Writing Your Books: Your Author Platform Is Your Business
- 4 Vices You Must Lose to Build Your Author Platform
- Writing-Publishing Survival Guide – A Brain Dump of Systems
- Is the Content Inc. Model a Good Fit for Author-Publishers?
Tim Grahl is launching a fiction book he just spent two years writing. We could tear that apart for many reasons (worse than Facebook’s Zuckerburg being grilled before Congress as part of his Apology Tour) but main thing is not what he (or Zuck) could do better, but how they missed the main system that enables them to earn their income.
Grahl got his main success in helping people launch their book.
That’s book. Singular.
Grahl had no real experience in helping people do continuing launches of their next book, and the one after that, and so on. While the proved approach is that your next book is your best promotion for your earlier ones. Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson, as well as their networked authors have all proved that when a new reader discovers your books, they’ll tend to buy the earlier books. Give away a box set of your earliest books, with a list of your subsequent ones, and they’ll want to get the rest.
Not book. Singular. Unless you are simply hyping a service-based business.
You should be producing books. Plural. That can set you up with a residual passive income for life.
The long game is to spend several decades writing and publishing, while you continue to build your audience and network to continue your sales.
While Grahl has a quite-expensive course to train you in what he does, you can work it all out from his Book Launch Blueprint (https://booklaunch.com/lp-book-launch-blueprint) and his email-based Book Launch Crash Course (https://booklaunch.com/the-book-launch-crash-course/). Your choice.
Grahl’s experience showed two main approaches that worked:
- Launch to your existing audience.
- Use your network’s audience to launch.
He then developed a third approach:
- If you both of these are small, then work to develop audience and network so you can. (He calls “playing the long game.”)
And he’s not wrong at this.
But there is a chicken-and-egg scene. And that is where all these various courses and books fail. Everyone starts with nothing. Few people make a great success out of it. You can’t build audience if they have nothing to read. If you don’t know what you like to write, you’ll not be able to really finish anything or stick to a genre where people can find your work.
The Author Platform is a System
The references at the beginning of this article lay out that the main points are four, and they operate as a system. (See “How to Stop Feeding The Beast” for the latest iteration of this.)
Vision – the bliss you are following, goals you want to accomplish.
Content – Be constantly producing content, publishing it, and promoting it.
Audience – Build your audience by getting in front of others and getting them to join yours.
Network – Get that audience into your own network, along with other authors and affiliate sales people.
That really lays out your whole business plan when you figure out what you have to do in order to accomplish those four points. This is actually your author platform. And you already have it. The next steps are continuing to expand each element of it.
As a system, each of the other elements grow as you work to improve one of them.
This Great Fiction Writing Challenge is simply to test this and see how my own platform can be built from scratch.
Content: With Draft2Digital and their Books2Read, you have key basic points in how to get your content out. The other steps we’ve covered earlier have been in reading, writing, and publishing/promoting daily.
Network and Audience: Instafreebie – taking representative shorter works out of the one’s you’ve created, routinely make these available for free with other authors. Help them as you create group giveaways and everyone promotes to the list they have.
Bliss/Vision: You have to love to read, and love to write. You write in the style and genre you most like to read. Ignore everyone else, just write the stories you wish you could find. And do this routinely and prolifically. The secret, like Jack London and O. Henry, is to write daily, write short and publish long. (See “Heinlein’s Five Rules” – https://livesensical.com/writing-fiction-heinleins-rules-author-efficiency/)
These links above actually give you your whole business plan. And so, build your platform.
What we’ll be going over next, with the Four Uber-Reader Horsemen (Wattpad, LibraryThing, Goodreads, and Medium) is more audience/network building. (I got into the Wattpad material this week and have some boil-down to do, hopefully before this week is over.)
After that will be the next main promotional approach, radio and podcast interviews. Again, adding more audience/network.
Today it also hit me that I’d like to simply be writing more. And if I had a ton of new content, I could start using pre-scheduled content to leverage the book outlets better. Smashwords’ Coker worked this up in his recent analysis, but Amazon authors have know about this for some time, particularly Chris Fox. (It allows you to get an extra 90 days of exposure before your first 30-day cliff hits.)
In writing this, I see that I am starting to repeat myself. And this is a good sign, that I’ve about reached the end of research. (So shows the need to start making this into a book and a full course.)
What we have coming up in this Great Fiction Writing Challenge would be to see if we even need to run ads. I can’t tell you at this poing. I know that running ads isn’t the first thing you want to do (first is cranking out a ton of content and getting it all published to have an instant backlist of titles.)
And you can spoil your success by getting dependent on ads to get everything done. Like farmers who have to have lots of expensive equipment, fertilizer, and herbicides to grow crops. Eventually, their lack of profits wear them out (along with the soil.)
That’s the current scene with this. We are following our bliss (what we most love to do and can earn income with) and creating content while building more audience and network.
Next Steps to the Great Fiction Writing Challenge
The next steps will be to get active on those Four Uber-Reader Horsemen above, then follow this up with getting podcast/radio interviews, and then a ton more content to get and stay ahead of the Amazon cliffs.
Only then will we evaluate ads to see if they are even necessary.
Because the icing on the cake isn’t as filling (or good for you) as the cake itself.
Main points are these:
- Find what you love to read and write. Choose goals for these.
- Get a lot of content published built into a habit of regular production.
- Build your audience and network as you promote your books.
If you’re not having fun at this, then rework it until you are. Or get out of the business as it’s not a good fit.
I’m having a lot of fun at this. And my income continues to roll in while I’m working on it.
How is your platform doing?
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Also published on Medium.