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3 Ways to Grow Your Author Platform

Rose Atkinson-Carter

If you’ve done any research around publishing and marketing a book, you’ve probably heard the term “author platform” a lot. A vital part of the book launch process is building up your profile and reach. While you might already have the basics of an author platform (an author website, social media presence, and a mailing list) it can be hard to grow that budding following.

Here are three tips for growing your author platform organically and building up an online presence that will be attractive to publishers and readers alike.

  1. Turn your hand to other media

Having a pre-established relationship with a relevant audience is a great way of bringing readers onboard before you even publish your book. While it may seem like a risk to add other channels into the mix, diversifying your output (for example through a podcast or YouTube channel) has proven to be a winning formula for both fiction and nonfiction authors in gaining a foothold in the industry and building an author platform.

Consider creating content that is complimentary to your own writing. Publishing a science fiction series? Perhaps you could create a book club podcast or discord server discussing the best (and worst) of the genre. Anything that demonstrates your expertise or interest in the area you’re writing about will help build up your author platform and get you in front of the right eyes (or ears).

2. Share your platform with other authors — and vice versa

The best thing about books is that there’s no exclusivity clause; fans of one author are still going to be open to reading others, and therefore there’s no need to guard your audience from outside influence. In fact, collaborative marketing and cross-promotion is very much par for the course, especially in the world of fiction writing. 

Instead of going at it alone, it’s a good idea to pool resources by teaming up with fellow writers to share audiences and contact new relevant readers directly. This could be anything from a co-hosted livestream, to a newsletter feature swap, to simply sharing each other’s work via social media. 

The most important part of this method is to choose your collaborators wisely; make sure you’re approaching writers in your genre, whose readers will be genuinely interested in your work. You should also be reaching out to writers who are similar in size to yourself if you want a realistic chance of success — J.K. Rowling probably won’t accept your offer of writing a post for her blog or a newsletter swap.

3. Create unique lead magnets for your mailing list

A good newsletter is a key weapon in a writer’s arsenal. It’s a direct channel of communication with the people who are serious about your writing, and an impressive newsletter following can be a major selling point if you want to work with traditional publishers. But how do you actually encourage people to sign up? Just putting a signup form on your author website is a good start, but it’s not going to keep attracting signups over time. To really expand your author platform and bring in new and engaged subscribers, you need to get creative with your “lead magnets” — the perks that convince readers to hand over that precious email address.

Think about what would encourage you to sign up for a newsletter. Perhaps it’s a free prequel, expanded (or deleted) scene or even a free ebook. Even if you know your musings on writing are wildly interesting (and I’m sure they are), you need to provide something of demonstrable value first to your subscribers to reel them in.

Once you’ve got those sweet signups, you can continue to be creative with the regular email content you’re sending out — you can check out this excellent post for more ideas on how to keep readers engaged.

Rose Atkinson-Carter is a writer with Reedsy, a marketplace that connects authors with some of the world’s best editors, designers, marketers, ghostwriters, and translators. She lives in London.

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