Thursday, November 10, 2011

Create Visibility Before Getting Published

I'd like to welcome Karen Cioffi today with some marketing tips!

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Basic Platform Building

The road to publication can be long and winding ... and filled with rejection. So, what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscript and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless.

That’s easy. And, it’s very important: create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs, I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform.

There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility.

First step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website; either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing.

Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name.

But wait a minute, let me backtrack. For those of you who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. You need to let your target market know who you are, what you have to offer, why you’re qualified to offer it, and where they can find you.

Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise, but this is how you create it.

The next step in your journey is to create visibility and build your platform. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking—you will be creating your area of expertise.

Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site, and go viral.

The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to:

  1. Have and online presence (website or blog)
  2. Have a platform
  3. Have a following
  4. Have the potential to increase that following
  5. Have a marketing strategy
  6. Have a saleable book

Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. Don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.

For more on writing and marketing visit Karen Cioffi Writing and Marketing and sign up for her FREE newsletter, A Writer’s World. You’ll get TWO free e-books on writing and marketing in the process, and two more free e-books just for stopping by.


Unknown said...

Great post. I've been thinking about marketing a lot lately because my book is coming out soon and so this is helpful. Thanks.

Jemi Fraser said...

Great advice - very sensible and helpful. Thanks for sharing :)


Some good advice and some useful tips for me. Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hi Karen, These are all great expectations to follow. Having a marketing strategy is important. It comes down to more than visiting blogs. There is so much available to self pubbed writers. I'm spending the next week reading some new material on the subject.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great advice here! Thanks for hosting Karen, Diane. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

A year before my book was released, my publisher told me to get my butt online, and I started blogging. My platform's not the norm for a writer, but it's worked so far.

Matthew MacNish said...

I've got the blog part handled, I think, but I should probably have a website too.

Unknown said...

Excellent advice. When I first started writing (properly) I looked up my favourite author online and discovered she had a website, twitter account, Facebook fan page, LiveJournal account etc... That's when I thought, well I may as well start now, right?

Helen Ginger said...

So easy! Six simple steps. Okay, not easy, but, as you say, essential. Thanks for laying out the steps.

Karen Cioffi said...

Carissa, congratulations on your book! It's important to get started on your marketing strategy before your books comes out.

Jemi, I'm glad you found the info helpful.

Yvonne, Thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you also found the post helpful.

Karen Cioffi said...

Stephen, Don't forget to share with us at Writers on the Move after your research!

Hi, Elisabeth, Thanks for stopping by and glad you liked the advice.

Hi, Alex, Yeah, publishers want their author on the marketing ball - they know it takes a team effort to generate sales.

Karen Cioffi said...

Matthew, It depends on which service you're using for you blog. Blogger is pretty similar to a website now and is very user friendly. While it has one or two drawbacks, for most purposes it's as good as a website.

Rachel, Good thinking. And, that's what a lot of marketers and coaches recommend, see what's working for the heavy hitters and try to use their strategies.

LD Masterson said...

It's always helpful when someone in the know distills mountains of information and advice into a clear set of steps. Doesn't always make things easier but at least they're clearer. Thanks.

Karen Cioffi said...

Helen, you're right, most things aren't really as easy as they sound. But, if you create a plan and follow it, it's not difficult - maybe time consuming - but not that difficult. :)

Karen Cioffi said...

Diane, Thanks so much for featuring my article today!

Johanna Garth said...

such great advice...and I wish I'd had the foresight to do all of that BEFORE the publication of my first book!

Sara {Rhapsody and Chaos} said...

"Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name."

Oh man, I wish I'd known this when I first started my blog. Instead I went with a title I thought was fun. I still do like my title, but I wish I had my name in it.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Karen, thanks for visiting today. Seems this message was very timely for some folks.

Trisha said...

Great advice from Karen here! Thanks for sharing!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Couldn't agree more. Too many new authors don't understand why they should start marketing (building a platform) before they get an agent. It never occurs to them that without one it will be harder to GET an agent!

Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Excited about the new edition (Updated! Expanded! and now an Award-winner!) of The Frugal Book Promoter,

Yvonne Osborne said...

Thanks for the excellent advice. I should probably change the name of my blog to incorporate my name. I don't know why I've been putting that off, thinking there's always tomorrow. I'll do it tomorrow.

dolorah said...

Well; my first trilogy is a women's fiction about domestic violence and substance abuse. I don't see that being a consistent topic on my blog - even with my BA in social work

The other platform issue I have is I don't write only in one genre. I write women's issues, horror/thriller, and fantasy. I write the fantasy to get away from reality; and the DV and substance abuse issues just doesn't fit into that theme for me.

Resources are my strength; so my blog site is more about writing/critiquing/publishing resources than actual writing itself. And I never post on social services issues unless it is in the form of a writing excerpt.

So; I guess my question here is: do you think it hurts me as a writer/blogger not to make my blog about my area of expertise - my social worker experiences as it relates to writing believable characters?

This platform building stuff intimidates me :) But you have some valuable points that interest me. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.


Dorte H said...

Great point!

I spent two years building up my blog before I published my first book, and without it, I don´t think I would have sold anything the first month.

anthony stemke said...

The six expectations make perfect sense
Marvelous advice from Miss Karen.
Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Great guest post. Lots of good advice. Thanks!