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Here’s How They’re Building Their Author Platform, Case Study: Angie Viets

Last fall, I posted about how important the author platform tends to be in interesting publishers and getting a publishing deal.

I shared some examples of clients who signed book deals after they worked on their author platform.

Today, I’d like to start sharing stories of some clients who may be closer to where you may be—just starting out in developing an author platform.

Meet Angie Viets, Eating Disorder Recovery Expert and Clinical Psychotherapist

Angie contacted me at the very end of August and we began working together in September. She had a beautifully branded website, but not much of a reach or following on social media or a mailing list.

We started with her vision statement so that all her work in book writing, platform building and writing a book proposal would support that vision. The vision statement would help Angie in all her decision making and inspire her in all her writing projects.

The vision statement is a crucial piece of work that guides everything we do from identifying readership/markets, developing the book concept, determining content to developing a website and branding on social media. I teach how to write a vision statement in my Quick Start to Kick Start Your Book Self-Study Program, as well as in Bring Your Book to Life®.

We also connected with her muse through my “meet your muse” exercise, so she could get clarity about her vision and also let go of self-doubt. The exercise answered some of her questions (from that source of her own inner wisdom) and also created a shift in confidence.

Fix Your Website

Next, we focused on some simple changes to Angie’s website, since a website is one of the primary ways that the media and potential readers will find you. Plus agents and publishers will always look at your website if your book proposal interests them.

Possibly the most impactful thing you can do is to offer something free on your site in return for your visitors’ email address. Make it something they really need and want—so that they are willing to get on your mailing list.

An image from Angie’s Branded website

Conversely, if you don’t have a compelling free offer, also called an “opt-in gift” or “lead magnet,” the likelihood of visitors returning to your website on their own are slim. With a gift that requires visitors to share their first name and email address, you can gain their permission to contact them with a regular newsletter, tips, event notices or an invitation to buy your book. They are now on your mailing list.

Angie Viets
Angie’s photos have a soft, friendly, warm feeling that capture the branding she was looking for.

Of course, when people join your email list, you have a responsibility to send them information that is beneficial to them and to connect in a respectful way that serves your subscribers. In Angie’s case, she decided to offer a video that helps visitors get beyond feelings of hopelessness and take the next step in their recovery.

In addition to an opt-in gift, I suggested Angie make her blog easier to read. The blog had two columns, each with and image and text to the side and below the image. The images did not line up because of the two columns and it made it hard to know where to place your attention—it was just plain old hard to read. My guess? Most readers would leave the page rather than explore.

At my suggestion, Angie turned the two columns into one with images that lined up nicely with each other. You can see the result here on Angie Viet’s eating disorder recovery blog.

Use Social Media to Build Your Author Platform and Reach Your Future Readers Click To Tweet

Because Angie was just starting to work on her social media, particularly Twitter, we began with Twitter and then expanded to other outlets. Here are the 5 simple strategies we started with:

1. Follow bloggers on the Huffington Post and Psychology Today who blog in your field and related fields.
2. Share and retweet their blog posts and other tweets that are resonant/relevant.
3. Google top 30 bloggers on eating disorders and top 30 eating disorders journalists on twitter, top 50 eating disorders experts on twitter, top 50 recovery experts on twitter, etc. This is a strategy Rusty Shelton offered in a recent interview on Twitter for authors.
4. I also suggested that she see if inspiration came for writing to any big news outlets: “If you feel moved to write an op-ed for your home town paper or the New York Times or Huffington Post on anything newsworthy or that you feel strongly about, related to your field or not, do so! One client just wrote an open letter to Donald Trump and has had 15,000 likes and 1,100 shares on Huff Po. Though it is not directly related to her book, her book is about parenting and that was the lens through which she wrote.”
5. Intend EASE! This is one of my favorite bits of advice to all aspiring authors!
I also suggested books by Frances Caballo (Social Media Just for Writers) and Rusty Shelton (Mastering the New Media Landscape) as resources on social media for authors.

With Vision Statement in hand, Angie wrote a potential blog post to pitch to Pscyhology Today and also wrote some new posts for her current column on the Huffington Post. Her pitch for a Psychology Today Column on Inspired Recovery was accepted and she now blogs regularly–eight posts and counting!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing some additional stories of clients who are building their plaeditingtforms—some who did not even have a website or social media presence when we began—so you can learn from what I’m teaching them.

Have a question or insight? Please comment below and share this post on social media!


Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Lorraine Giordano says

    Terrific suggestions Lisa! I think “intend ease” is the most important tip and the easiest to forget as an inspiring author building a platform. It’s helpful to have these posts to refer to often to get re-inspired on ways to get out there! Thanks!

  2. Larry Higdon says

    I’m thinking about writing a memoir. When I name names, do I have to get consent from those people?

    • Lisa Tener says

      Hi Larry,
      It’s ideal when the people you name do consent, because you have their buy in. You certainly have a right to write about people, but if you do write anything that could be considered defamation of character, for instance, it is possible for you (and the publisher) to be sued. So publishers are sometimes wary. Sometimes people choose to fictionalize their story and publish as a novel. Other times, authors decide not to hold anything back but put in a disclaimer that this is their recollection and the truth is subject to imperfect memory. Would that protect you 100% – I’m not sure that it would. If you are concerned, the best thing to do is to check with an attorney who specializes in intellectual property and other related kinds of law.

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