PART FOUR: Author Platform and Book Platform
I recently talked with several authors and writers about their Author Platforms and their Book Platforms. I was pretty shocked to realize that most either didn’t realize they needed both platforms … and the remainder were under the mistaken idea that these two vital elements of a well designed Book Business Plan were somehow interchangeable.
Um … not. Let’s get a little clarity.
Look in the mirror. It’s YOU. It’s all the elements that make you an author worth reading … no matter what you write. It’s the promotion of the author you are and the author you want to be. It promotes YOU as the BRAND.
I had an interesting question the other day. The writer asked about writing several genres and if this is not only possible, but functional and profitable.
The answer is a big YES.
You see, if you have made YOU the brand, your book is just one of many kinds of books you will write. Hershey’s Chocolates makes chocolate bars, Hershey’s Kisses, Mars Bars, etc., ect., ect. YOU as a brand can support whatever you churn out with smooth professionalism because you’ve made it clear to the world that YOU are an author … not just an author of romance or adventure or fantasy or YA or non-fiction. YOU are an author first.
How do you create an Author Platform? It’s not easy but it’s not so hard either. First, you’ll need an Author Website that focuses purely on the career you’re building. That’s the place you keep an overall, easily downloadable media kit. That’s the place you talk about ALL your work, what you’re writing and what you’re thinking about writing.
Making yourself a brand requires a clear focus on YOU as the author, spreading yourself to all the genres you write and all the venues you can get. An Author Website has an imbedded blog with all things about the author, promoting them, showing their humanity through endorsing the charities they support, and exposing them as an accessible “celebrity”.
Now this is something a little different. There are no short cuts here … your book must have its own identity, an identity that tightly hooks into the genre and genre readers. It needs its own website and possibly its own blog. A Book Platform is everything that promotes the BOOK.
Now, I understand this may sound a little confusing, but even though an Author Platform and Book Platform are two different things, they do strategically hinge upon one another. So, whatever your book does … launch, be featured in a book club, make the best seller list … will be repeated in your Author Platform. BUT … whatever you do in your author platform may or may not be mentioned in your Book Website. The Book Website will have a media page too, with a press kit that only covers that specific book and no others.
One more note. If you write in two genres, you will need TWO BOOK PLATFORMS, TWO BOOK WEBSITES and TWO SEPARATE focuses, totally geared toward that genre and those specific fans. If you write several different kinds of books within one genre – for example, subgenres of romance – you can probably get away with one Book Platform, but only as long as you keep each subgenre neatly partitioned for it’s own following. Knowing and respecting your reader/fans is very important. Remember, one fan might adore vampire romance stories, where another might be hemo-phobic and turned off. Keep things neatly categorized and clean, thus serving each genre fan base with that specific Book Platform.
It’s a strange line between Author Platform and Book Platform that should not get blurred. For example, if you have created a charity-building resource through your non-fiction book about the dangers to wild geese in northern California, you would not discuss it on your Book Website or blog for a book in a different genre. No “save the geese” banners should appear in your werewolf paranormal romance Book Website – unless of course your werewolf saves geese and you can do some genius cross-marketing there.
A brief note on cross-marketing – It’s not impossible to cross-market. I have written a paranormal romance series currently represented by my agent. I’m also a retired chef, so I’m writing a cookbook series entitled Who Says Vampires Don’t Eat? Recipes for the Loving Vampires in Your Life. I plan to do some serious cross-marketing. It’s not for every variety of genres, but it’s something to always keep your eyes peeled for. Cross-marketing is the only time you should see heavy connections between an Author Platform and a Book Platform (or two). Ah but cross-marketing is a subject for another Author Success series altogether.
Generally, an author who does not keep Author and Book Platforms mutually exclusive is losing the powerful tool of branding themselves, and thus limiting the number of audiences that author will be known by.
A Book Platform should be targeted and clear of any superfluous information that does not serve to promote THE BOOK and only THE BOOK.
So … where are you with your Author and Book Platform exposure?
Author Success Coaching
Publicity Marketing Promotions
Author Success, A Well “Business Planned” Future
Lesson 1, But … I’m a Writer, Not a Businessperson
Lesson 2, Your Subject Hooks and Selling Handles
Lesson 3, How Long