey, starting with creating a compelling product all the way to engaging their tribe. The book’s sixty concise chapters make for easy reading, moving writers and artists forward in successfully launching their product.

Packed with practical advice and easy to follow steps, Michael shares insider knowledge and firsthand experience to aid readers in their quest for a bigger platform in order to better promote and sell their work. Regardless of their platform size, Michael Hyatt’s tips can help readers develop a larger and more effective one.

Platform is an essential, must-read book for all creative people who long to share their work with a larger audience.

[Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, by Michael Hyatt. Published by Thomas Nelson, 2012, ISBN: 978-1595555038, 288 pages.]

Read more book reviews by Peter DeHaan

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Is Building a Platform Like Walking the Plank?

This week two friends expressed frustration with their attempts at building a platform for their writing. One lamented that with his work, family, schedule, and carving out time to write, he simply doesn’t have time to invest in growing his platform. My other friend is taking an extended break from all blogging and social media. She became so overwhelmed with the pursuit of the platform that she even considered deleting her blog and shutting down all her social media accounts.

I know a third person who shares their struggles, understanding too well the crunch of time and the pundits’ insistence on the platform. That person is me.

If I weren’t distracted by growing my platform, I’d have twice as much time to write. I relish writing, whereas I hate the distraction of platform performance.

Adding to my discouragement is that I’m mired in creating a proposal for my book, God, I Don’t Want to Go to Church. I’m stuck on the section about my platform. I have too little to proclaim.

I wish we lived in a world where a book could stand on its merits, without the need for a platform to push it. But we don’t, so I must persist with my platform efforts, praying that it will be enough for my future publisher, without destroying my passion for writing in the process.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.

Categories
Writing and Publishing

Why You Should Write Your Author Bio Now

Many writers lament about how hard it is for them to write their own author bio. It doesn’t go as quickly as we think and their optimum message is harder to craft. It’s best to have our author bios written before we need them. And even if our pre-written bios don’t provide the right slant or hit the target length, it’s easier to tweak what we have already written to match what’s needed, then to start with a blank screen.

Write your author bio in the third person, except for a query letter or proposal, when the first person is used. There are four typical bio lengths and our goal is to have all four:

25-Word Author Bio

A 25-word bio is ideal for articles and guest blog posts. It’s usually two to three sentences and contains basic relevant information about you as an author: who you are and your credentials, plus a plug for your book, project, or blog.

50-Word Author Bio

A 50-word bio is also ideal for articles and guest blog posts, as well as blog sidebars. If you’re not sure which one to use, submit the 50-word version (or ask or submit both). The 50-word bio contains the same information of a 25-word bio, but more of it. (Some authors write a 75 to 100-word bio instead of a 50-word bio.)

Many authors include an intriguing, playful, or memorable line – especially in their 50-word bio.

A 25 or 50-word bio will be ideal for an article, query letter, and one-sheet. Look at the bios found at the end of magazine articles for more examples and ideas.

250-Word Author Bio

A 250-word bio fits on the back cover of most books; it is also appropriate for your media kit and an “About” page on your blog or website. Start with your 50-word bio and expand it, adding meat and items of interest that relate to your writing and specifically to your book.

500-Word Author Bio

A 500-word bio may fit on the inside flap of your book; it’s also appropriate for a media kit and an “About” page on a blog or website. Build upon your 250-word bio, adding more substance and human-interest elements.

A 250 or 500-word bio will go in your book proposal, as well as for a book and website’s About section. Look at book covers for more examples and ideas.

For more info: http://buildbookbuzz.com/how-to-write-an-author-bio/

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s new book: The Successful Author: Discover the Art of Writing and Business of Publishing. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book The Successful Author for insider tips and insights.