Author platforms – first stop on the road to publishing success

Ultimately, global burden of disease an author platform is more important than your ability to write a book, here do your job, malady or satisfy your clients!

Quality is no longer enough to guarantee success. Today, competence is assumed. More important, there is competition everywhere, as close as the nearest online search engine.

To control your destiny, you need a practical way to build lasting relationships with current clients while attracting an on-going stream of new prospects to your business.

A platform is a process, a unique message, and a way to consistently communicate with your market. There are several types of platforms: articles, blogs, columns, books, interviews, newsletters, podcasts, social media, speaking, teleseminars, websites, and online videos.

Published books offer the advantage of tangibility, they have a physical presence in the hand and in the bookshelves of your prospects.

The crucial issue is not which type of platform you use, but whether or not you have a unique & relevant message and that you consistently promote it.

Content relevancy and consistency play major roles in the success of author platforms

Why author platform are so important

Platforms offer authors numerous advantages:

  • A position in your market that differentiates you from your competition.
  • A “stage” to present from, a way of packaging your expertise in an easily recognizable format.
  • Tools to educate your market. A platform helps you distribute helpful, relevant information that communicates your point of view and creates a halo benefiting every one of your products and services.
  • Freedom. You, and you alone, choose the topics to address.
  • Challenge and self-improvement. Platforms force you to refine your ideas and improve your ability to express them.
  • Visibility and contacts. A platform expands your network of those who know and respect you, building your referral network.

Platform prerequisites

Successful platforms share these essential characteristics:

  • Control. You need to choose topics and be able to distribute your message without outside dependency or interference.
  • Consistency. Platforms must be constant updated with new material. Each time you update your platform, you improve your search engine visibility and the chances that prospects will encounter you when they’re ready to buy.
  • Efficiency. To maintain consistency, your platform must be easy and inexpensive to set up and maintain. For this reason, websites that authors and entrepreneurs cannot update themselves without contacting a designer or programmer are often ineffective as platforms.

Steps to success

There are three steps to creating an effective platform:

  1. Choose your message, an approach or process that becomes synonymous with you.
  2. Create a way to distribute and “package” it in a distinct way that sets it apart from your competition. Design, graphics,  audio, and video are all tools that you can use to differentiate your message.
  3. Support it with an online presence you can update by yourself. Blogs are excellent choices, because you can update them yourself without spending money or waiting for others to act and there’s no “learning curve” or expensive software to purchase.

Step 1. Message

The starting point is identify a core message that leverages off of your value proposition, (i.e., how you can help your market). Your goal is to become personally associated with the solution to a widespread problem your target market suffers from.

Ideally, your message will reflect not just your competence, but will identify the market you serve and the benefits you offer. It should also reflect your values, style, and enthusiasm.

Your core message provides the starting point for identifying the topics and developing the information you communicate in a non-invasive and consistent way.

2. Distribution

An effective platform cares a core, or nucleus, which you can later recycle and expand.

For many, the starting point is a blog. Each blog post offers enough space for you to introduce and address just about any topic, educating your market and proving your competence, while attracting search engine visibility.

Each post creates a “first draft” you can later expand into:

  • Articles for syndication, interviews, books, e-books.
  • Presentations, speeches, teleconferences, podcasts, training.
  • Website content and incentives to attract more search engine traffic, reward your best clients, and build your opt-in e-mail newsletter circulation list.
  • Books and e-books. Books represent the highest example of platforms. Even if you don’t consider yourself  an “author” now, you will soon have compiled enough material to write a book if you prepare each blog post with an eye to using it as a chapter, or topic in a chapter, of a future book.

3. Website

You must be able to update your online presence yourself. You can’t afford to wait for—and pay for—someone else to do the work.

Your blog has to be continually updated with your latest messages. Visitors should never encounter the same post on two consecutive visits!

Getting started

The starting point is to analyze your core competencies, your market, and your competition.

This will help you identify your message, which will help you determine the best ways to communicate, and expand, it as consistently and efficiently as possible.

Learn more by visiting the Published & Profitable Daily Writer’s Writer’s Tip Blog or you can e-mail me and askfor my Platform Creating Tip Sheet that tells more about how you can you can create a platform to educate prospects and take control of your future.

Exploring the realities of writing a book in 2010

Will 2010 be the year you decide to write a book to build your brand and establish yourself as the “go to” expert in your field? Now is the time to begin planning for your debut as a published author.

The benefits of writing a book in 2010

The benefits of writing a book continue to far outweigh the work that’s involved writing a book.

One of the very best books that address the benefits of writing a book is Mitchell Levy’s 42 Rules for Driving Success with Books. As the numerous case “real world” author case studies describe, orthopedist writing a book continues to be the most predictable way you can take control of your future, building awareness for your business, pre-selling your competence, and opening doors of opportunity that might otherwise never be open to you.

A writing strategy based on a published book in 2010 provides a focus–or a hub–for all of your firm’s marketing and social marketing. At the same time, in the same way that teachers learn by teaching, writers learn by writing, as books like William Zinsser’s classic Writing to Learn: How to Write and Think Clearly About Any Topic describe.

The realities of writing a book in 2010

Book publishing is going through an era of exciting change and technological advance. The good news is that, in 2010, there are more options and opportunities for authors than ever before. Several trends are immediately obvious:

  • New ways to get published. Book publishing is advancing beyond the “inventory model” which was based on large, up-front, investments in printing, distribution, and warehousing. Today, many authors and publishers are working together to leverage the economic advantages of smaller,  more frequent print runs which lowers the barriers to non-celebrity authors writing for specific market segments.
  • New respect for shorter, more focused books. Another change benefiting authors is the trend away from “omnibus” volumes that provide a textbook-like approach to a topic. Instead, readers are increasingly responding to shorter, highly-focused, relevant books that address specific reader problems. The 42-Rules series is an excellent example of this, as well as the growing THINKtweet! series which communicates inspiring perspectives in bite-sized, 140-character, chunks.

E-books, too, offer opportunities for authors to expand their reach among broader, more price-sensitive and convenience-oriented readers. Thanks to PDF’s and readers like Amazon’s Kindle, readers can get instant access to professionally-formatted and highly-readable information.

Although technology is changing the way books are written and distributed, the fundamentals remain the same.

Writing for reader change

One of the fundamentals of writing books to drive success is the importance of focusing on reader change. Unlike fiction books, which are purchased for escape, pleasure, and style, readers purchase nonfiction books for pragmatic reasons–to experience change.

  • Problem solving. Often the change involves solving problems, like declining profit margins, employee turnover, or out-of-control expenses. Problems keep business owners awake at night; the next day, they search for books to help them solve the problem.
  • Achieving goals. Business owners also turn to nonfiction books to achieve goals, like mastering social media marketing, preparing press releases, or learning how to maximize online marketing tools like FaceBook, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

Your book will succeed to the extent it addresses the changes and goals your readers desire. The need for focused actionable, relevant, and timely information has never been higher, and there never have been so many ways to address your reader’s needs and leverage your book to higher profits.

A word of caution, however…

In 2010, however, it’s not enough to just “write a book.” Today, more than ever, writing is just one of the 4 essential steps that define a successful publishing experience.

In the past, authors could just write a good book, and still enjoy success. Today, the current economy and rising reader expectations require more from an author. Success requires a balanced, 4-step approach:

  1. Planning. Today’s most successful authors recognize it’s “not about themselves” and the book they passionately want to write. Instead, it’s all about the readers, and the change that readers desire. That’s why success today begins with carefully identifying your book’s intended readers, the changes they desire, and the specific information they need to succeed.
  2. Writing. In today’s time-challenged environment, there’s more emphasis on brevity and conciseness than before. Readers want to go to the heart of the matter, and do a minimum of reading in order to extra a maximum of information. Authors who continue to write comprehensive (and expensive) “textbooks,” when readers want “sound byte” actionable solutions, are risking their future.
  3. Promotion. Promotion has always been an author responsibility, but never so much as today. Regardless of who publishes your book, it’s essential that you market your book as efficiently as possible. Luckily, although the stakes are higher, there are more low-cost, promotional opportunities available for authors than ever before.
  4. Profit. In the past, it was relatively easy for authors to support themselves on the basis of publisher’s advances and royalties from book sales. I know, because I did it! Today, it’s a different ball game. Today’s successful authors recognize the importance of identifying where the rewards of a book are going to come from before they begin writing.

To learn more

Visit Published & Profitable to learn more about today’s writing environment where you can dozens of pages of sample content and explore the hundreds of available resources. You’re also invited to download my free Write Your Way to Success 4-step handbook.

How to Save Time Planning Your 42 Rules Book

From the start, there I’ve been enthusiastic about the time savings and sheer practicality of Laura Lowell’s 42 Rules approach to writing a book that brands you and your firm as experts in your field.

The 42 Rules concept, health reflected in titles like Laura Lowell’s 42 Rules of Marketing and Mitchell Levy’s 42 Rules of Driving Success with Books, viagra sale reduce what is normally a large, complex task (i.e., writing a book) into a series of short and easily-accomplished tasks.

I’d like to share with you an approach I’ve used to plan books for myself as well as help my Published & Profitable members and coaching clients jumpstart their publishing success. This approach will help you as you prepare your book’s table of contents as well as guide you as you write each chapter.

The power of the 42 Rules concept

The power of the 42 Rules concept comes from the way it eliminates the uncertainty most authors face at the start of a writing project.

Traditionally, authors begin books with a blank screen. This is great, except for the stress created by being able to include anything you want in your book.

  • The lack of limits presented by a blank screen doesn’t provide you with an easy starting point for your book.
  • Likewise, the lack of structure doesn’t help you choose how many chapters to include, nor does it help you decide how much information to include in each chapter.

At the end of your first planning session, your screen is apt to be as blank as it was when you started!

A better alternative–start with desired reader change

As an alternative to the “freedom and anarchy” of a blank screen, I suggest you “think small” and focus on reader change, the problems your readers want to solve and the goals they want to achieve.

Once you identify your reader’s desired change, you’ll find it easy to come up with the sections and chapters of your book:

  • Sections. Divide your book into sections corresponding to the major steps you recommend your readers take to solve their problems or achieve their goals. In many cases, the sections can be as simple as Getting Started, Moving Forward, and Evaluating Your Progress.
  • Chapters. After breaking your reader’s problem solving and goal attainment into a few major steps, populate each of the sections with short, step-by-step chapters that each focus on a specific task that must be accomplished.

You’ll probably be impressed with how quickly your sections and chapters will now fall into place. This is because you’ve replaced abstract thinking with concrete thinking.

Instead of writing a formless and boundary-less, textbook-like, “encyclopaedia of information” that simply showcases your knowledge, you’re writing a book that your readers desire and focusing your efforts on the specific tasks they need to solve their problems or accomplish their goals.

Benefits of the “reader change” approach

Both you and your readers benefit from the focus created by the 42 Rules format. This approach simplifies both planning and writing your book:

  • Planning is easier and takes less time because focusing on reader change makes it easier for you to identify the information that readers need to know in order to accomplish their specific goals. Once you identify the desired reader change, planning becomes a matter of selection and sequence.
  • Writing also becomes easier because, the “42 short chapters” format encourages you to focus each chapter on a specific idea or task and to write as concisely as you can. You’ll probably find you can complete each chapter during a single short, 45-minute or 1-hour, working session.

Writing in the 42 chapter format creates its own momentum; each time you finish one of the 42 chapters, you get a “rush of accomplishment” that encourages you to look forward to your next writing session.

There’s a joy to adding a check mark next to each chapter’s title as you complete it; as more and more checks appear on your section and chapter plan, the more you’re motivated to continue writing.

Readers benefit from the 42 short chapters because your book will be easier to read. The sections will provide context for the information in each chapter, and each chapter will focus on a specific actionable idea or technique. Readers will be able to master complex topics while sitting in an airport waiting room or waiting for the light to change.

Learn more about writing for reader change

Visit my Published & Profitable Daily Tips Blog to learn more more about writing for reader change and using printable mind map templates as planning tools for your next book to reduce the time it takes to plan, write, promote, and profit from a book that builds your personal brand.