One year ago, I started my website. It was a major turning point in my writing career. It was the first step in building my author platform. All modern writers need a platform. I read countless books and blogs that professed to know the ins and outs of building an author platform. All insisted that I had to establish a platform before my book was published. Did I have to forestall the publishing of my book, if my platform was too weak? My head was spinning. I had so many questions and few answers.
- How would I start building my social media presence?
- In addition to my website, did I need Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, etc?
- What would I write about?
- How much time would I devote to my platform?
- Would it be a costly endeavor?
- Who would follow me?
- How long would it take to build a viable platform?
A year later, I am proud of what I’ve accomplished. Is my platform complete? The answer is no. It is still a work in progress, but heading in the right direction. The more I interact with other sites and individuals, the better I feel about my prospects. I welcome others to connect with me. Ultimately, I hope that anyone who enjoys my site will consider buying May This Be the Best Year of Your Life.
Beginnings are always filled with apprehension. I relied on the assistance of my first web designer to launch the site. After a few months, she opted to close her well respected web design business and move into the corporate world. I was overwhelmed as I hunted for a replacement. I panicked the day I added the new administrator. My website magically disappeared except for my blogs. Everything that the initial designer had done was erased by the press of a button. For a few hours, I was frantic. Fortunately, the site was backed up by the server. With a press of another button, it reappeared. I learned to take the unexpected in stride. Over the next few month, other tech issues arose. Each was annoying, but ultimately addressed.
Expanding Social Media Networks
All social media experts agreed on one point. Each aspect of social media had to be taken gradually. Diving into everything at once is too overwhelming. Piece by piece, I added the spokes. I started asking people join my existing LinkedIn account. Once I felt comfortable with that endeavor, I added my Author Facebook page. Little did I know that the one I created had limited functions. People could LIKE me, but I could not reciprocate. Ugh! A second Author Facebook page became my hub for reciprocating LIKES and joining groups. Each had its own purpose. My son Adam, the maven at BornFitness, insisted that Twitter and Google+ were essential.
I balked at the thought of adding more social media. Twitter seemed absurd. What could you possibly say with 140 characters. Why was Google+ necessary?
Within a few months, I was building my platform on both and appreciating what each had to offer its patrons. Goodreads entered the scene after my book was published. In retrospect, I should have considering joining before the book was published. But then again, I barely had time to join when I did. Numerous Goodreads book giveaways promoted my book. Disappointingly after 5 contests, only 1 person took the time to write a review.
Thanks to the amazing people who have connected with me. Many total strangers eagerly participated in my first virtual book tour in January. I could not have accomplished this feat without my website or social media.
Starting from ground zero, I struggled with trying to locate my audience. May This Be the Best Year of Your Life has a diverse audience that includes domestic and international educators, international travelers, people interested in India, expats, Jews, people facing challenging decisions, memoir readers, and adventure seekers. Was it possible to attract such a diverse audience to my site? What type of articles would appeal to this enormous group of people? I experimented. Some article were more popular than others. I continue to struggle with getting people to comment. Part of that was caused by tech issues with the comment box and part is a byproduct of being a newbie. I’d love to interact with my audience. Please don’t be shy.
I never thought that I would become addicted to social media. It gobbles up a huge chunk of time as I eagerly await responses and check for the latest tweet. Writing and reading continue to be my main focus.Nevertheless, engaging in social media allows me to step away from the solitude associated with reading and writing and interact with others.
I purchased a few ebooks and took a few seminars so that I could understand the basics of building an author platform. Some information came from free online sites. The biggest expense revolves around the development and maintenance of my website. Even though I went with a simple WordPress template, professional services add up. I wish that I had the tech expertise, but I don’t. I have no choice but to rely on professionals.
Each time I look over the statistics on Google Analytics and Stat Counter, I am delighted to see the diversity of my audience. On any given day, I have people from around the world looking at my website. I wish my followers would take the time to comment or return on a regular basis. I’m just pleased that you’ve found me. Please consider making a quick comment the next time you visit.
Reaching My Goal
This website is a work in progress. I’m trying to find my niche and meet the needs of my audience. It would be helpful to know which articles you enjoy. Had I fully comprehended the complexity of social media, I probably would have started the journey to build my author platform sooner or forestalled the publication of my book. It is not possible to rewrite my social media history. I must continue to strive to improve my author platform. I look forward to joining hand-in-hand with my growing audience to accomplish this goal.