Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Writing For Your Online Platform

Promotion is all about getting your name "out there". If readers keep seeing your name come up while they're surfing there's a chance they may be curious enough to buy your book when they walk into a bookstore and see your name yet again.

Some authors choose to build a platform around educating other writers and many can provide excellent advice on how to write and/or negotiate the publishing realm. It's all very well marketing to other writers since writers love to read, but think outside the box too - what do your other potential readers want to know? Haul out the research you did for your book. If you wrote a cosy mystery around a quilting circle, write articles about quilting, post any patterns you created for your characters or links to patterns you found online, and post the recipe for the Death by Chocolate dessert that your victim was killed over (sans cyanide, of course). If you researched sixteenth century Eastern European culture for a historical novel, post a list of little known facts, link to pictures of costumes from that period, and write about the politics, or the jobs people did, or the harshness of the legal system at the time.

The idea is to think backwards: if someone is interested in fly fishing and finds your article on tying the perfect fly, they may be intrigued that you wrote a literary novel centred around the deep philosophical insight gained on a fishing expedition. Likewise, with the holidays coming up, someone searching for gift ideas for golfers might consider a novel featuring a golfer who solves gritty suburban crimes to be a more interesting gift than a book on perfecting your swing.

As you saw in the previous post, Wikipedia is one of the most reliable sites on which to have your profile. It is not, however, ideal for publishing content. If you choose to help edit pages or create new information pages, your expertise is not directly credited to your name so the promotion currency is lost. Also, Wikipedia discourages publication of original research or linking to your own content.

Hopefully this has given you some starting points for brainstorming your approach to developing the content that will build your online platform. Do you have any tips of your own to share with us?

Using Web 2.0 Content Sites to Expand Your Platform
Building an Online Platform to Promote Your Books

Elsa Neal Elsa Neal was one of the early adopters of Squidoo after it came out of Beta and has been actively involved in the community as a Squid Angel and a Top 100 Giant Squid. She has more recently been experimenting with HubPages. She can also be found on her own website or sharing her writing insights at her Fictional Life Blog.

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  1. Excellent advice, Elle. This whole series has been so helpful. Thanks for putting it all together for us.

  2. Wow- that was an eye opener. I don't know why I didn't think that way? Of course if you write on your blog about writing you will get writers visiting. You are so right about thinking about the platform you want to build.

  3. Oh my heck! Of course!
    Thanks! I really needed that. I'll start useing my research as blog posts.

  4. Excellent advice. Now to haul out that research... and make that web page too.

  5. Good advice. I wonder, is it good to have a blog for each book so that you can have each one topic specific? Or do you just drop the old blog and move onto the new one when the new blog comes out?

    Straight From Hel

  6. Maryann,
    You're welcome. I'm glad it was helpful.

    If you started a blog focused on offering lesson plans and discussion topics based on Mmele and your other books, you could probably get teachers using it as a resource and buying the books to go with it. Who knows, it might lead to schools in SA picking it up...

    Jack and Sheila,
    Writers do so much interesting research; it's a shame for it to languish in your files when there are others who would be interested in reading what you discovered.

    Good question. I'm going to answer that as a another post because it's really relevant to building a platform that attracts interested readers.

  7. Thanks Elsa, I write historical romance. You've given me some great idea for future blog posts.

    Steamy Darcy

  8. Elsa thanks for the great idea. I'm definitely going to start working on that. Can any one suggest a free website place that is easy like blogger?

  9. Lauri, I recommend WordPress over Blogger.

    Enid, You're welcome.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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