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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.
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.
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.
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:
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 platforms—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!