The most important–no crucial–key to any author’s success is the platform. What the heck is a platform? It’s your (mostly) online and offline presence; it’s where your target audience of readers can easily find you and your books.
If you want to succeed as an author and never have to worry about money, then you must have a good author platform with an ample readership. This is coming from an emerging author who’s just learning the art of self-promotion: what works and what doesn’t.
Step 1: Create a blog or website.
Step 2: Update it 3-4 times a week with content that’s well written, unique, engaging and informative. Don’t be too overly promotional as that will work against you. Instead, give your books their own page, and make that page(s) visible to all who visit your blog. Example: this blog right here!
Step 3: Give your blog/website a title that is search engine friendly. Create tags and categories that compliment the content in your blog. It will make it much easier for Google to find your blog.
Step 4: Submit your blog to other major search engines for indexing.
Step 5: Write guest articles for other bloggers, encourage cross-promotion by following other blogs and commenting on them. When a blogger writes a lovely comment on your blog, always respond to it.
Step 6: Step 1 through 5 can take a heck of a long time to build a large readership, but don’t ignore these steps altogether because they are important building blocks for your author platform. You can’t succeed without them.
If you want to build a large readership faster–which you will–then you will have to pay for advertising. There is so much content on the web these days that simple SEO skills alone won’t bring you tons of traffic.
That said, you can hire someone to promote your blog for you without having to break the bank account.
I recommend you check out WL Marketing. They offer a slew of SEO and marketing services that range in price, from very reasonable to a little on the expensive side. This gives you the chance to choose any service within your budget range.
I just found this company last week, paid for two services–social bookmarking and RSS feeds. I must say, so far I’m incredibly impressed with these people. Whenever I emailed them, they’ve gotten right back to me and they are quite friendly. Definitely a company you will want to work with.
It all depends on you and how you want to build your author platform.
Here’s a link to other resources you will want to check out:
http://muckrack.com -For experienced journalists. However, if you don’t have the experience, but have the writing skills, sign up for an account, build your portfolio and network away. (I received this tip from renowned business journalist and blogger, Carol Tice at the SiWC this past weekend).