Don’t wait until you have a book to sell! That’s too late.
Welcome to the new members of the #WritingCommunity and #UnleashingTheNextChapter!
I see your posts on social media about writing a book in 2022. CONGRATULATIONS!! You can do it, and there is a lot of support for you online.
I’ve also seen a number of posts about waiting to start a blog or email list until the book is finished and you’re ready to sell it. Many others have excitedly created new social media pages for their projects before thinking through the basics. So, here are my #TuesdayTips for anyone starting a new book or business… (and #authors, if you intend to publish and sell your book, you are a business!).
You need to find and build your audience as soon as you start writing your book. Here’s your plan in order of priority:
- Identify your brand and ideal readers/audience. Your brand is your reputation. You’re ideal readers are the ones who read your genre, your tropes, and will get you. Not everyone will, and that’s fine. You are better off finding and engaging with 100 ideal readers than having thousands of followers who will never engage, let alone buy your book. Here’s more info on finding your Ideal Audience. After you figure that out you can think about colors, aesthetics, logo, etc.
- Create a content calendar. Decide WHAT topics you are going to post about on your blog, newsletter, and social media. Start collecting quotes, determine your voice, think about themes and tropes you write about, and causes/charities you are passionate about. Here’s another post that goes into more detail about Content Calendars.
- Choose an Email Marketing System (EMS) and start collecting email addresses. I’m currently recommending MailerLite or ConvertKit. Both are free for the first 1,000 subscribers. Twitter offers the super easy and free Revue newsletter with a link on your Twitter bio. Do this before you even think about a blog or website. Both MailerLite and ConvertKit have landing pages that you can use in place of a website until you are ready to take that next step.
- Create a blog that can grow into a website. I suggest WordPress. It’s self hosted, so you do NOT need BlueHost or GoDaddy or anything else, and WordPress is free for as long as you need it to be. WordPress is really easy to add to and upgrade as you grow your #Authorpreneur business. That’s how my website started almost 10 years ago…. just a free WordPress blog. This is also why it’s important to think about your content calendar first, so you know what to write about on your blog and don’t make the top two newbie mistakes—1) only writing about your writing, or 2) writing “buy my book, Buy My Book, BUY MY BOOK” until you scare away your followers.
- Create up to three Social Media business accounts where you will build and serve your ideal readers community. You don’t have to be everywhere! Seriously, don’t. And creating the business accounts (still free!) will give you access to analytics about your followers and which posts, or types of posts, are getting the most love. Which platforms you choose will depend on what you write, who your ideal audience is, and where they are online. Make sure the platforms are owned by different companies (I suggest Instagram over Facebook since they are both owned and operated by Meta, but IG is hashtag driven and easier to find new potential readers). Bonus points if you can give all three the same username/handle! Here’s a post about who owns what in the social media space.
You don’t have to do all of this right away, but take a minute to acknowledge and think through the steps and work (or rework) them in this order. You’ll thank me later.
If you have already started, but now realize you want to change some things, don’t delete anything yet! Everything is fixable. You can change your usernames, archive irrelevant posts, refresh your branding, and relaunch your newsletter. What you can’t do is travel back in time after your book is finally ready to sell and create an author platform from which to promote and sell the book. Both processes take time, and it gives your creativity a break from one to work on the other.
Let me know what questions you have. I can coach you through the steps or do it for you. If you found this post useful, don’t forget to like and subscribe. I love all things bookish–book marketing, author platform, digital and social media, productivity, and more.
I can’t wait to see you Unleash your Next Chapter!