Using the author’s platform to sell—not your books, but yourself

My book 1Perhaps after reading Is an author’s platform necessary? Pros and Cons you decided to create an author’s platform. You spent countless hours creating a blog, joining various social media, and collecting emails addresses. You are proud to say, at last, that you have a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and more. With high hopes, you look at the analytics only to be disappointed. After all this work, you expected to see an increase in sales, but there is no significant change. Don’t fret! You did nothing wrong. Creating the platform is preparatory to phase two: selling books.

Now that you have laid the ground work by creating the author’s platform, it is time to use your platform to engage the reader. What? Yes, you heard me, it time to shake hands, let others know who you are, offer them a reason to take interest in you. It is not time to ask them “to buy my book.” Selling your books will come as a result of your cultivating your readers and followers.

I once went on a date with a man who asked me how I folded my towels; he did this on our first—and last—date. My reaction was that he was looking for a housekeeper, not someone to share life with. He was not interested in me, just in his own needs. Using social media is similar. Court your readers. Let them get to know you and what you can do for them. Let them know they are important to you—and mean it. Readers are keen on sensing if you are sincere or merely interested in promoting your wares. As you add value to the social network discussions, you will develop your credibility and likeability. This is a slow process, and, if you are lucky, you may even start liking your nice-guy persona; you may even start enjoying using social media. As a bonus, your writing may improve, becoming more open and engaging. I am not making this up, being open with others, even if only through social media, leaves you open to new possibilities. “One change always leaves the door open for the establishment of others” ~ Niccolò Machiavelli.

If you can learn to incorporate value for your readers in your blogs, your tweets, your status updates on Facebook, your Pinterest boards, etc. they will appreciate it and show their appreciations by becoming followers. If they like what they see/read, they will want more; that is how they become receptive to your books.

How to use social media to add value to your readers

  • Don’t just use YouTube to promote your book trailer. Make a video about they way you developed your book, or about how you became involved in the process. Video yourself speaking at a conference or book signing, or read from your book as if you were at a book signing. Use video to engage the audience, to create a rapport with them, to let them see you as a person and author. Make it entertaining and worthwhile. For more ideas, see 5 Keys to Sell Books Like Hotcakes with YouTube
  • Create Pinterest boards that reflect your topic. Link the pictures to your blogs where you can further engage them with value. For example, each picture on my Pinterest Board Camino Tips links to a posting on that topic, adding more value for the reader. (To learn how to do this, see Why Pinterest is important to indie authors
  • Use Facebook to have conversations with your reader. Facebook is very conducive for engagement. Ask a question, take a poll, keep the readers informed about the progress of your next book. Most important, have fun with your reader.
  • Use Twitter to find more followers. Search Twitter on your topic. Search for authors that write in the same genre as you, and then use their public lists, if they have them. To learn how to do this, see Nine helpful tweeting tips for authors.
  • Tweet meaningful content: quotes from your book, latest news about the topic, tweets from other writers in your genre, your thoughts that day, links to a book review or quotes from a fan.  Retweet interesting tweets from your followers. Tweet about a new post, an event, a new photo on Pinterest.  Never ask them “to buy my book” but do announce a special sale.

As you can see, using social media is not about selling books. It’s all about engaging followers and giving them a reason to follow you.

How do you use social media and what are the results? Please comment.


About The Author

Jane V. Blanchard

Adventurer and Author, I was born in Hartford Connecticut and now live in Sarasota, Florida.