Updated: Jan 14
Lesson #2: Build Your Online Platform
Hello and welcome back! I hope you’re well!
In the previous lesson, we discovered the pros and cons of self-publishing and why so many authors opt for the independent route. In this lesson, we will explore why it’s important for indie authors to build an online platform and how you can go about it.
If you missed the previous lesson, you can get it here: https://www.standcorrectedediting.com/post/blog-course-7-steps-indie-authors-must-take-before-self-publishing
Building your author platform is one of the most important steps to complete if you plan to self-publish. However, several writers make the mistake of doing this after they have published their book, but you will be one step ahead if you build your platform when you’re still writing it. Why? Because it gives you the chance to network, to build an email list of potential readers, to develop a consistent blog, and to make a name for yourself. The publishing world is extremely competitive, especially for indie authors, so if you suddenly pop up out of nowhere with a new book, no one will have heard of you, so fewer people will be interested in buying from you.
Throughout lesson #2, you will learn how to get started with building your online platform, and why doing so is beneficial for you as an independent author.
Create a Simple Website
You may have heard this several times before, but building a website for yourself is one of the most important steps if you plan to self-publish. Your website will become your online home, and the main place your readers will go when they require information. If someone wants to know when your next book is coming out, they can check your upcoming novels page; if a potential buyer wants to learn more about you as an author, they can check your about page. Without a website, your audience will find it much harder to find you and discover any updates you may have. They may go straight to your social media pages, but believe it or not, not everyone has access to Instagram or Twitter. So, make sure you get your author website up and running as soon as possible!
Start a Blog & Write Consistently
Having a website also allows you to start a blog and write about what interests you. You may be fooled into thinking that you don’t need a blog because many traditional authors don’t have one, but that’s the difference right there – they’re traditionally published, so they probably don’t need a blog to connect to their readers and boost their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).
However, having a blog is a must for a self-published author, and it’s essential to remain consistent. If you can only manage one blog post a month, that’s fine, but stick to it. You don’t want your readers and subscribers wondering where you are or whether you’re coming back.
But what if I’m ill or I’m on holiday? Do I have to commit then?
No, of course not. People will understand if you’re absent for a week or two, but if you disappear for months on end without a word, they’ll probably lose interest and find another blog to read. However, if you do want to stay consistent even when you’re unavailable, most website builders give you the option to schedule your posts in advance. As a result, you could write four articles in bulk, and that’s you set for the next four months (if you write a blog a month).
So, which is the best website builder and which one should you use? Well, it depends on what you want to use your website for in the long run. If you’re not technical-minded and only need a cheap, simple website that displays you and your books, Wix is the best option for you, but if technical is your thing and you wish to make money from your blog, WordPress is your friend. However, other indie authors and entrepreneurs also swear by Squarespace, GoDaddy and Weebly, so also check these out if you want to shop around and compare first.
Once you have chosen which website builder is best for you, it’s time to start creating. However, before you jump straight in, it’s important to think about what kind of theme best represents you and your books. For example, if you write historical fantasy, you want your website to reflect that so your audience can connect your theme to your genre.
But what if I plan to write different genres instead of sticking to one?
In that situation, you have two options.
Option 1: You can create a different website for each genre you write. For example, Nora Roberts has one website for her romance books and another for her crime books. However, it depends on whether you can afford and manage multiple websites. Bearing in mind, you may also decide to purchase an individual domain name for your website, a professional email address and a premium subscription, which all add up quickly.
Option 2: You can create one website and have different pages for each genre. This option is much simpler and much more affordable, but it’s up to you, of course!
When you have decided which option is best for you, you can then take the plunge and get designing. This stage may take a while due to the amount of trial and error and dragging and dropping, but once you are happy with your site, you can publish it for the world to see!
Check out the next lesson where you will learn which social media platforms are the best for indie authors.
What you should include on your author website: https://www.ingramspark.com/blog/what-should-i-put-on-my-author-website
100 blog topics for fiction writers: https://www.mixtusmedia.com/blog/100-blog-topics-for-fiction-writers
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Hey! I'm Chelsea and I'm the book editor and proofreader at Stand Corrected Editing, my independent literary consultancy in the UK. I help passionate writers and authors to get their novels ready for literary agents or self-publishing.
In weekly blog posts, online courses and daily Instagram posts, I hope to spread my knowledge and expertise on how to make your novel a success, and be a mentor to others who desperately want to pursue a fruitful career as an author!
Let me ask you something...
Do you seriously want to pursue your passion of writing and publishing books people actually want to read?
Are you currently planning, writing, or editing your manuscript?
Are you ready to become a successful author?