Building a Platform

Building a platform is all about getting stories up on the ebook sites and letting readers know they are there.

First, it is a given, that the books are good stories edited to remove typos, with attractive covers and blurbs that attract readers.

Then comes marketing, which seems to be all about blogging, commenting on other blogs with links back to your own blog and your book list, and tweeting.

I personally believe Word of Mouth is the best marketing available, along with writing the next story, publishing it, and writing another story. Dean Wesley Smith covers this in detail on his site and I recommend every author learning Indie Publishing should visit Dean’s site  at least once a week.

Then along came Amanda Hocking and John Locke. They both sold a lot of books so I looked into how they did it. They both use Twitter. They both blog. They both write shorter fiction than I do. They both write more stories each year than I do.

I looked at writing 30K to 60K stories, and decided by dropping subplots, I could write shorter stories, thereby publishing more each year, and building my backlist.

I investigated using Twitter and think I understand it.

I looked at how John Locke writes his blogs, and have to admit I do not like how he manipulates readers into purchasing his books. Sorry, but using emotive words to entice others to purchase something is manipulation, if subtle.

I will not do that. I will state honestly that I loved or liked a story, or a character. I would rather the readers make up their own mind if they want to read the sample and purchase the ebook.

Than a friend sent me a link to an article by Robin Sullivan on using social media to help build a platform  without feeling like promoting my books every time I tweeted.

If you feel uncomfortable marketing, then read the article. It is good.

I looked at Robin’s blog, and discovered another good article on the difference between Create Space Vs Lightning Source.  If you are not at the stage to think about POD publishing, then bookmark the page, so it is available when you are ready.

So what do you think? Great article on how to build a platform. Feel comfortable building your platform by just connecting with other tweeters?

I think it is comforting to know I don’t have to use emotional words to attract readers?


15 comments so far

  1. Angela/Curiocat on

    I haven’t read Locke’s book yet but I agree with you. I do not want to manipulate anyone for any reason period. I find that abhorrent.

    However, I do love the idea of conversing on Twitter with friends, HTTS students (usually one and the same) and others who share my interests. This method is win, win for me.

    Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!

    • D J Mills on

      You are handling Twitter the correct way, by making friends. Keep it up. 🙂

  2. Shayne on

    So far I’ve read the first half of Locke’s book, but haven’t had a chance to finish it, so I might not have got there yet, but what do you mean by ’emotive words’? I mean, I think I get the definition, except I don’t understand how their use is manipulative.

    • D J Mills on

      Finish the book. You should underestand then. 🙂
      Also, if you want to learn how to sell using emotion, read a book on copywriting. It will explain how to use emotion to make a sale.

      • Shayne on

        I have no interest in manipulating people – I don’t like it when people try to do it to me, so I wouldn’t do it to anyone else.

        And I will finish it eventually, but I don’t have time right now, and I was hoping to get your opinion before that. 🙂

      • D J Mills on

        Me neither on the manipulating process, so OK, this blog is my opinion. 🙂

  3. Lisa on

    Hi Diane, great post with some really helpful links in it which I’ve bookmarked! I’m like you, I don’t want to do a hard sell to get people to read my books. I’d rather be myself and interact with them in a friendly and helpful way and let their own interest propel them towards my books.
    How is everything going for you on the marketing front?

    • D J Mills on

      It is amazing how much good free information is on the web, so glad this lot helped you.
      As for marketing, I don’t. Word of mouth is going slow and steady, with a bump each time I add another book to the list.

      • Lisa on

        Yay! Good for you, slow and steady with a bump is great. 🙂

        I was reading John Locke’s ebook, and one thing he mentioned about his blog posts is that he DOESN’T like to have a hard sell in them or manipulate people into buying his books. His aim is simply to write meaningful, timeless posts that relate in some way to his target audience (and he’s defined his target audience so he knows who he’s writing for). His posts are designed to be as relevant in the future as they are when he writes them.

        I’ve read the examples he’s given in the book – I haven’t been to his site ‘cos goodness knows there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I’d like to do! – and I have to say nothing came across as a hard sell in the three samples he provided. Sure, he mentioned his character once or twice, but it didn’t come across to me as manipulative.

        So far, I’m enjoying his ebook and it’s giving me lots to think about.

  4. garridon on

    I’ve generally not liked discussions on platform in the past. They’re usually done by people writing non-fiction who proceed to tell fiction writers they need a platform — then detail how they did it as if it could be applied to a novel writer. These guys have a book written about their business topic, and they’re in the same business — that’s their platform. It doesn’t translate to fiction.

    James Scott Bell, a novelist — think it was in his recent eBook — mentioned how a fiction writer could use a platform. If you have something in your books that’s your specialty, that’s your platform. That made me think about mine. I always have evocative settings that become characters in the story. I also have more complex storylines with lots of non-violent action. So I’ve been thinking on how to bring these into play. Some of my blog posts have reflected this direction.

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks for stopping by, and yes, I like your idea to include settings as part of your platform.

  5. Texanne on

    This topic has created more buzz and angst in the forum than anything I can remember. I do think Twitter is a great tool/toy, and I get on it two or three times a week. There are some nice folks there, and they share their thoughts. There are also a number of folks who are clearly there just to pimp their blogs. (Did I use “pimp” correctly?)

    Thing is, your Twitter profile can have a link to your blog. If someone is funny or interesting or confusing to me, I’ll go to their blog without being solicited to do so. The bots are obvious and odious. A tsunami practically washes away Japan, and the “read my blog, buy my book” auto tweets just keep coming. Argh.

    You know what? I think it would be a lot of fun, a year from now, for us to put together a collection of our experiences with promotion and sales.

    Thanks for posting, Diane. Great ideas, and cool links. :)TX

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks Tex, always glad to hear your take on any process. 🙂 Also glad you like the links.

      There is so much good advice out there hidden amoung the myths and lies, I love to discover the good advice articles and direct the HTTS grads to the sites.

  6. Lisa on

    Hi Diane, I found something connected to this post which you might be interested in.
    Have you ever heard of Klout? I hadn’t either until I read about it on a blog I’m subscribed to. Klout tracks your social media performance and scores you on different things like: overall online influence; the size of your audience and how likely your content will be acted on, just to name three items.
    You can find them here:

    • D J Mills on

      Thanks for the link.

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