Strategic Thinking in Building Author Platform and Finding an Audience

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Three months ago I ranted about my confusion and dilemma when confronting head-on all the social media options out here to help an indie, self-publisher author to market her work and reach her potential fans/readers (A New Author’s Reflection and Dilemma in Promoting Books (https://junyingkirk.wordpress.com/2011/03/). Now still relatively new on the scene but with two full length novels on Amazon Kindle, and a contribution to a short story collection, I feel I am on more solid ground and no longer as disorientated and overwhelmed. The newly acquired confidence partly comes from picking my way through the giant maze of options, hence a massive learning curve, partly derived from the generous support of fellow writers I’ve come to know, respect and learn from.

Through Facebook and Twitter I’ve met many individuals who are in a similar position to myself.   For the last few years since I opened my Facebook account, my circle of friends had remained around 30 with whom I had maintained regular contact and face to face interactions at some stage of my life, now three months after my ‘status’ changed from a normal human being to a ‘published author’, the numbers of my Facebook friends have doubled many times over, and will continue to grow no doubt. These new faces are, guess who? … all published authors of one form or another. While some have been in the game for ever, others are just starting out or have yet to publish their debut novels. If back in March I was pushed into the water trying not to sink in the oceans of writers, in June I have learnt to do the basic doggy-paddle and take a much needed breath above water.

I enjoyed being a member of GoodReads, where I was just a regular reader for a couple of months before I realised that I could actually have an author’s page there with details of my books on. It was a wonderful place for book lovers to share their enthusiasm and passion for literature and movies. I have made the acquaintance of quite a few avid readers who have similar tastes to mine, and I was glad to be able to write reviews on the books I truly loved.

The important lessons I have learnt from my readings and navigating my way through these networks have been: I need to know who and where my audience are and what they can get from me? Based on this premise, I am in the middle of building my unique author platform with the grand plan of reaching millions of my readers/fans out there on this planet Earth. Well, maybe not quite in its millions, as that sounds a bit ambitious and perhaps grandiose. But at least a few years down the road, I hope that I would have reached more than just my family and Facebook friends :-).

Thanks for checking in and do leave a comment if you have learnt anything useful from this week’s blog.

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About Junying Kirk

Originally from China and currently living and working in the UK, Junying has worked as an academic, administrator, researcher, teacher, professional interpreter, translator and cultural consultant. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and writing, and reflecting upon what's important in life. She is a seasoned blogger, topics ranging from serious stuff such as art, books, cross-cultural communications, education and politics, to more leisure pursuits including cuisine, keeping-fit, music, photography and world travels. Her "Journey To The West" Trilogy - The Same Moon, Trials of Life and Land of Hope, are available on Amazon stores Worldwide, iBook and Smashwords, both in electronic and printed forms. She is currently writing a new book, the first of her "Journey to the East" trilogy. The revival of this blog is Junying's renewed efforts to engage with her readers near and far. Welcome on board, friends and fans!
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9 Responses to Strategic Thinking in Building Author Platform and Finding an Audience

  1. Marni Mann says:

    Brilliant post! There are so many opinions out there on how to properly build an author’s platform, it can be overwhelming and confusing. And because I have a little ‘behind the scenes information’ on how you’re going to build your own platform – I also think your plan is brilliant!

    The one thing I’ve learned from Twitter and FB is to be yourself. Yes, you’re selling yourself and your novel, but more importantly, you’re building a brand. You only get one first impression and I think people often forget that. Readers will buy books because they’re interested in the topic/genre and because they like the author. A relationship must be established and I believe the most effective approach to this relationship is friendship, not sales/salesman tactic.

    I remember our first conversation – when Al introduced us. You were so kind and after a few tweets, I learned how much we had in common. Immediately following our conversation, I wanted to read your novel! 🙂

    • junyingkirk says:

      Thank you so much for your encouraging response, Marni. Yes, you’re absolutely right that first and foremost that as authors we have to build a relationship with our readers and true to ourselves. We should not fake anything because if we do, we would get caught, eventually. Like in pop music, we don’t want to be a one hit wonder and then disappear! As authors we are in for a long haul, and like in any kind of relationship, we need to have a distinctive brand and earn the trust and keep that trust from our readers.

      I’m so glad that we got introduced – a big thank you to Al, if he’s reading this :-). Our wonderful friendship is true testimony to what social media like Twitter can do. We might have vastly different backgrounds and live in totally different environment, yet we’ve found a great deal in common, and we share the love for good books, good music and films, and much more. Long live our friendship!

  2. Phil Bowyer says:

    Junying, you are well on your way to reaching success. It’s great that we have a tool like the Internet that can help us meet people from all over the world and connect like we live next door – well almost.

    Keep up the great work Junying, and thank you very much for your very kind words. I’m very glad to have met you and had the opportunity to exchange ideas with you!

    Phil

    • junyingkirk says:

      Thanks, Phil. The feeling is mutual – it’s wonderful that I’ve met you, Marni, Kate and a whole bunch of new talented people who live far away but can connect as if they are just next door – better than the next door, actually, more like in my guest room :-).

      The other blog is not quite ready as there are still a few things to sort out, but I’m on the way. I’m very excited, and very grateful that I have friends alongside who are here to help and give support where needed. It’s a wonderful journey – it does not matter where it will lead eventually but I’m enjoying the process of getting there.

  3. JA Clement says:

    Great blog, Junying! I think we published around the same time, so I’m with you feeling a bit more at home with the whole thing. I started off trying to maintain a presence everywhere and pretty soon burned out a bit so am back down to blog, FB, Twitter and a couple of forums – much more manageable. It’s such a new set of skills though…. and fascinating trying to fine-tune it all…

    But the main joy of it all has been the people; the authors, the readers, the reviewers, the randoms; there is such enthusiasm out there for storytelling that even after a long day at the office when the journey home has taken 3 hours rather than the usual 2 and I’m shattered, the publicity bit of it is not as hard a chore as you might think because basically it’s an excuse to go hang out with some cool new people in a whole load of different countries….

    HOW cool is all that – and how lucky are we?!
    You’ve got to love the whole thing, really!
    JAC

    • Phil Bowyer says:

      ” it is not as hard a chore as you might think because basically it’s an excuse to go hang out with some cool new people in a whole load of different countries….”

      I love that JA!!

      • junyingkirk says:

        Many thanks, JAC.

        I’m glad that you have made it more manageable and begun to enjoy it more, as I do. Yes, it has been a wonderful learning experience and we are very lucky to hang out with really cool people from all over the world. Our circle of friends will expand and who knows where it will take us in the next three months, three years or more? Let’s enjoy the ride :-)!

  4. Kate Bowyer says:

    Well said Junying and everyone else in the post’s above.

    I think it really comes down to doing something you love to do. Go to places you love to visit (like Goodreads). And hanging out with the people you’d love to in the real world.

  5. junyingkirk says:

    Yes, Kate. Very true! Like in real life, we meet people on-line and get to know them through the exchanges and their on-line behaviours, we come to a decision if this person or this site is for me or not. Then we choose the ones we would like to spend time with :-). Thanks for dropping in!

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