Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday Writerly Ways~ Platforms Part Deux

This current topic had more hits on my blog than any other...a whopping 300+ page views. I got a slew of requests to expand on this topic so now I am. The previous blog on platforms was a beginners course and this one will get into a little more detail. In various blogs I have covered keywords, SEO, blogging, websites, and some marketing ideas.

That's all a platform is for... how will you reach readers. In marketing terms it's target marketing. But how do you find your target audience?

Today I'll focus somewhat on www.GoodReads.com. If you haven't joined then shame on you. There are quite a few sites like this one, but by far it's the largest. Last time I checked they were 3 million readers strong, but that was a year ago. For almost anything you want to read, they've got a groups for it and sometimes dozens. Join one or join ten, just be active within the group. THESE ARE READERS and writers.

So why is this so important? DOH! Without readers, writers and authors would be nowhere. These are the people that like to read what you are writing and there are millions of them! Get enough readers interested in your book and you've struck gold....can you see all the little dollar signs growing and growing with more zeros behind a number? They've taken out all the guess work of finding your target market. Essentially, you can chat with other authors that write in your genre and the readers. You find out what they like and dislike, and their trials and errors.. Valuable information and It's free.

Companies used to pay me thousands of dollars to conduct and analyze their surveys of their products. I would crunch the numbers and tell them where they could get the most bang for their buck.

This was prior to the information availability on the internet or they gathered information from their websites and didn't know what to do with the information once they got it. It was one of those, let's put a survey on our website and they got several hundred thousand responses. They had no idea how to sort through or analyze this gold mine.

And no, I won't be writing a book on this because they are a dime a dozen and various other websites offer this information for free...just like I do. I did write a pamphlet on the business aspects of being an indie author with plans to expand it to a full length book. Available HERE. I just haven't finished yet. It's still in my to-do file in pieces while I recover from my stroke. I gained my expertise for this by graduating from college, and building a company from the ground up for 15 years. I ended up having my three partners buy me out when my husband fell ill to the tune of almost seven figures. Not bad growth when you figure I started the company with $1,000.

One of the first things an agent or publisher will want to know is who is your target audience...the readers of what you write. The second thing they'll want to know is how well you know this market. What is your expertise behind writing this book or in writing? Do you read other authors in this genre market? If you write a blog you are showing your knowledge of what you are writing and how well versed you are in your genre. If you don't know the answer to these questions, you'll probably get a rejection and rightly so in today's depressed market.

Do you write articles on the subject your fiction or nonfiction is about? If you read my last Wednesday Writerly Ways, it was my uncalling to be an author and freelance writer. I wrote about my first book, Mommie, I Wish I'd Never Heard of Arfritis. I was an expert in the field, although I was not a doctor. I had a child afflicted with JRA and I volunteered at the Arthritis Foundation. I initiated the buddy system of pairing up children and parents with others for southeastern Georgia and western Florida, and it has been copied in 25 states. And, it all started with an article I wrote.

I belong to several writers groups some you can see links to on the left. I teach creative writing classes in a community enrichment setting and at writers conferences. A platform is your writing resume. It shows your experience. I've been lucky enough in my life to be encouraged in writing by the likes of Arthur C. Clarke, Eugenia Price, and Jack McDevitt to drop a name or three. I have a mailing list in place of not only writers, publishers, and agents, but readers and people in various walks in life who are interested in what I write. How did I meet them? How do you anyone with similar interests?

Yeah, I hear you. You haven't got thirty years in print like I do, how can I compete? Well, you start today. You take one step at a time (just like I did). You join groups. You blog. You attend writers conferences. You attend book signings and launches of other writers, and ask questions. You join reading groups.You meet people virtually and in person.  You learn your craft. Be a better listener than talker. The virtual option makes it much easier for you than when I first started. Social media is almost limitless.

You start with a few well placed foundation blocks and build that pyramid higher and higher. Every journey begins with a single step.

So where are you at in platform building?


Keep writing and loving the Lord.

2 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Fairly established. I just continue to grow in key areas, such as Goodreads and blogging.

J.L. Murphey said...

Goodreads is a valuable resource and as far as blogging goes I love yours..