platformThere are two terms bandied about in the freelance writing game that are fairly recent and subject to all hype and confusion. They are author platforms and authority sites.

Author platform

The term, author platform, most often refers to people who are writing books – both fiction and nonfiction. The author platform is a recent creation of what’s left of the traditional book publishing industry.

Essentially, trade publishers insist on authors whose following can be quantified. The writer who has an email list of 10,000, at least as many twitter followers and is recognized by many on Facebook and other social media is much more desirable than a writer who has very little visible presence. Even better is the author who has all of this plus can command a high speaking engagement fee because they are well-known.

The reason trade publishers want this is because it’s much easier to sell a book written by someone who has a following and whose name is recognized then to sell one written by an unknown.

We could spend a great deal of time pointing out the fallacies of this is as the most important criteria, but there’s no point. At least today publishers demand an author platform.

To be sure it doesn’t have to have the numbers I used in the example, the publisher needs to know they have a ready-made audience to sell to.

Start your author platform now

If you have the vaguest notion you may want to write a book or two you probably should start building your author platform now. It takes a serious investment in time to create a platform publishers will appreciate. The good news is that even if you don’t write a book, your platform can be the basis of finding your audience.

Be warned that there are scams out there promising to build an authority site for hundreds and thousands of dollars. While it can be helpful to hire an expert, you shouldn’t do that is the first thing. Instead spend some time searching the term author platform. You’ll soon find sites that tell you what you want to know and can point you in the right direction so you can begin to build your author platform even before you start to write the book.

Authority site

An authority site is a website that has excellent content about a particular topic that people come to trust. As a result the author becomes a recognized authority.

Of course, a recognized authority can start a website and get similar results. If you know a particular topic – whether it’s raising goats or stitching quilts – and you create a good website around that, with proper marketing you become a recognized authority

Simpler to say than to do

Both author platforms and authority sites are easier to talk about than to actually create. They can be an integral part of a marketing strategy and can provide solid support for freelance writing career.

Part of the talk about needing a niche to write about is actually driven by the recognition that author platforms and authority sites can be critical to success.

I think most freelance writers need an authority site on some subject in addition to their professional site. Setting up a blog and buying an appropriate domain name is pretty easy and inexpensive. In fact the price of entry is now low enough so if you start a blog on scrapbooking and find several years later you’ve tired of it you can either sell it or let it go. I have several domains that I started and have sold and several I may get back to some time or not.

Just as with other platforms there are some real scams out there promising you’ll make tons of money if only you invest with the XYZ company so they can build you an authority site. Ignore these. Instead sense of time reading about authority sites. You’ll soon get a sense of what works but was likely to work for you.

Do you have an author platform and/or an authority site? Give us a link in comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image

{ 2 comments }

simple marketing ideaI’m still surprised at how many emails I get from writers that give me no way to contact them other than by replying to the email.What if I want to call them? Or look at their website? I’m stuck.

Creating an email sig or signature is a simple marketing idea that you can complete in 10 minutes or less and use forever.

A marketing goal

One of the goals of marketing of your freelance writing and yourself as a writer is to make it as easy as possible for potential clients to contact you. An email signature does exactly that.

I can hear some of you asking, “why do I need more than an email for them to contact me with?”

Suppose, for example, someone handed your email message to the person who needed a writer. Yes email gets printed and handed around. In order to contact you the person reading it has to figure out what your email address is. They then have to enter it in an email to you. We all know how often that can get communication scrambled.

In this example the person probably would have rather called you on the phone to discuss a potential project. If your email signature listed your phone number you’d be making it much easier for her to get in touch. [click to continue…]

{ 4 comments }

Freelancing Means No Paid Sick Days

February 17, 2015

Last wednesday evening I noticed my throat was scratchy. I woke up Thursday morning and knew I was doing nothing for at least a couple of days but take extra good care of myself.. By Saturday morning my throat had eased considerably, but the bug had devolved into a nasty head cold. Today I’m better, and […]

Read the full article →

Secrets You Can Use to Keep Your Writing Resolutions

February 10, 2015

 By Allison VanNest of Grammarly.com The first month of the new year is over, and as we clutch the remnants of our New Year’s resolutions about our shoulders like tattered shawls, let’s talk about what it takes to turn a resolution into a lasting habit. In other words, how can you keep your writing resolutions. What did […]

Read the full article →

10 Ways Writers Can Beat Self Promotion Fear And Market Themselves

February 5, 2015

Self promotion and marketing are essential if a freelance writer is going to be successful. Yet many freelancers hesitate to market themselves and their writing. Often they simply find other things that are “more important to do” the market themselves. Some recognize that they choke up with fear when they start to take action on marketing […]

Read the full article →

How to Create A Writing Schedule For Your Book

February 3, 2015

Once you’ve Visioned your book, written its Purpose and created a Working Table of Contents, you’re ready to figure out exactly when you’re actually going to get your book written. You need a writing schedule for your book. Even if you’re able to treat writing your book as a full-time job, your life will be […]

Read the full article →

How to Create A Marketing Plan For Your Freelance Writing Business

January 29, 2015

Most writers recognize the need to market themselves and their writing and most will admit to having trouble developing a marketing plan and sticking with it. Some are stuck in the idea that they hate marketing and seem unwilling to get off that. But most just aren’t clear about what kind of marketing they can […]

Read the full article →

The Secret to Writing The Table of Contents For Your Book

January 27, 2015

Once you have your Vision and a 10 word Purpose Statement you really know what you’re book is all about. Consciously and unconsciously ideas are accumulating. Now it’s time to begin to organize the information you’ve got in your head and/or determine what sort of research you need to do. If you love to outline this […]

Read the full article →

Why No Freelance Writer Should Hate Marketing and What to Do if You Do

January 22, 2015

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard writers say, “… but I hate marketing!” In fact, I’ve been known to say it myself, at least I used to. Maybe it’s no wonder we tend to actively dislike the whole idea of marketing ourselves and our writing. After all, we’re all subjected to tons of […]

Read the full article →

Your Book Needs a 10 Word Purpose Statement

January 20, 2015

When you do a Visioning for your book, you’re opening up to wider possibilities. The Purpose Statement helps you hone that vision to the laser-like focus you need to get your book written. When you couple vision and purpose you’ll have a book that says exactly what you want to say, with clarity, clear organization and […]

Read the full article →