In this episode, we’re taking a deep dive into author platforms. We’ll discuss specific strategies and tactics you can use to give yourself the best possible chance of building a platform that can support your work for years to come.
Tim Grahl is the president of Out:think (great name, right?) a company that works with authors to help them connect with readers, build their platforms and sell more books.
Tim is also also an author. His book, YOUR FIRST 1,000 COPIES: The Step by Step Guide to Marketing Your Books, is a valuable tool for authors who want to build their online platform.
We start the interview with a high-level definition of the various types of author platforms and then quickly work our way into some concrete examples we can all use to improve what we’re doing online.
I’ve listed some interview highlights below:
- Tim gives us an overview of Out:think, and what his company does.
- Tim went through a ‘marketing in public’ exercise last year as a way of promoting his book. He wrote about the tactics he used, allowing readers to follow along to see what worked while he attempted to achieve his sales targets.
- He’s going through a similar ‘in public’ exercise now, having committed to writing and publishing his first novel within six months.
- Tim defines an author platform as anything the author does to sell books. As you’ll hear, it’s a simple definition that covers nearly every situation.
- Tim shares a conversation he had with a publishing pro about how authors are marketed at the highest levels. There is an A group, a B group, and a C group. The A group gets 80% of the publisher’s attention and funding.
- Why it’s important to realize that it’s entirely up to you to sell books. Building your platform is both necessary and a good thing for authors.
- Tim takes exception to those authors who claim they are too busy for platform building. You’re not too busy to do the things you’re not doing, you just haven’t made those things a priority.
- Why developing an email list to communicate directly with your readers is so important. Tim calls this list building, “the number one, by far, most important thing you can do to build your platform.”
- Specific test results that show why your message has the best chance of being seen when sent as an email.
- The three challenges that every author must solve to be successful: Permission, content and outreach. Why overcoming those challenges is so important.
- What makes a good author website, and why it is your job to get as many people to that website as possible. Tim shares some specific tactics for growing traffic.
- Why it’s important to build an author platform, rather than a platform for a specific book.
- Building your platform isn’t easy, there’s a learning curve. To be successful, it’s important to have a willingness to experiment.
The Out:think Website
Tim’s Book – YOUR FIRST 1000 Copies
Blog Post – The Myth of “Too Busy”
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