Bards Lost in The Metaverse Episode 32 - Building an Author Platform
In this episode, Sharn and Andy tackled one of the most important tasks for any aspiring author: building an author platform. It's not enough to just write a great book - you also need a solid platform to get it into the hands of readers. They shared their own experiences and insights from developing their own emerging platform. From social media to email marketing, they covered all the essential building blocks and encouraged others to come up with their own inventive ways to engage audiences.
But first, the news.
It’s Monday 1st May 2023, so a pinch and a punch for the first day of the month, and this is news with Sharn:
In Web3 and tech new this week:
In a major setback for Microsoft, the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) blocked the tech giant's proposed $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard on Wednesday. The ruling has halted what could have been the largest consumer tech acquisition in over two decades since AOL bought Time Warner. The CMA said the deal would stifle innovation and lead to reduced consumer choice as Microsoft already holds 60 to 70% market share of global cloud gaming. The ruling may prove a significant blow to Microsoft's ambitions to expand in the fast-growing European gaming market, but they will be appealing the decision so more is still to come.
William Shatner, known for his role as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series, has released an NFT collection called "Infinite Connections" in partnership with Web3 entertainment company Orange Comet. The collection features two sets of NFTs, Cosmic Explorer and Timeless Voyager, with Cosmic Explorer featuring a 3D Shatner avatar paired with artwork that explores scientific themes and includes a physical action figure of Captain Kirk. Timeless Voyager is a set of 2D artwork featuring future tech and the cosmos. The release aims to showcase the connection between art and science, with Shatner stating that "buried in those images are those philosophies." Shatner's intellectual curiosity was apparently a key component of the deal, with the Orange Comet CEO stating, "This is a man at 92 who is still inquiring, and still has an ability to learn and embrace technology and understanding what it could do."
Moving now to the world of Publishing:
The London Book Fair, held from April 18 to 20, has predicted the top five publishing trends for the next 12 months. Firstly, book prices will rise due to the increasing costs of paper and freight, according to HarperCollins CEO Brian Murray. Secondly, publishers are spending big on debut novels, buying books in auctions as well as buying in pre-empts that mean books are taken off the table before multiple bidders can make offers. Thirdly, sustainability was a big topic, with the industry discussing ways to mitigate its climate footprint. Fourthly, the cookery stars of the future are from social media, with publishers buying books by content creators and influencers. Finally, fantasy novels for all ages will be popular in the coming year, with many exploring myths and cultures from around the world.
Hachette Australia has been included in this year’s Best Places to Work Awards. Hachette ranked seventh in the Retail, Hospitality, Tourism and Entertainment category in the annual Best Places to Work Awards, published by the Australian Financial Review and Boss Magazine. The awards recognize the best places to work in Australia and New Zealand, and are judged by behavioural science consultancy Inventium. Hachette was recognised for initiatives such as salary banding, a learning library portal, a talent, performance and development tool, a mentoring program, safe leave policy and allowance for extra volunteer leave days, no meeting zones, and a work-from-anywhere January policy.
And that my friends, was news with Sharn.
Next up is a summary of the information covered during the episode:
Firstly, what is an Author Platform?
An author platform is the presence an author creates for themselves through various channels such as social media, blogging, public speaking, and other forms of publicity. Note: this includes both online and in the real world kiddies.
The goal of an author platform is to build a following and engage with readers, to establish an author's brand, and ultimately promote and sell your books. Having a strong author platform can be crucial to an author's success, as it can help them build a fan base and increase their visibility in the publishing industry.
So how do you build an Author Platform?
There are several key ways to do this which are recommended across the board by all the pro’s. So let's get into what they recommend, what we have done and our thoughts on it so far.
Author Mailing list/newsletter
Why you need one:
A mailing list or newsletter is the #1 tool every author needs according to the experts. It is a way for you to reach people who already know you or like your writing, and so it’s a crucial aspect of book marketing that you should set up as early as possible! Reedsy co-founder and in-house marketing expert Ricardo Fayet explains that “your author mailing list is the one main tool you’ll use to build a long-lasting relationship with your readers, turning them into repeat buyers and unconditional fans.
As an author, having a mailing list can offer several benefits, including:
Direct communication with readers: A mailing list allows authors to communicate directly with their readers, without relying on social media algorithms or other third-party platforms.
Increased engagement: Mailing lists provide an opportunity for authors to engage with their readers on a more personal level, which can increase reader loyalty and encourage them to purchase future books.
Targeted marketing: With a mailing list, authors can target their marketing efforts to specific groups of readers based on their interests, reading habits, and preferences. Its also worth noting that some of the applications will let you group subscribers based on their interests or specific things they have clicked on etc. So you can really narrow down your targeting.
Boosted book sales: Mailing lists can be an effective tool for promoting new book releases, sales, and special promotions, which can lead to increased book sales. because you have a direct line of communication with your customers/fans and don't have to wait for them to “find” your latest releases.
Valuable feedback: Mailing lists can also provide authors with valuable feedback from readers, which can help authors improve their writing and better understand their audience.
Overall, a mailing list can be a powerful tool for authors to build and maintain a strong relationship with their readers, while also promoting their books and increasing sales.
What have we done here at Invoke?
We have set up a mailing list/newsletter through Convertkit where we currently have 25 amazing subscribers. Convertkit like other newsletter applications offers more then just email management. It also has landing pages and even websites if you need them.
We currently have 1 newsletter instead of individual newsletters/mailing groups. There are several reasons we did this:
We are new so no need to go crazy at the start
save money as these are paid services
allows us to offer more to our subscribers then just one author
it seemed like a good idea at the time
We currently send out a newsletter weekly but keep it very simple and it's currently only really to let people know that new chapters of the books are out.
Why you need one:
It’s crucial for potential readers to be able to find you if they Google your name, and ideally they’ll land on a page you’ve curated to show off your work, like an author website or online profile.
The benefits, include:
Increased visibility: A personal website can help authors increase their visibility and reach a wider audience, especially if they optimize their website for search engines.
Control over branding: A personal website allows authors to control their branding and present themselves and their work in the way they want to be perceived.
Professionalism: A personal website can add an air of professionalism to an author's online presence and make them more appealing to readers, publishers, and literary agents.
Showcasing work: A personal website provides an opportunity for authors to showcase their work, including excerpts, book covers, and reviews, and can be an effective tool for attracting new readers.
Communication with readers: A personal website can also serve as a hub for communication with readers, through features such as contact forms, blog posts, and newsletter sign-ups.
Sales channel: An author can use their website as a direct sales channel for their books, selling them directly to their audience and retaining all the profits.
Overall, a personal website can be a valuable asset for authors, offering them increased visibility, control over branding, professionalism, and a direct line of communication with readers, while also serving as a showcase for their work and a potential sales channel.
What have we done here at Invoke?
We have our very own website, invokecreations.com woot woot. and spoiler alert soon to be a second website for AndyMacCreative.com
Our website hosts information about and links to:
A link to sign up to our newsletter
info about our books
information and links to Sharns music
information and links to Andys Art
information and links to this podcast
All the show notes
a hidden area where all our free chapters reside
another hidden landing page for when you sign up to the newsletter
And a really old and terrible picture of us in our about us section. I think Andy has hair!
It is due for an update and we are currently using Wix as our backend provider. But there are heaps and heaps of places.
Why you need to build a following on social media
Whether you enjoy it or not, having an engaged social media presence is crucial for a contemporary author's career and building an author platform. Reasons social media is so crucial these days include:
Increased visibility: Social media provides an opportunity for authors to reach a wider audience than they might otherwise be able to. With millions of users on social media platforms, authors can connect with potential readers from all over the world, increasing their visibility and reach.
Building relationships with readers: Social media allows authors to engage with their readers in a more personal way, creating a sense of community and loyalty. This can lead to more book sales and a stronger following.
Promoting your work: Social media is an effective way to promote your writing and showcase your work. Authors can share excerpts from their books, announce upcoming releases, and offer exclusive content to their followers, all of which can help to generate buzz and increase interest in their writing.
Connecting with other authors: Social media is also a great way for authors to connect with one another, share information and resources, and collaborate on projects. This can help to expand an author's network and open up new opportunities for growth and success.
Staying up-to-date: Finally, social media is an essential tool for staying up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in the publishing industry. Authors can follow agents, publishers, and other industry professionals on social media to stay informed and make informed decisions about their writing careers.
To establish yourself as a successful author, it is crucial to sell books, and social media can help you achieve that goal. In today's marketing landscape, connecting with potential readers on social media platforms is a key element of promotional campaigns. Therefore, maintaining an active presence on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook should be a top priority for writers.
What have we done here at Invoke?
We have a number of social media accounts for both Invoke and us as individual creatives. Our current active social media accounts include:
Sharn Lee - Author
Bards Lost in the Metaverse - @InvokeCreations
Andy Mac - @AndyMacCreative
Sharn Lee - @SharnLeeCreator
Publish articles online. Established and indie authors alike can benefit greatly from publishing articles in outside publications. Reach out to online outlets that specialize in your area of expertise and ask if you can write a guest post. If you’re an emerging or first-time writer without access to outside publishing platforms, you can try self-publishing on your own WordPress blog or on Medium or Tumblr. Having your articles published exposes you to new readers and can be helpful in extending the potential reach of your next book.
Explore other media ventures. If you're struggling with writer's block or facing difficulties in accessing conventional writing platforms, consider exploring other media avenues to broaden your horizons. Collaborate with other authors to create a podcast where you can discuss your craft or a topic that interests you. You can also host webinars related to your field of expertise. You never know which of these alternative media outlets might resonate with your audience.
Participate in Writer’s Workshops. Take part in writer's workshops, and then talk about them. This demonstrates your dedication to improving your writing skills and indicates that you have established connections with other writers, which could be beneficial in the future.
Attend Relevant Conferences. Talk about any Conferences you attend. This indicates your knowledge of the publishing industry, implies that you have sought guidance from agents, and are familiar with the process of pitching. Additionally, attending author panels suggests that you are well-prepared to speak on one if given the opportunity. But don't forget semi-related conferences or Conventions. From our experience there are always spots for authors at comic cons, games cons, local markets etc.
Offer value: Share valuable content that your target audience will find interesting and useful. This can include writing tips, behind-the-scenes glimpses of your writing process, or exclusive content for your email subscribers.
Engage with your audience: Respond to comments and messages, participate in online conversations, and attend book events to connect with your readers and build a community around your writing.
Consistency is key: Consistently produce quality content and maintain an active presence on your website, blog, and social media channels. This will help you build momentum and grow your audience over time.
Final wrap up
Overall, building an author platform is important as it establishes a presence, develops a following, generates interest in your work, increases opportunities, and supports your writing career. A strong author platform allows you to gain recognition and credibility, build a community, increase book sales, attract opportunities, and establish yourself as a professional writer. If you want to write for a living, this is essential regardless if you want to be traditionally published or indie. If you want to sell books, you’ve got to tell people about your books, and the more people know you the more books you’ll sell, and then the more likely you can end up writing full time as your profession :)
Remember its best SELLING author not best written book.
As always, we have a lot to do and a lot more to learn. Hope you all have fun following along as we improve our understanding and knowledge!
You can find this podcast episode (and all our other episodes) here: https://anchor.fm/invokecreations , or directly on your favourite streaming services.
NOTE: Everything discussed during the podcast is simply our own interpretation of information we come across as we research topics, or is commentary based on our own personal experiences. We highly encourage everyone to conduct their own research into topics of interest as information, especially in the technical space, changes regularly.
Music track featured this week was titled Spinning and can be viewed/listened to here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_cvsX_T0aI
To check out our latest art and music adventures, make sure you like and subscribe to both our Instagram account https://www.instagram.com/invoke_art/ and Youtube channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPH5KySvBnWgWPXHi_OtTng
Or, if you want to read some musing from Sharn and Andy, or maybe see some random pictures of the two of them where Sharn doesn’t know what to do with her hands, then follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/invokecreations
Or if everything is just too confusing and you can’t remember where all our stuff is, head to our website www.invokecreations.com and it will point you in the right direction.
As always, we’re off to put our bums on seats and do some work, so until next time stay dangerous!