What exactly is an “author platform”?
You’ve heard that term, right? It’s a trending buzzword among authors and publishers. Whether you’re targeting a traditional book deal or are pursuing an independent publishing opportunity, the near-magical concept of an author platform is probably tickling your brain. There’s good reason for that — author platform may now be the most important factor in determining what projects that agents and editors decide to represent and publish.
In the simplest of terms, your author platform is your reach or sphere of influence as an author. Your platform is a combination of different components such as social media, previous book and media readership, current reader base, and then additional qualities such as your expertise, personality and the ability to execute.
What tool does Booklaunch offer that can improve your author platform the most?
Some authors hype the importance of their social media channels. Others regale us with tales of their blog or website. Both are valuable assets within the composition of your author platform. But their value is dwarfed in comparison to the true linchpin component of author platforms: the email list. Here’s why:
Email remains a one-to-one medium. Sent from you to your reader, email constitutes a personal bond. If someone gives you permission to email them, then he or she is investing trust in you to respect that trust and deliver value. As our attention spans splinter at ever faster rates in ever increasing dimensions, the trust and promise of value placed in email magnifies. Consequently, email is the last safe-haven for focused attention online.
Email remains the most intimate manner of communication online. Why? Because inboxes remain the last great refuge for privacy. Social media accounts are public. Blog posts and comments are public. Podcasts and YouTube channels are public and largely one-directional. Email is different.
With the potential of email available to you to grow your readership, how do you harness it?
Start with offering valuable content for free in exchange for permission to deliver that value through email. On your blog or website, include a featured sign-up for whereby readers can subscribe to receive great content from you.
The legacy approach of delivering value via email is to broadcast your blog content to your email subscribers. Convenience and overcoming “the fear of missing out” is the value proposition of this approach. It works. But if you really want to capitalize on the potential of email, then set your sights higher.
Smart authors deliver rare content via their email list. Numerous options exist:
- A free chapter of your book
- An un-published chapter
- Bonus artwork
- A guide or workbook that aligns with your book
- An X-part email series that expands upon a core concept from your book
When it comes to what you can provide to your email subscribers, your imagination is your only limitation. That said, there are standard best practices that you absolutely should not ignore:
- Never sell, license, or otherwise share the email addresses you collect
- Never manually add email addresses into your list without permission
- Always give your subscribers the option of unsubscribing
- Deliver value versus selling something in a 10:1 ratio (at least)
- Make your emails easy to read on mobile devices
- Send your emails when you say you will (inconsistency kills)
- Don’t preach; use your email list as an opportunity to have a conversation
To ease and automate this email delivery, you should sign up with an email service provider. We recommend MailChimp — amazingly beautiful and easy to use interface, FREE to start using. We actually have a very nifty integration for you to connect your Booklaunch account with your MailChimp account.
Is your email list really THAT important to your author platform? YES! Fiction and non-fiction authors alike need to be developing their email lists. Email isn’t the latest, shiniest technology. But it remains the gold standard for peer-to-peer communication. Bottom-line: if you’re not growing your email list, your author platform is behind the times. Get started now. Booklaunch.io can help.
Email capture is a powerful tool, and is now available for Booklaunch premium users. Free-tier users can upgrade to premium from the dashboard or pricing page.
Additional premium-only features are the ability to create custom domains, integrate with tools like Google Analytics, Mailchimp and Gumroad, and the ability to remove Booklaunch branding on your page.
Links from the Booklaunch Help Pages that may be of interest: