So you’re an author. What next?

My Kingdom for a Platform
article by
Liz Schulte

So you’re an author. What next? The general consensus is you need a platform. But what on earth is a platform, and how do you create/maintain one.

A platform is more than collecting as many nameless faceless followers as possible and trying to shove your book down their throats. Despite what my mother thinks, my book isn’t for everyone, no book is. The idea is to build a network of people who hold the same interests and reading tastes as you and then to get to know them. This is an excellent thought, but how does one do this?

Social networks, book festivals, conferences, blog hops, and pretty much anything you think of that allows you to connect with readers. But before I get into specific social networks this is how you determine your reach and the areas you will want to build on your platform. 

  • How many people are on your email list or subscribe to your blog? 
  • How many followers do you have on twitter? 
  • How many Facebook friends or fans do you have? 
  • How much monthly traffic do you get?

Pay close attention to this last bullet point. You can have tons of followers and friends, but if they aren’t checking out your stuff and participating then they really don’t count. You need people who are actually interested in you and what you do. So that begs the question, what do we have to do to interest them? Twitter is sort of like speed dating. You get 140 characters to find, talk to, and connect with complete strangers. While blindly following (something I am so guilty of) will get you followers it doesn’t get you connections. Those you have to forge on your own by participating. Talk to people. Respond to their tweets and tweet interesting or discussion provoking thoughts rather than buy my book links. 

Facebook is a little easier to get to know people. There is more information and an easier forum for a relaxed conversation. However, how many of us really talk a lot to the people we don’t already know well? Especially with fan pages it is important to interact and once again to post interesting and entertaining posts. Even your biggest fan doesn’t just want to hear about your book all the time. Let people see who you are and the loyalty will come.Goodreads is definitely a source I think I under use. The groups would be a great way to meet people who are into your genre and talk to them (not sell your book to them). I also under use Google +. Mostly because between writing, editing, blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, I don’t have a lot of time left for other networks. It is more important at the start to limit the number of networks you are on so you can do them right than it is to be everywhere. 

Now that you have made some connections and you are building a fan 

base, how do you keep them interested? This is where the content comes in. There seem to be two types of strategies people have taken.

The first is the author persona-centric platform. This is the idea that you should use your blog/web site/social media persona etc. to talk about your book, your writing, and things that have to do with you book.

The second is the human-centric platform. This is the idea that the reader wants to get to know the person behind the book. They want to feel like you could be their bff and hear about your daily life and struggles.

I don’t love either of these strategies. First off, no one will keep coming back to your blog to have your books shoved at them constantly. That is no fun. Second, no one wants to hear about what you had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner unless they are a stalker. I think the middle ground has to be the key here. You have to talk about your book, but not too much. You also have to talk about your life, but not too much. It is our job to find a middle ground that will be interesting and engaging. Is this an easy task? Absolutely not. But the easy things in life are rarely the ones worth working for. 

Choices by Liz Schulte

The Guardian Trilogy

Olivia Martin’s afterlife was more dangerous and confusing than her life ever was. She thought she was ready to come back, to forget about Holden and to let go of the rage consuming her. Fulfilling her destiny as a guardian was all that mattered—the past could stay hidden in the crevices of her mind. However, when guardians are murdered and the evidence points towards jinn, she has to do something. To save anyone’s future, Olivia will have to confront the one person from her past she is terrified to see.

Holden waited for Olivia with the hope he would see her one more time. But when she didn’t return, he found salvation in darkness. The black and twisted road made it easier to forget what he lost than to live with the memory of what he had. An unexpected promotion shoves him into a world of intoxicating power and influence. Holden will have to choose between his new life and the woman he thought was gone forever.

From the ashes of Secrets, Choices are born that will change everything.

While Olivia Martin observed life through her camera, the abyss gazed back at her. She discovers mysterious men follow her around, people close to her are dying, and her dreams are no longer her own as she falls head over heels for a perfect stranger. A chance encounter leads to an obsession that could destroy everything she has ever known or loved. Olivia is about to find out there is a lot she doesn’t know and sometimes what you don’t know can kill you.

About Liz Schulte

Many authors claim to have known their calling from a young age. Liz Schulte, however, didn’t always want to be an author. In fact, she had no clue. Liz wanted to be a veterinarian, then she wanted to be a lawyer, then she wanted to be a criminal profiler. In a valiant effort to keep from becoming Walter Mitty, Liz put pen to paper and began writing her first novel. It was at that moment she realized this is what she was meant to do. As a scribe she could be all of those things and so much more.

When Liz isn’t writing or on social networks she is inflicting movie quotes and trivia on people, reading, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family. Liz is a Midwest girl through and through, though she would be perfectly happy never having to shovel her driveway again. She has a love for all things spooky, supernatural, and snarky. Her favorite authors range from Edgar Allen Poe to Joseph Heller to Jane Austen to Jim Butcher and everything in between.

Liz would love to hear from you and what you thought of Dark Corners from The Ella Reynolds Series and of course thoughts for The Guardian Trilogy Secrets and Choices are also welcomed.

Please stop by and visit at any of the below mentioned networks:

Something to whet your appetite – excerpt from Choices by Liz Schulte

I don’t know what I expected—certainly not the pain that tore through me when I opened my eyes. Feeling Holden immediately saturate my mind nearly shattered me and made me want to scream—or go back. I struggled and finally managed to shove him into a closet deep in my subconscious, where hopefully he’d stay until he disappeared forever—forgotten which was still better than he deserved.

Why did I agree to this?

Better yet, why didn’t my heart understand what my brain so clearly explained? Holden didn’t want us. He … No, I wouldn’t let myself do that. I would not think about Holden. He was dead to me. It was the only way it could be, the only way I could do this.

Quintus was waiting for me, all dimples and kindness—the traitorous bastard. Where was he when I needed him? Why didn’t he save me? The accusations running through my mind fell aside, as I noticed how weird things were.

Everything looked different making me sad that my camera would never be able to capture what I now saw—not that I had a camera anymore. Lights and colors shimmered through the air and the trees, like I was inside a snow globe that someone was relentlessly shaking. How had I not seen all the things around me? It was incredible.

The more Quintus spoke, the more I realized I had a lot to learn and plenty to distract me from the person I wasn’t thinking about. I was also not thinking about the fact that I’d been running around the forest stark naked giving Quintus quite a show until he made a crack about what we needed to do first.

I didn’t think it could get worse until Quintus made some god awful dress appear on me.

“So what now? Do we walk?” I squished my bare toes into the soft leaves beneath my feet. All I wanted was to not think about the past. The past was where he was and where I was angry at Quintus. I could only look forward now, because hindsight offered no solace, no future.

“Do you know where we are?”

“I assumed you knew. I mean you came here. I just appeared.” I frowned at him.

“I was sent the same as you.”

“So we’re lost? Great! What kind of operation is this?”

“Guardians are never lost.” Quintus flashed me his ridiculously deep dimples, but I felt no appreciation for them. There was only one smile I wanted to see—

Needing to keep moving, I trudged through the woods in the direction I was facing. I heard Quintus walking behind me. How could he come to get me without a better plan than this? How did I get stuck with the person who’d abandoned me to a demon? My afterlife sucked.

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