Author Topic: Where to begin with an author platform?  (Read 8091 times)

Offline Aevin

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Where to begin with an author platform?
« on: March 02, 2018, 11:59:58 AM »
I keep seeing people talk about the importance of an author platform. For my part, I'm starting completely from scratch here. As an unpublished author seeking agents, how important is an author platform? Could it really help my chances?

Where do I even begin? What social media sites are ideal for this? What kind of content should I be sharing? Is it absolutely essential to have a website? I hardly have the funds for such a thing ...

I have to admit I'm completely in the dark here. Are there some credible articles that could help me on the way? Can anyone offer me some advice?

Offline koji

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Re: Where to begin with an author platform?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2018, 12:13:01 PM »
If you are writing in fiction (I believe you said you are MG, right?) a platform is not as important as the writing.

1) Some agents will help you build your platform, others will not. This might be something you take note of when deciding who you want to query.
2) A website for an unpublished author can be very basic, almost like a business card website. You can purchase a domain name for about $5/year, get cheap hosting (or free), and use free WordPress themes to build your website for very little money.

My website: cost $10 for the domain (yearly) and the hosting is part of my husband's hosting, which he pays around $50/month, but hosts several active sites (I think at the moment we have six, and still have room for more).

3) As far as what to put on a website, I just asked this on #askagent on twitter today and was told that agents prefer clean sites that focus on your writing. Not a lot of bells and whistles. Don't bother with professional headshots. But do link to your writing and/or have some samples up as well as some info about what brought you to writing.

At the moment, my content includes a pseudo-query of my WIP (with a visual board), and a blog that has some reviews of books I am reading (as well as what aspects of them I want to try in my own writing), some short stories, and a few writing updates.

Websites are actually one of my passions, and I am starting a blog about author websites at I discuss content strategy and technical site issues. (But if you have specific questions, I am happy to talk about them here).

4) You do not need a website, but you may want to be active on Facebook and/or twitter. I find twitter super valuable for finding other writers and understanding agents. I haven't started building a platform there yet, though.

5) If you DO have a website, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to collect a mailing list. This will help you let people know when you do get published, so you can promote your book.

Basically, if you write fiction, don't sweat it. Just try not to alienate people if you are active on social media, because that will come back to bite you when you do get published.

Offline mafiaking1936

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Re: Where to begin with an author platform?
« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2018, 06:40:43 PM »
Hey koji, your post inspired me to purchase my own .ink domain! $16 for the domain and hosting for the first year, can't beat that deal. It's very sparse and utilitarian compared to yours, but at least I can now say i have a "platform." Thanks!
« Last Edit: June 06, 2018, 06:46:51 PM by mafiaking1936 »

Offline koji

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Re: Where to begin with an author platform?
« Reply #3 on: June 07, 2018, 12:53:05 AM »
That's awesome. I am really hoping that writers win the ".ink" domain-war. (Not that there IS a war, but .ink is used by writers and tattoo studios most often.)