Authors must build a platform and social media presence to get their voices out there and connect with readers. In this LWL episode, Lyndell Williams talks about why authors must schedule the time to create content and garner an audience to share their work.
All right, today, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the writer’s stage. No, it’s not the blog, the novel, the novella or the short story an author creates. I mean that’s important. Having a finished product that conveys the message one wants is critical, but so is having an audience. There are a ton of authors out there, which makes it important to build a platform and a following so that you have people who’ll read your stuff. It’s probably the most non-writing part of being an author and requires a lot of time and energy. You have to get your voice out there.
We’re in a social media-driven world. Readers want to hear and see their writers. A lot of successful writers develop a way of connecting to readers outside of their writing. They show their personality—their appeal.
Some will use social media—Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, podcasts. Not so much to sell books but to acquire followers. It becomes important because then when you put a book out there, you have people who are actually looking.
It’s important to create a stage for your work and you stand at the center of it, speaking to people. Then you can offer your creation to the eyes and ears focused on you. If they like what they see and hear, some will spread the word. It’s a slow process but it’s an essential one. In addition to finishing the book and publishing it, an author needs to create a brand, something that will attract followers and readers to them, not their writing.
It could be as simple as showing their pretty face, making some quippy anecdotes. But from what I’ve experienced, authors do best by using a mixed media approach as well as making physical appearances. Photos, video clips, live posts all draw potential readers. So, authors need to think of ways to use that to their advantage.
It can be pretty scary. I was terrified when I did my first video book review years ago. But once I got over that hump, I realized I really liked it, and I started doing other things. It’s not easy for a lot of writers and authors to put themselves out there.
I spent years interviewing them, and a lot [of them] are just about writing their words and shutting out the world. That’s won’t cut it, not for an author who wants to get their books in front of readers.
So, download some content creation apps, grab a cellphone, and start connecting with your audience. Think about what you want to say to them. Build a persona for readers to enjoy, and hopefully, create a loyal relationship with them.
Consider starting a blog. An author’s blog is a foundational part if a writer’s platform, and on that, I was wary about doing. I mean, I do so much writing already. I already manage a blog. I write for online media platforms, and I write my short stories and books. So more writing was not something I was ready to do. But then I got great advice from other authors, and that is that my readers deserve an author’s blog from me–a place where the could keep up to date about my books, my short stories, and the things I’m doing as a writer. So, I started one, and it’s been a great experience.
So, it’s a good idea for an author to create a blog as a base for their writer’s stage and branch out from there.
You may not want to use every social media platform. Some authors do, that can be time-consuming and exhausting. Ask yourself, “Where is my audience?” Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, Pinterest? Once you find them, start concentrating on creating content un those platforms.
Get to know the best ways to add content to those platforms. A social media post on Facebook or Instagram may or may not be the same thing–a Twitter post even less so because it has limited characters. Think about and strategize how it is you want to create content and how you’re [going to] put it in your platform.
You want to include your work, of course, but other things as well. What is it that you want to say to your audience? What is it that you want them to know about you, and what are some fun ways you can engage them? Memes, articles that you may like that you want to share with your audience, all kinds of things. Once you start to produce them, it becomes easier and easier to give your readers a way to connect with you.
Also, consider doing social media lives. I’ve seen a lot of authors that do that have a big following. Choose a platform–Instagram, Twitter, Facebook– and schedule live, so that you can talk to readers, you can chat with them and connect with them immediately. Some authors do more than one. I tend to just like to do Facebook. And you can also use those lives. You can download them. You can put them on YouTube to connect to readers that way as well.
Whatever it is you decide to do, keep in mind that your primary objective is to connect with readers. Then show them the great writing that you’re doing.