Six local authors join the original writer to re-tell a story written more than twenty years ago. Read In a Rosedale Garden and experience a mystery that transports you to the post-war era of the 40’s and 50’s when a family tragedy buries secrets for future generations to find. Then read Through a Glass, Darkly, where the same story takes on twists and turns from the six authors. This collaboration illustrates the difference between material written in a gentler time and that of the 21st century.
Six members of Brockville’s writers group Writers’ Ink accepted a challenge to write a book together. Writer’s Ink co-founder Anne “Bunty” Loucks wrote a novel titled In a Rosedale Garden over 20 years ago. Although it was released as a newspaper serial, it was never published as a book. The challenge accepted by the authors was to use In a Rosedale Garden as the plot, and each author would re-write their own chapter in their own style. The result is a novel titled Through a Glass, Darkly. Both novels have been combined together and published in one book. The book is titled In a Rosedale Garden but it also contains the author collaborative titled Through a Glass, Darkly.
Consider your platform to be the method (or methods) you will focus on to connect with people. Consider your reach to be the number of people you connect with through your platform. If your book is a technical “how-to” manual or a cook book, you may have a completely different platform approach than someone with a poetry book or a romance novel.
If you are writing a cook book, your platform might include:
Become the teacher or guest instructor at the local cooking school.
Film a few YouTube videos of you making your recipes.
Hold a monthly sampling at the local gourmet food shop and serve samples of your signature recipe.
Select and visit a gourmet food store or local butcher each week and then do a review of the shop as a blog post.
Closing the loop
Here is where you put your new on-line platform tools to use. Let’s say you met 6 people as a guest instructor at a local cooking class. When you get home, try to connect with some of the people through one of your on-line tools. You might send a quick e-mail, a facebook friend request or follow them on twitter. Nothing fancy is required, just a simple note to say you wanted to make a connection. After all, you truly have something in common.
The snowball effect
Platform magic will start to happen soon after you start putting yourself out there. The connections you make will lead you to more connections with people you never would have met if you didn’t make the first connection. It’s like a reach snowball rolling down a hill.
Slow and steady
The key to expanding your reach is to start today and take a relaxed but steady approach. Help and support others first, build real connections with people, and before you know it you’ll have a blossoming healthy reach. When the time comes for you to announce your book’s release, you’ll have an easy way to communicate with the long list of people you’ve made real connections with.
As an author, your web-site can be the center hub of your on-line platform. Everything else links back to it. It’s also the one place that you can clearly communicate your brand to the world.
The most important part of your website will be the content. The content is the good stuff that will set you apart from everyone else. It’s what makes you the brand. If your content is unique, genuine and interesting to people, it will make you stand out. If people are engaged by what you have to say, they will buy your book.
The good news is that creating a web-site is easy and can be done for free. We’ll create one together by video tutorial in this Chapter.
Blog vs. web-site
The term blog and web-site are often used to mean the same thing. Technically a blog has content that’s updated regularly by creating a blog post. A web-site can be a series of static pages (the info is set once and stays the same), but it can also have a “blog” page in the menu. We’ll be creating an author web-site that has several static pages as well as a blog page.
WordPress or SquareSpace?
You can create your website on any platform you choose. The two I would recommend for your short list are WordPress and SquareSpace. I have built sites with both and they are both great. If cost is one of your deciding factors then a free WordPress.com site is just the thing for you. If you are OK paying $13 each month for your website then I would suggest a SquareSpace site. Generally speaking, the SquareSpace site will be a more modern looking site with an easier learning curve but at a cost ($13/month). The WordPress.com site will be a slightly less visually attractive site with a steeper learning curve but a great price (free).
For the sake of simplicity, the remainder of this post will make the assumption that WordPress is your choice.
WordPress yes, but which one?
One of the first things to understand is that WordPress has 2 versions. WordPress.com (commonly called the free version) and WordPress.org (commonly called the self-hosted version). We will be using WordPress.com (the free version). The main difference is that WordPress.com is just a nice simple scaled down, ready to use version of WordPress.org. WordPress.org requires you to have a self-hosting account, install the WordPress software, and maintain your site yourself. WordPress.com is already set up and maintained for you.
Share your blog posts with the world
Now it’s time to add some content and share it with the world. The content will be in the form of regular blog posts that allow you to connect with people and clearly communicate your brand to the world.Your blog post “link” can be shared on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. When someone “clicks a link” in a Facebook post or a Tweet, they will be taken directly to your website to read your full post. If your post is interesting and valuable to them, they will become fans, and hopefully sign-up to receive your new posts by e-mail. Anyone who makes that type of connection will now be part of your reach.
Reach your “first readers”
One of the goals of building your author platform has been to expand your reach. Everyone with-in your reach will be a potential “first reader”. “First reader” is a term used for the critical first layer of people that read your book. They will tell others to buy your book if your book is a great one.
Chapter 2 Video Tutorial:
Is a “Blog” still relevant in 2020?
If you think the term “Blog” is so 2012, think again. The fact that you are reading this article may be proof enough (this is a Blog post). If you’re still on the fence about starting a blog in 2020, please watch this youtube video. It explains very clearly how blogging has absolutely changed, but if done with a 2020 mind set, is very relevant.
Your platform is what helps you reach your “first readers”. “First reader” is a term used for the critical first layer of people that read your book. They are most likely the people who are in the reach of your platform. They will tell others to buy your book if your book is a great one.
We’ll focus on the on-line side of your platform today. Now keep in mind that the off-line or in-person side of your platform is just as important, but we’ll examine that in future chapters.
The foundation of your platform should include some on-line presence.That can be in the form of a basic author website and some common social media tools. They all help in creating real connections with real people. These connections make it possible to reach your critical “first readers”.
Depending on your comfort level with technology and your own book sales goals, you may choose to use one or several tools in your on-line platform. A common mistake some authors make is to try to be everywhere all at once. My recommendation is to simply pick one on-line tool to start and give it some time. Once you see how your reach is expanded with the first tool, you will be able to make a better decision about what your second tool might be.
The key to success in any on-line tool is to commit to using it and being present with your followers. If you set up several tools and ignore them all you will not find success.
The important thing to know about building a platform is that it takes time, so the best time to start is today.
Just Released: From Fearful to Fabulous and Everywhere in Between, Journeys in Poetry and Prose by Sandra Jean (Sandy) Buck.
From Fearful to Fabulous is Sandy’s first published book. It reflects not only her own experiences, ideas and concepts, but also reaches deep into the hearts of others to reawaken the slumbering spirit residing there. Allow the rich imagery woven into each piece to take you on a very personal journey of your own. No matter your culture, gender, background or spiritual path, you will find bits of yourself within these carefully scripted pages.