Secrets of the Writer's Trade
Basic Elements of a Strong Publishing Platform
As nonfiction book writers, we all need to develop a healthy, ongoing relationship with our readers. This doesn't mean we engage in a push-push-push of our precious ideas upon a bunch of paying consumers. It means we establish a meaningful exchange with our readers based on value and purpose.
We are the servants of our natural audience. Who are they? What do they need? In what forums—and forms—are they willing and able to hear from us? By determining those points of contact, we are identifying the building blocks of a strong marketing platform. This is the bridge to readers.
The basic elements of a publishing platform today include:
·Website: A central hub on the Internet to announce your activities and appearances, define your services, post your biography or resume, sell products, and send emails. It doesn’t cost much to set up and maintain a website nowadays. Some organizations offer you free ones along with membership or to stimulate your prospective business.
·Newsletters: A regular correspondence—perhaps weekly, biweekly, or monthly—with your target audience that promotes an ongoing relationship with them. Keeps relationships fresh and helps to establish your brand identity. These can be sent by “snail mail” (US Postal Service), by email, or by both means. Many services are available to help you design a graphic template and develop a consistent style.
·Writing articles/columns: Like a newsletter, a column can help you to foster a relationship with readers. It establishes your presence as an expert in your field, and helps people find you. And in writing it, you’ll develop confidence and clarity.
·Seminars/appearances: Wherever you present your ideas, you can sell books at the back of the room. It’s also a fantastic place to test material and gain feedback. Some speakers earn huge fees, whereas others charge nothing. If you need to broaden your readership, lecturing in front of new audiences can attract many to enter your realm. To get invited to speak at a conference or before a group may involve reaching out to your network of personal contacts—friends, family, business associates, and so forth—or you may have to apply through formal channels (most organizations have websites today, but you can also phone and ask the correct procedure).
·Publicity (print, radio, TV): Publicity is golden because it enlarges your sphere of influence, establishes your expertise, and gives you an opportunity to sell books. Pitching journalists and publications to do features on your activities or cite your opinions is similar to building connections with anyone else. First, you want to understand them and their interests. Then you want to build a bridge that leads them to your subject matter. You have to be willing and creative enough to modify and target your message to their needs. Ask: "What do you need for your show (your article, and so forth)?" When you're pitching the media, also remember to tie your work into holidays, anniversaries, special events, and the missions of like-minded organizations. Alignment is the key!
·Blogging: The Internet provides many avenues to promote your work for little or no cost. Among the easiest is to create a blog (“Web Log”). Blog hosting sites make it easy to get started by providing you templates that give you choices of color, layout, and basic features, like a personal profile. Often this is free of charge to you. If you choose, you can allow advertising and make some cash.
·Podcasting: Like a blog, this is a letter or essay sent to cellular phone or electronic notepad users—a great way to keep in touch, especially with younger readers.
Ideally, you’d like to cover all your basics. Some platform elements require the expenditure of money, and others do not. You can expect to need at least a modest budget to cover your own marketing efforts (as opposed to the efforts of your publishers, who may or may not spend much money on promoting your books). With careful planning and by seizing opportunities, you may be able to get a tremendous bang for your bucks.
By Stephanie Gunning
Stephanie Gunning is a bestselling author, editor, and publishing consultant with 20+ years’ experience in the book business. Her A-list clientele includes bestselling authors, major publishing firms, top caliber literary agencies, and innovative self-publishers. One of the most sought-after nonfiction writers in the publishing industry, she is the coauthor or ghostwriter of 16 published books and the audio program Partner With Your Publisher. For more information visit: http://www.StephanieGunning.com/ and http://www.Publishing-Partner.com/ . Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Stephanie_Gunning