The Author Platform is one of the fundamentals of book marketing, yet so many authors are scared of what it actually means. Today guest blogger Matthew Turner, Turndog Millionaire, explains how success depends on finding the right balance between strategy and creativity.
Ahhhh, an Author Platform, if there’s ever a marmite product in the writing world, it’s this (for those of you who don’t know what marmite is, its tagline is: love it or hate it. I personally detest the stuff, but that’s for another conversation).
In the good old days, writers were writers and all they had to do was write. They left marketing to marketers, publishing to publishers, and accounting to accountants. However, then Amazon came long and changed the rules. All of a sudden anyone could publish a book, which many did, and the market became very crowded.
So, unsurprisingly, creating a platform to stand out from the crowd became important, not just for those self-publishing, but authors in general.
All of a sudden Writers needed to be more than Writers.
They had to become the publisher, the marketer, and yes, even the accountant.
The Birth Of The Author Platform
Hence the Author Platform was born, and we now live in an age where some people embrace it and others don’t. Those who fight it confuse me, though, because writers are secret agent marketers. Why do I think this?
Well, in my opinion, the key to 21st century success is the balance between Strategic & Creative Thinking. Writers, for the most part, stride along this fine line every day. Let me explain:
- Creating a novel requires structure. Even if you write scene to scene, you still need a strong idea of the overall plot. At some point you need to consider the bigger picture, and for a lot of writers this is the first thing you do. In the marketing world, this is considered Strategy.
- Creating a novel also requires creativity. You have to create whole new worlds, situations, and people. Yeah, you might take inspiration from those around you, but you still have to create something from nothing. Do you know who else does this? The Creative team in marketing agencies.
- Creating a novel also needs balance. You can’t simply have a story full of action with no background. Likewise, if all you ever did were provide a nice structure with no excitement, well, you would have a rather boring story. In general, people don’t read boring. So, a writer is good at creating Balance.
You’ve Been A Marketer All Along
Now do you see? It’s been in front of you all along. All those writers you come across, they’re secret marketers waiting for their chance to shine. The only thing keeping this secret locked away is the fear of change. The change of becoming something you never wanted to become.
I’ve read some great articles recently about embracing Author Platforms. People like Jane Friedman, Joel Friedlander, and David DiSalvo have all looked at the subject, and the common ground they discuss is how a lot of writers look at an Author Platform as something separate.
How in one corner you have writing and in the other your Author Platform. Concentrating on one means avoiding the other, but where did this notion come from?
A Modern World Needs Modern Folk
One reason I left my job to become a Strategic Marketing Consultant was because I came across so many marketing folk stuck in their ways. You were either Strategic or Creative, and god forbid if you tried to be both. Does this sound like anybody else?
The modern day marketer embraces the two sides, and I see the same thing happening in Publishing. You have those who fight and those who embrace it. Are you a modern day Author? Will you embrace change and showcase your true skills?
It’s Time To Embrace
I’m not asking you to like building an Author Platform; merely not to separate it from your Writing. All an Author Platform sets out to do is make you a success. Its entire purpose is to showcase you in front of thousands and sell lots of books. It isn’t fighting your writing, rather enhancing it.
It’s all part of the same cycle. Great Marketing will not help you sell a Crap Book. Just like a Great Book will not fulfill its potential if you don’t communicate it to the world.
You’re Already There
As a writer you’re a Secret Agent Marketer, I honestly believe this. You hold all the skills, and I’m guessing the only thing keeping you back is fear. There’s no reason to be afraid, though, and that’s why I wrote How To Build An Author House. I hope to create a platform writers can embrace. A set of guidelines that is not only easy to follow, but easy to structure around YOUR needs.
In the end of the day you make the rules. Base your Author Platform around the things you love to do, love to write about, and love to share. If you do this you’ll meet great people, be seen by thousands, and sell piles and piles of books.
Now, is that really so bad?
Do you embrace the idea of the Author Platform? If not, what’s stopping you from delving in?
About the Author
Matthew Turner (aka Turndog Millionaire) is a Strategic Marketing Consultant & Author of both Fiction & Non-Fiction. With a variety of services to help writers create an Author Platform, he strives to meet modern Authors with a passion to succeed in the modern world. His FREE Ebook Series, How To Build An Author House, focuses on this.
Turndog Millionaire – @turndog_million