Publishing Insiders Wrap-Up: Do You Have a Platform? Do You Know What a Platform Is?by: Paula
We had a show full of insights into creating an author platform and marketing books with our special guest Judith Briles.
About our guest: Dr. Judith Briles is The Book Shepherd. She has worked with thousands of authors over the years, guiding and coaching them in creating a book that has no regrets. Whether your book is in an embryonic stage or is completed, her insights can enhance, develop and take it, and you, to the next, next level.
Judith is also the founder of Author U — a membership organization dedicated to the author who wants to be seriously successful. Her websites are http://thebookshepherd.com/ and www.AuthorU.org. You can follow her on Twitter at @AuthorU and @mybookshepherd.
The question facing authors: Do you go to New York or go on your own and self-publish? Judith says you go to New York if you want immediate entry into a bookstore; otherwise, self-publishing is the best choice.
Judith created Mile High Press in 1981. Now she publishes her own and other authors’ books. Some of the main reasons to self-publish include:
1. Control – self-publishing offers control. For instance, you decide what goes on the cover of your book. Judith says covers must be compelling enough to grab readers’ attention. It’s all part of building a platform.
2. Timing – it still takes an average of 18 months for New York publishers to get a book out. When you self-publish you control the timing; Judith can get a book out in four months. Quality control is not a problem for self-published authors either as there are many established professionals available.
How important is a platform?
A platform is a foundation. There are three key components:
1. What’s the vision – who is the book reaching? What’s your intention as the author?
2. Your passion factor. What passion do you bring to this; how much do you care about it?
3. The commitment factor: time, energy and money. This is where authors fall off the bandwagon, says Judith. With the Internet you have so many promotional opportunities that are free. Your book is a business, and how focused will you be to that? You also have to put in time and money to market a book, and many authors do not want to do this.
The passion, vision and commitment lead to the next step: people – that’s where social media is fabulous. This includes Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. You don’t start with the people. You begin with your vision, your passion and commitment and then the people start finding you.
When should an author start this work?
As soon as an author starts thinking about a book the platform/branding process should begin. Think about strengths, weaknesses, how you’ll launch the book. Be ready to tweak your plans (and book) Judith says.
She recommends that authors create their own self-publishing company and learn how to publish and market their books. In addition, take time to learn the process. Too many authors rush to publish. That is always a mistake. Many authors also fail to market their books, and that’s another big mistake.
The future of publishing
New York publishing predictions: there will be more mergers and changes. Independent publishing and small presses will become the preferred method. Will the New York publishers become obsolete? Judith doesn’t think so, but when people buy a book it isn’t about who printed and published the book. They look at the book and say, “will this solve my problems? Make me laugh… answer a question… entertain me?” That’s what readers are looking for. When you market your book and know your audience, the more you become the whale in the lake.
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We’ll be back July 24, 4 p.m. Pacific, to discuss how authors can successfully market their books with author Charlie Mac: