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Fringe Highlight Podcast: 5 steps to building a successful author platform

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This week’s Indie Author Fringe Highlight is hosted by Donna Galanti. Even if you don’t have a polished draft to publish, Donna will show you what you can do right now to successfully pave the way to an author career before your book is published.

Learn how to build a strong author foundation that includes; creating a peer support network, forming relationships with authors in your genre, sharing the wisdom you already have (and may not know it), and connecting with readers via social media (yes, before that book is out!).

Creating an author platform takes time and building it slowly can make this overwhelming process not only easy and manageable, but fun! Attendees will come away with the steps to launch their author platform over time before publication.

Topics Covered in this Podcast:

  • How to build best followers on social media.
  • How to connect with readers.
  • How to build your email list.
  • How to collaborate with other authors.
  • How to position yourself as an expert.

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Fringe Highlight Transcript:

Donna:  Hi everyone, welcome to the 5 Steps for Author Platform Success Before You Publish Your First Book. I’m Donna Galanti, author and owner of Create Your Awesome Community for Debut Authors. And I’m super excited to be attending my very first ALLi Indie Author Fringe festival with such a great line up of speakers. And I know you’ll be learning tons of resourceful information to pave the way for success as an author at this festival.

And today, I’ll be covering the five things you can do right now, before you publish your first book and I’ll be sharing my own blueprint to building an author platform based on creating and influencing community around you, of readers and writers to achieve life long author success. And the more people you connect with, the more exposure for you and your books, the more loyal fans you gather and the more books you sell. So, it’s a win-win situation all around.

Now, don’t worry if you miss out on anything today, because I have a goodie that you can access at the end. It’s the cheat sheet for this the 5 Step for Author Platform system, in a nice downloadable PDF.

So, let’s jump right in, to the 5 Steps for Author Platform Success Before You Publish Your First Book.

And so, here we are with today’s game plan. We are going over the blueprint for the five steps to creating a community for author success. And so, you are totally in the right place today if you are a debut author with your first book coming out or maybe it’s coming out soon or maybe you’ve just finished your first book and are planning on self-publishing or getting a publisher? Or maybe you’ve had your first book out for a bit and you’re just feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to reach your readers. So, this is a wonderful place to start, wherever you are in the process. And you’re also in the right place if you’re looking for help on building your author platform and for all of you here, no matter the stage you’re in with your first book, maybe you just don’t know yet how to successfully build an author platform or how to connect with your target readers and you just don’t want to waste months or years trying to figure it out on your own. Maybe you only have an email list of, you know, two people. One is your mum and the other is your cat, Fluffy and like I said, you just don’t want to spend years figuring this out. So, either way, you are in the right spot. Maybe some of you are also feeling a bit alone in your writing community or maybe you have no writing community and you want to know how to build one, how to build a community of writing peers around you to help support you on your new author path. You know, because two heads are better than one, three heads are better than two and all that good stuff. Heck, maybe you’re even asking yourself how am I going to survive as an author with all I need to know, it’s too overwhelming, I don’t have time and when am I even supposed to write?

Well, I’m going to share info today that will help you feel not so overwhelmed and put things in perspective, so, you can tackle all these shiny new steps one at a time, in your own timeframe. And each step will help you grow your author platform and these are all tools you can keep in your writer tool box, right now, to use again and again with each new book that you have come out.

And keep in mind, this isn’t a race, with a final destination. It’s a journey and a journey we want to travel throughout our entire author career. And all the journeys I’m going to take you on will be journeys you hopefully will come to know and love and can travel again and again throughout your career with however many books you write. And building a strong author platform based on community will sustain you over a career of writing. So, if you fall under any of these categories, you are in the right place at the right time, whether you’re starting from scratch or you have some know how, this will totally be for you. So, you’re in the right spot and I definitely have some great stuff coming up for you.

Ok, so here’s exactly what you’ll be learning on this training here with the five steps. It’s a very specific author platform system or blueprint, if you will, to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success before your first book even comes out. And even if you don’t have a blog or a newsletter email list now, even if you don’t know any other authors right now or writers or maybe you don’t even have a website yet, it’s ok. My outline system here will help you get connected with readers and writers right now to eventually, you know, sell more books and build more influencing connections to advance your author career.

So, here’s the steps we’re going to be talking about today.

  • How to build best followers on social media.
  • How to connect with readers.
  • How to build your email list.
  • How to band with other authors.
  • And how to position yourself as an expert.

And the key word to all of this is community. The more people you connect with means more readers for your books and the more books that you can sell, you know, the more people you help, means the more people who will help you promote your book and the more people that connect with your book means more loyal fans down the road and again, more book sales. It’s like this great big awesome snow ball affect.

And I’ll also be sharing a great way to connect with your potential readers right now plus the five ways you can go the extra mile to boost all of these steps even further. And I want to share as much useful content as possible here. I’ve been on so many trainings before where the information was all about the speaker, thrown in with some fluff. Well, this aint no fluff here today. We’ve got real techniques here that work. That have worked for me to build thousands of followers and connections and have worked for dozens and dozens of my workshop students as well.

So, through my journey, my life has changed as a result of building my author platform. And trust me, trust me, trust me, if I can do it, so can you. It’s all about having a system and following the steps to creating a community for success. I don’t have any special magical powers that help me do this. My mom probably told me I did when I was little, and as a fantasy author, I like to think I do, whatever it may be but I came from knowing nothing about author platform to having this system perfected to get results and build an awesome community of readers and writers. So, don’t be thinking I have some magical powers, because I don’t. this is a totally replicable system as proven by the people I’ve taught.

So, let’s talk here about some of the big benefits of creating an author platform community of readers and writers before we get in to this training and go step by step. Like, why are we even building a community of readers and writers before our first book comes out, you may be asking, who cares?

So, let me just throw these up on the screen, here are five reasons, five benefits just of many, you know, build a best social media following of readers and writers. Find, connect and engage with your potential readers. Build an email list of people who would buy your book and become your fans. Make influential connections with authors who could elevate your career. Be seen as an expert in what you know and become sought after to speak. So, you know, one of these may resonate with you or many of them may resonate with you. The great thing is that you can do all of these at once in your own timeframe, baby steps, and continue to expand your network of readers and writers forever, as you write more books. You can reach infinite readers and make infinite influential connections in the publishing industry.

So, remember, this is supposed to be fun. Your first book is coming out or has just come out or is launching, it’s an exciting time. You are not alone so, forget all those assumptions you may have and just start out with a clean slate.

And we’re getting right in to it, the blueprint to the five steps to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success, again, the key word being community. And the five steps we’re going through today, building best fit followers on social media, connecting with readers, building your email list, banding with other authors and positioning yourself as an expert. A quick tip here, a great place to start with all of this is to check out what other successful comparable authors are doing, a little friendly stalking, I like to say. How are they putting themselves out there on social media? How do they share with readers? What did they share? What authors do you see them hanging out with? What expertise are they sharing? So, you can get some great techniques from the masters to mimic and again, put your own spin on it. Second tip going along with this is document everything you learn and do. You could use it later to teach writers or use the info to do a guest blog or to present to readers in person. And these are all things that you can get going on right now. So, keep in mind, as we’re focusing on community with these steps, we want to build long lasting relationships with people. We want to be generous and helpful to our communities and we want to be genuine, always. So, simple, simple things to keep in mind, rinse and repeat over and over and success will come your way.

Step 1: How to build best followers on social media

And the first step we’re talking about is building those best fit followers on social media. And by best fit I mean those ideal readers, those people who have potential to love your book, love your voice, love what you’re sharing and what you’re talking about. And in creating a social media platform, you are selling yourself, your voice, your personality, you are building a brand on you, not your book and people will buy in to you long before they buy in to your book. So, it may seem like common sense but start with who you know, when it comes to following people on social media and then follow authors who are most similar to you and then follow their followers because they are potentially your audience as well. These are not only readers but writers too. And search for key words connected to your author persona. The kind of brand that you want to put out there. look for those key words connected to your book, if you have issues in your book or certain settings or certain types of characters, you know? And follow people connected to those key words. They may have an interest in your book.

Another great way to build best fit social media followers is to follow book bloggers in your genre. And follow their followers. Book bloggers are your friends. They love books and if they love other books similar to yours, they likely will like your books and down the line they are going to be those best fit reviewers too who have the potential to leave positive reviews about your book. And using key word hash tags is a great way to find other people that are best fit followers using www.tweetag.com or www.hashtags.org, you can go to these places online and search for those keywords that are connected to your book, to the brand that you want to put out there and the topics that you want to talk about that also could be in your book. And, you know, re-sharing posts by others and adding your own comments, this is a great way to show that you’re sharing with thoughtfulness, another way to start building those best fit followers. And post content that is useful and a value connected to your author persona. And followers will come to expect this content from you and they’ll see you as an authority in this content.

Also, show your humanity, you know? People like real people that are flawed and struggling at times because they are too. This could really strengthen their connection with you. Peak outside the box and post original and creative content. Be responsive and continue the dialogue. It is about being social. And use those keyword hash tags relevant to your book’s topics, your genre, your author brand. Because people searching for information on these hash tag topics could find you.

Also search for rules on timing for social media platform. What times of day are best to post for each? Because they do differ. This is something that you look up online but also do your own experimentation and try posting at different times to see how much engagement you get.

Creating Twitter lists is a great way to engage because, you know, Twitter goes by so fast on the screen, if you start categorizing the people that you follow into different categories, then you’ll be able to go to those lists and connect with them easier.

Also search for rules on how often to post. This is another great way to practice, you know, best practices for social media. For example, on Twitter ideally, you shouldn’t post, you know, more than 15 or 20 minuets apart. Facebook, maybe even only two or three times a day and you don’t want to flood Instagram or Pinterest with dozens of photos all at once. Again, some best practices that you can look up to follow.

And create engaging profiles in your social media profiles with your personal keywords and always include your website link or your blog link or even your newsletter link signup. And be generous, give shout outs to authors in your genre, book bloggers, your favorite book stores, your writing peers and any other book industry related peers and tag them when you’re giving them a big shout out.

When it comes to content, when you’re posting on social media, I have found three types of content really get the best engagement and re-shares and comments. Humors, heartwarming and informational, right? People love things that are funny, they love those aw, cute, heartwarming things and they love information that can help them when they have an issue they want to solve.

So, with all of your posts, keep in mind, images get the highest engagement and re-sharing, including info graphics. Even over videos because frankly videos can take too long to watch. Images still do get the highest engagement. And measure your own like and value factor for each post. For each post, ask yourself, if I saw this post, would I click the like or comment or re-tweet or share button? So, ask yourself, also for each post, does it solve a problem, share an idea or is it seeking feedback? This is a good guide to follow when you’re putting content out there. And say away from politics, religion, putting people down and just negativity in general. This is a big turn off and it can really cost you followers in the long run.

So, bottom line, social media is about sharing your awareness of the world all around you. Be friendly, supportive and have a sense of humor. It’s supposed to be fun!

Step Two: How to connect with readers

The second step when it comes to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success is connecting with your readers right now, yes, even before your book comes out. Invite readers on your journey to win them over as those loyal fans later. This will set the foundation for great word of mouth advertising, the best free promotion an author can benefit from.

Now, keep in mind, your story won’t resonate with all audiences. You really need to find the niche where your readers are hanging out and you want to know your reader. I know this sounds really, really basic but do you know your reader? I hope you do? Look to your book, you know, look to the themes in your book, is there bullying, pollution, famine, adoption, mythology, whatever it may be, look to areas of interest in it, camping, contests, road trips etc. Do your characters have special talents, is there magic, sword-fighting and marshal arts? Multi-lingual, mind reading? Does it have a cool concept like zombies that want to be friends or time traveling to solve a murder or dragons on earth or whatever it may be? And create that list of key words from these topics in your book. These are the keys to finding your target reader. From these keywords, finding places where people are gathering to talk about these topics like blogs, social media, maybe other author blogs, special interest groups, a great place to find these places online and even offline by using your keywords is to go to www.buzzsumo.com. Also think about where your reader hangs out in person? Is it libraries or book store events? Create that reader profile based on your keywords. Then connecting these places you find online to draw your potential readers into conversations on these topics. Readers are more likely to engage with you if you aren’t selling but are making a personal connection. Keep that in mind. If you’ve written a children’s book with soccer in it, find out where the soccer parents hang out online. Which blogs are they at? Which websites? Which forums? Which social media platforms? They might have an interest in your book for their kids. Search for demographics of magazines that your reader might read. These could be your readers to. Are there special qualities, issues or settings in your book that appeal to certain groups? Hikers, teens, mountain climbers, veterinarians? Find these groups on social media and listen to their conversations, mention your writing when relevant or post an article as a resource that maybe, you know, goes back to your blog or your website. And find comparable authors to you, follow them, again, follow their followers because these could be your potential readers. So, these are all ways that you can connect with readers.

I said it before but I’ll say it again because it’s super important, book bloggers are your friend, so, engage with them now. Follow book bloggers and book tubers, those book bloggers on YouTube. Follow them in your genre and your age range, they’re a direct line to your readers. Build a connection with them now so when your book releases, they are first in line for your review request and willing to say yes. You could even pitch a guest post along with a give away to these book bloggers. They love content. Maybe you have some book swag, you know, some promotional items or an advanced reader copy of your book? You could give that away and get reviews from that as well. Also, search online for similar authors to you that are successful plus review. Like Stephen King plus review. You will get blogs that reviewed that book by that author. These are great blogs to familiarize yourself with, establish a connection and eventually request a review. Also search online for your genre of interest plus book blogger, like fantasy book bloggers, thriller book bloggers. Connecting now with them improves your chances of best fit reviewers later. Invite them to be interviewed on your blog. Organize them in a Twitter list to easily engage with them. So, establishing a relationship now with book bloggers hopefully means they will become your champion later. Engage with them on their posts, share their posts, interview them on your blog, check out the profiles of book blogger’s followers and their commenters and add these traits to your ideal reader list. This will help build your reader profiles so that you know your reader even better.

Step Three: How to build your email list

And we’re moving on to step three in the five steps to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success. And we’re talking about building an email list or a subscriber list. This is a direct line to your readers, whether it’s a blog or a newsletter list, the most important thing is to establish trust with your readers. Use your author persona to connect with them and post content of value that’s not all self-promotional and they will begin to expect a certain kind of content from you and most importantly, trust you.

Now, I keep saying author persona over and over again, you may be thinking well, what exactly is that? You may be thinking is that author brand? And yes sometimes these words are interchangeable but I like using author persona because again, community, it’s about connecting person to person. It’s about the kind of voice that you want to put out there. it’s about the kind of information that you want to share. For example, I write for middle grade so my son is also middle grade age and so I love sharing conversations I have with him, with my teenage son. I love the outdoors so I share my outdoor adventures, my biking, my hiking, my kayaking. And I love my two fat cats so yes, I post pictures about my cats as well. And I’m also adopted and that flows in to my writing, into my fiction and so I post things about that as well. This is all part of my author persona. So, think about those key words that fit you, that you feel comfortable using to portray the kind of author that you want to be and put yourself out there online.

So, why do you need an email list? Well, frankly it’s the only community list you own. You don’t own your social media followers but you do own your email list, again, your direct line to people interested in you, your community. Heck, what if Twitter or Facebook went away? How would you reach your community? Through email. Not long ago, authors could count on their Facebook pages to reach their reader audience that they built over time. But then, guess what, overnight Facebook changed everything and only a small percent of your fans on your page, now see what you post unless you buy ads.

So, when I comes to newsletter versus blogging, do you need both? No. But can you? Yes. Many authors do. It depends on how often you want to put yourself out there and with different content.

So, what platform do I recommend? Well, for a newsletter list, I recommend Mail Chimp, it’s free for up to 2000 subscribers and it really integrates well with other services and I also recommend Word Press for a blog and also for your website. It’s very search engine friendly. There’s lot of flexibility with creating it. it also has lots of different designs and plug ins and it has a great, great support community to help you.

So, be sure to promote your opt in to your blogger newsletter everywhere. Put it on your website banner. Put it in your email signature and your social media profiles. As you can see here, I have it on my website banner. I’m giving away a free story. Hey, send me my free story and, you know, they can sign up for my newsletter.

So, how can you start building your email list? Well, start with who you know. Once again, just like we did with social media, ask all of your friends and family to sign up. Ask them to share it. And here’s a tip, sending a personal email or a Facebook message asking them to sign up gets a much higher engagement response than sending a mass email to dozens and dozens of people and also offering that free story. I just mentioned on the page before here that free reader connect the story in exchange for subscribers. So, when I say reader connect, I mean create a story that will connect your readers to the kind of thing that you write. If you write fantasy, write a fantasy story. Offer a free story or a novella when they reach your site to sign up. If you don’t have one, write one. Maybe it’s a prequel story to your novel or look to your story archives or write a new story. Format it in a PDF and offer it to your readers. Any type of story that connects your readers to what you write is key. You could even convert a popular reader connect blog post in to a PDF, go to www.printfriendly.com and you can quickly create that post into a visually appealing PDF and your readers will get that when they sign up. So, again, add your opt in list everywhere, on your Facebook page, you can create a call to action, like here, sign up for my news or get my free story. Again, add that subscribe button on the home page of your website and post about it on your Facebook or your Twitter pages with a call to action and pin that post so it gets higher visibility, so, when new people come to your social media page on Facebook or Twitter, they will see that post first and they will like it, they even comment on it. You could even place it as URL, as they link in your Instagram profile. So, these are just ways that you can get your newsletter or your blog out there and start building your subscriber list.

So, what are some other ways that you can build your email list. Well, research again, what those successful, similar authors share with their readers on their blog or their website and model it with your own spin. Share what you love. This could be recent good reads, your favorite reading spot or a drink, maybe with a photo? Showcase a favorite author and recommend their books or better yet, interview them. Invite readers to engage, ask them at the end of your newsletter or your blog, what content they’d like to see in your next post. You could also share behind the scenes reports of your experience with the publishing process, your creative process, tips about writing or publishing or anything related to the content in your books. Exclusive content, maybe recipes, photos, personal information, stories or poems, breaking news about subject matter that could be in your book? Again, those interviews with other authors in your genre. Those book recommendations and reviews. This is all great content for your blog or newsletter. You could even run a contest. Have readers answer a question or share a story or a photo to win something and winners get announced in your next post. Share what you know. Do you have certain expertise in something? Are you the queen or king of pie making? Well, share your best pie recipe. Do people often ask for advice about some topic, share tips on it, share talent. Are you also an artist? I know so many authors who are also artists and I wish that was me! I mean, what an awesome combination right? Share your new techniques that you just learn, an art technique or include a photo where you do your art or maybe even include a recent painting or sketch. You could even do a giveaway with other authors, you know, as joint giveaways and offer extra entries for followers if they follow your blog or your newsletter. People spend a good part of their day on email so give them a reason to connect with you.

Step Four: How to band with other authors

So, step four in our five steps to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success, and we’re talking about banding with other authors whether you’re connecting online or in person. I’ve been so lucky to befriend many best selling authors online, and at conferences who want to help new writers. They’ve advised me, they’ve had me on their blogs as a guest, they’ve written blurbs for me, they pay it forward and some day you will too. Remember, this is all about community and you are an author now or you will be and you need to surround yourself with your author community. You are a member of the party now. Act respectful, professional and positive in reaching out to other authors and they will reciprocate. So, start with who you know, especially in your genre. Connect with those authors, on their website, on their blog, social media, ask for referrals for other authors that you could connect with. Promote them online. Share their social media posts. Conduct research, again, to find those other successful authors in your genre. Go to the Amazon page of an author in your genre that you already know. Click on their books and scroll down the page to see what books readers also bought like theirs, then hope on over to those book pages and check out those authors to see if they’re a good fit for you as well.

Another tip to do in these authors that are similar is read through their book description and their bio and their reviews, what words are used in their book summery and their bio. Pick up on the key words to inspire your own words. What are readers saying in the reviews? Pick up on those key words of things they love about the book and make a list of those words and phrases. This is language you will want to use in talking about your book to connect with potential readers.

Next, I mentioned this already but do a little friendly stalking of these authors. Check them out online, wherever they are. How are they framing their books? How do they engage with readers? How are their readers responding back? So, take what inspires you and create it in your own special way to connect with your potential readers. This is an ongoing research project. Remember, baby steps, baby steps, no need to get overwhelmed. You can do this, you know, every day or once a week, whatever it may be. But banding with other authors is a great way to connect with your potential readers and promoting them. And here I am in a picture with some of my favorite ladies, my favorite writing gals, we’re all writers and authors and we’re actually here promoting Kate’s debut and I’ve helped her with her author platform as well. So, we all came out to support her in person for the book launch of her debut book.

Talking about banding with other authors, invite authors as a guest on your blog, interview them, you know? Authors love to be interviewed and provide guest posts if they have time. It’s exposure for them and exposure for you and it’s content for your website. Engage on author’s blog posts. Post a useful comment, such as including a follow up question or praising something you liked in the post and why. Be sure to engage signed in to your best profile when you’re on these blogs like Google Plus or Facebook. You want to make sure that the profile you’re signed in to also includes your website or blog that people can see that link to and connect back with you. They may hop on over to your page and start following you. Not only will the author on the post also likely engage back on your thoughtful comment but readers may jump in and comment and again, hop on back over and follow you. You can connect with co-author blogs. Here’s when Here in the Jungle Read Writers, I’ve been super lucky to have been a guest on there. You can also even start your own co-author blog, you know? Find those other debut authors like yourself and put together a blog and start cross promoting each other and putting content out there.

And talking about those debut authors, when it comes to banding with other authors, find them, absolutely search online for debut author plus the year your book is coming out. Each year, new debut author groups are formed by genre or even mixed genre. Reach out to see if you can join their tribe. Offer to volunteer doing social media or putting together an event. Maybe you could run the blog or like I said, find events to do in person together. So, connect with other debut authors in your genre and cross promote each other, even before your book comes out through guest posts or early reviews or posting pre-order links. This is boosted promotion for you, it’s exponential promotion across all of their potential readers, their readers could be your readers and this is a great, free way to get exposure for you and for your book.

Step Five: How to position yourself as an expert

And here we are at the final steps, step number five in creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success. You don’t have to be a top expert to position yourself as one. And you don’t need to have a book out yet. You have valuable information to share that is younique to your experience. Find meaning and value in it to share to others so they can benefit. Don’t compare yourself to the top experts. You have that experience, that expertise to share and that’s where your audience will come to hear and come to expect from you. So, think about how you can share your experience, through personal stories, events, successes and the techniques that you have learned.

Again, you don’t have to have that book out yet to position yourself as an expert, your book is coming out and you have plenty of experience to share already, in the writing world, from your writing process to editing to writing for a certain market. And your experience and the professionals that you have been working with confirm your expertise, you know? Whether it’s working with an editor, an agent, a publisher or early reviewers. And remember guest blogging is a great way to get free promotion in with this and to position yourself as an expert.

So, where can you start with positioning yourself as an expert? Well, with all of those community connections you’ve been making along the way with these baby steps and again, guest blogging, free promotion can be the best. One are, again, to guest blog, you do have lots of value to share, you can talk about writing to writers or writing process or attending a conference. But also talk to your readership or potential readership too. Talk about the places in your manuscripts, creating characters, research, whether you blog on high traffic sites or a friend’s blog, again, being on someone else’s blog instantly positions you as an expert. Plus your blog will spread virally on the internet and you link back to these guest posts on your own site or your own blog. You can start conversations with people whom you may never had had the chance to meet and you’ll be able to extend your reach and your author brand through this leverage. So, another key thing to do is to find blogs that you can be a guest post on, is follow the Writers Digest top 101 Websites for Writers. Work your way through this list to connect with writers and build a strong community. Follow the best ones suited for you and engage on those blogs. Research their guest post policies and submit a request to write a guest post. This can really help, again, extend your reach, strengthen your brand. Write posts that are relevant, evergreen as they say. Posts that continue to remain relevant with content because then you can continue to re-share these posts and they will always be timely. They will always be relevant.

Social media is a great way to position yourself as an expert. You can use your social media accounts to position yourself as an expert, whether it’s Instagram, Pinterest, these are great places especially to create visual topics of interest in your book with information or tips or advice or personal stories about them. I mentioned this before, but you can create a Facebook group and invite readers to join in a discussion. Does your book feature an adopted child, are you adopted, are you an only child? Your book could be about the adopted life or raising an adopted child and all the questions that come along with it. Sharing useful tips and stories, a great place to get support and share and then when your book comes out, a great place to also promote that as well. You can create a YouTube channel with videos connected to themes that you write in.

And when it comes to positioning yourself as an expert in person, start small. Gain public speaking experience by asking your writer organization or other local ones if you can speak at your monthly meeting. This is exactly how I got started in public speaking. And to prepare for that in person audience, take notes at other presentations that you attended. Did they have a hand out, a PowerPoint, did they do an exercise? Was it quality information in a manageable chunk? Mimic what worked for you as an attendee to deliver your own passionate, quality presentation. Provide a survey to your audience. Gather emails for your newsletter or your blog and follow up with those positive responses to request a testimonial. If an author or someone of influence happens to be in your audience, follow up with them to see if they enjoyed the session. Thank them for attending and also ask them for a testimonial as well.

You can also pitch in person talks with local groups. Contact those local clubs and special interest organizations related to your book topics and pitch doing a talk to them.

So, we’ve covered the five steps to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success but here are some ways you can even go further, go the extra mile with these five steps.

When it comes to building best fit social media followers, follow Twitter chats on books on writing. Again, other places define those potential best fit readers. Check out www.twubs.com, I know it’s a funny sounding name, www.twubs.com. Check it out for hash tags and topics connected to your writing and books and see what people are chatting about and connect with them. Again, more best fit followers. Also, in connecting with readers, do a raffle copter book give away. I love doing this to build my best fit follower list. Go through your bookshelf, pull out those gently used same genre books that you write in, so if you write fantasy, you know, for middle grade, pull out some fantasy middle grade books, promote it on social media. It increases your best fit followers, also provide extra entries to follow you on social media or sign up for your blog and your news. So, raffle copter is a great way to get some more exposure for yourself, build your brand, get more best fit followers. It’s free, I’ve always used the free version of it, just go to www.rafflecopter.com and within minutes, you will have a giveaway going. It will be super, super fun. Also doing a joint give away with raffle copter with other authors is another way to even increase your reach and build those followers even quicker.

So, how can you go the extra mile when it comes to building that email list? Well, sign up for newsletters of authors in your genre or that you admire. Look at their headlines, their content, their giveaways. What appeals to you? What you can you replicate in your own way, on your own blog and in your own newsletter?

When it comes to banding with other authors and going the extra mile, ask co-author blogs in your genre if they’re excepting new members or even guest posts. There’s so many wonderful co-author blogs out there, you know, we talked about the Jungle Read Writers, they’re a group of mystery women writers. There’s a thrill zone, they write thriller, mystery and suspense. There’s so many different blogs out there, you can start going on these blogs, getting to know them, comment, sharing their post and as they get to know you and as your book comes out, you can ask them if they’re excepting new members.

And finally, when it comes to going the extra mile and positioning yourself as an expert, research book festivals, conventions, writing conferences in advance if you can, before your book comes out. You can submit to present and to be on panels. You could even come up with a panel topic. If there’s a set release date for your book, it’s a great way to pitch book conventions to speak on panels. It’s also a great way to get, you know, that public speaking experience, starting out small, talking with another group.

Ok, so to wrap up we talked about the five steps today to creating an awesome community of readers and writers for success, build best fit followers on social media, connect with readers, build your email list, band with authors, position yourself as an expert and remember all of this can be done in baby steps. It does not have to be overwhelming. It can be super, super fun and you can do it in your own timeframe. This is long term stuff. These are all things that I still do as an author now, everyday in my author career.

So, thanks for being with me today at the ALLi Indie Fringe event. I hope you’ve got the blueprint now for author platform success. I promised you a goodie at the end and here it is. You can head on over to my website, www.yourawesomeauthorlife.com/5stepblueprint and download the cheat sheet for this five step author platform system in a nice downloadable PDF. 

So, thanks again. I hope you’ve learned a lot. Feel free to email me with any questions at [email protected] and I’m wishing you all success with your publishing.


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Host Bio

Donna Galanti is the author of the paranormal suspense Element Trilogy and the children’s fantasy adventure Joshua and The Lightning Road series. She is represented by Bill Contardi of Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc. Donna is a contributing editor for International Thriller Writers the Big Thrill magazine and blogs with other middle grade authors at Project Middle Grade Mayhem. She’s lived from England as a child, to Hawaii as a U.S. Navy photographer. Donna enjoys teaching at conferences on the writing craft and marketing and also presenting as a guest author at elementary and middle schools. Visit her at www.elementtrilogy.com and www.donnagalanti.com. She also loves building writer community. Check out her 4 Proven Steps to Connect with Readers Right Now (Before Your Book Even Comes Out!): www.createyourawesomecommunity.com 

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