Author Platform Cheat Sheet

Want to start building your author platform, but not sure how? Check out these quick and easy tips below for getting your online presence up and running!

Website

  • I like to recommend WordPress for website building since it does a lot of the heavy lifting for you, but there are lots of other great ones, so be sure to do your research based on your needs.
    • As far as a theme or design goes, choose colors that will complement your book cover, as well as typefaces that are easy to read. Most sites offer the ability to view your design as it would look on a computer, tablet, or mobile device. Be sure to check all three for compatibility.
  • Your domain name should be firstnamelastname.com or firstnamelastnameauthor.com, something that folks can easily find when looking you up.
  • Be sure to check on your website at least once a week to make sure all data is correct and up to date.
  • You should have social widgets at the top of the page, and the bottom or sidebar too if possible. Also make sure you have a widget for email subscriptions if you are collecting emails for a newsletter.
  • Once your site has been created, make sure you have some version of the following pages available on your menu bar or drop down:
    • Home
      • The home page should feature a nice photo of you and/or your book and a brief introductory statement. I often recommend adding a Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram feed to the home page or to your sidebar.
    • About the Author
      • Here you can include an author photo and your author bio, which can be the same or different from the bio provided in the book. (Sometimes it’s fun to add more detail!)
    • Books
      • List the description of your book(s) on this page, alongside the book cover.
      • When the book is available for preorder or sale, post links to various retailer sites so you can direct readers to where they can buy the book.
    • Contact
      • You can include a form email or an author email address here, list your social media links, or direct readers to your agent/publicist, depending on your comfort level.
    • When you begin lining up events or get some coverage in the media, you can add a “News and Events” page where you can list events, link to articles, and post photos.

Social Media

  • Choose at least two platforms to keep updated daily or as often as possible.
  • If you’re not a natural social media user, create a post schedule for your accounts. Hootsuite is a favorite for this, or you can just keep a list and manually add posts.
  • Use a recognizable author/book photo for your bio and cover photo on all sites.
  • Be sure to list your book and website in your social media bios.
  • Make sure you have a Goodreads account and that you have claimed your book if it has already been uploaded. Turn your account into an author account—read about the Author Program here: https://www.goodreads.com/help#join_authorprogram

General Tips

  • Join author groups and stay active with them on social media. This can be an author group (such as a debut group), or something like RWA or SCBWI.
  • Follow your local bookstores and libraries on all social media and interact with them regularly. They can be some of your most wonderful advocates!
  • Engage with followers and those you follow by liking, retweeting, and commenting.
  • Depending on the site, consider using hashtags and mentioning others in your posts when appropriate. This will get you more exposure and allow you to connect with folks more easily.
  • Note that you can include plugs for your book whenever possible, but be sure that you are also providing new content and supporting followers so your accounts are not just advertising spaces.

For more author platform tips, check out the links below:

Platform for Fiction Writers

Beyond the Manuscript: What ELSE an Editor Looks for in a Submission

2 thoughts on “Author Platform Cheat Sheet

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