Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tip #43: Do's and Don'ts of Fiction Platforms

So we all know that in order to build a fan base and sell more books, we have to have a platform. For non-fiction writers that platform is nearly ready made. If you publish a book about being a working mother, well your target audience is obviously women, mothers, and women who are soon to be mothers. Bam. There's your platform. For us fiction writers, not only do we have to figuratively go to Home Depot and buy the nails and hammers to build our platform, some of us have to go to the forest and cut down the tree.

I've been trying everything I can think of and pushing myself to a few points past exhaustion in order to build my fan base. So imagine my delight when in the mail today I got my latest issue of Writer's Digest and the cover article is "Your Guide to Success on the Web." Angels began to sing. Okay, so those angels were probably a combination of that woodpecker with a death wish that lives outside my window and the massive doses of cough medicine I'm currently on. In either case, I was really happy to see this article. Even if it was horribly written and not applicable to my situation (which rarely happens with Writer's Digest articles) I was sure there would be at least one point I could take away. As it turns out, there were 16.

In a nice little inset box, Christina Katz summarized the Do's and Don'ts for Fiction Platforms. And here they are:

What works:
1. Local publicity, especially if you live where your novel is set
2. Book giveaways
3. A wide reaching blog tour
4. Group signings and events
5. Cultivating a community fans want to return to
6. Encouraging or teaching fans how to do what you do
7. Hosting reader competitions for media or creative work
8. Ramping up excitement prior to the book launch

What doesn't
1. Mass snail mail campaigns
2. Non-book giveaways
3. A small blog tour
4. Solo book signings
5. Paid Advertising
6. Book trailers that are merely commercials
7. Saying "yes" to too many time consuming requests
8. Extravagant publication parties

I'm glad to note that I have been doing some of the things on her do list. But then I have also done two things on her don't list: Non-book giveaways and paid advertising. I'm also prone to saying "yes" to too many time consuming things. I'm working on my PhD for goodness sake. I don't have a lot of extra time.

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