A year ago, I published my first book, May This Be the Best Year of Your Life: A Memoir. It was a milestone in my life. After years of procrastinating, one of my lifetime dreams finally came true. I will never forget the day that I pressed the button on the CreateSpace website. After two years of writing and editing, my book was available to the public. Anyone who wanted to read about my life changing experience as an expat international teacher in India could order my memoir on Amazon.
My next step was finding ways to publicize my memoir and draw more people to my website. My growing list of social media contacts was called upon for help. Many strangers came to my aid. Some graciously allowed me to write a guest blog. Others willingly accepted a free book in exchange for an interview and book review. Within a matter of a several weeks, I was able to arrange a virtual book tour that helped to spread the work about my book. The virtual book tour simultaneously allowed me to link to other websites. Building my author platform was invigorating.
5 Lessons Learned While Building My Author Platform
I tried different means to improve my network of contacts. Some netted results while others had no effect. Who was my main audience? Was it educators, travelers, expats, middle aged women, people unwilling to step outside their comfort zone, Jews, people interested in memoirs, or others?
It was difficult to ascertain since my book delved into so many topics. Was I spreading myself too thin by trying to reach out to multiple networks? I was constantly evaluating my situation as the analytical data showed fluctuations in the number of visits to my site and the percentage of returning guests. Pinpointing a more defined audience remains a work in progress.
1- Author Platforms Need to Define an Audience.
Locating people who are willing to promote my book is a tedious process. A significant number of people chose not to respond to a first-time author. Follow up emails oftentimes were left unanswered as well. I persevered. I had to be careful not to be a pest. Within no time, I gathered a list of supporters who rallied behind me. I am grateful for their help. I hope that one day I can return the favor.
2- Appreciate Stranger’s Support.
Writing my book required daily dedication to the writing and editing process. Marketing the book mandated a new set of unfamiliar skills. I struggled. I tackled a very steep learning curve. Some of the marketing advice I read online and in books was helpful while other tidbits of information did little to improve my platform and marketing plan. It was a trial and error process as I continued to learn the ins and outs of different social media applications. A year and a half after starting this blog, I am still learning.
3- Patience is Required While Learning Social Media
The interactions I had during the interview process was the best part of the process. I thoroughly enjoyed answering the questions that people asked and hearing the feedback from the people who took time to read my book. After this positive experience, I have decided to reciprocate on a more regular basis.
4- Find Ways to Reciprocate.
Authors who would like an interview should click here to read my interview and review policy. The link provides basic information including the genres that I am interested in reading. Samples of previous interviews can be found on the right side of my webpage under Topics- Author Interviews. I have also reviewed books on Amazon and Goodreads.
I cannot accomplish building this new aspect of my platform without your help. I am reaching out to whoever reads this blog. If you know anyone who might be interested in an interview or book review please pass my link along. Word of mouth is a powerful tool.
5- Maintaining Connections is Vital.
I look forward to meeting and getting to know fellow authors through the interview and review process. I am also pleased that I will be able to share information about authors and new books with my audience.
Authors, don’t hesitate to contact me. I know how important it is to expand your author platform through a variety of social media contacts. Readers, I want to hear your feedback. Several times a month, would you like to read about a new book and be eligible for a book giveaway?
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.