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Monday, 20 February 2012

The Importance of Developing Your Author Platform

guest post 
by
Sandra Bunino 


Before my first book, Marooned In Miami, came out this past January, I began researching what it meant to have an author platform.

I’d heard the term. I followed many terrific authors. But what did “platform” mean exactly? Was it some kind of pie-in-the-sky marketing concept or something I should take seriously as an indie author? I have an MBA yet this whole concept was entirely new to me.

Here’s what I discovered:

  • Authors (no matter if you’re self-published or traditional) need to have an established presence prior to publishing their first book.
Okay, great. But wait, what? Prior to? Wouldn’t I be promoting my book? Isn’t that the whole point? Yes. And no. I learned that the most successful authors actually started their platform long before they released their book!

How do you go about developing this presence? That’s where I did more research, reading books, going online, learning what other successful authors I admired had done.

  • For the most part, there’s a basic formula: Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads to an extent, and blogging. All new to me, but surely not that difficult. I had an advanced degree and I deal in the cutthroat world of corporate finance every day. Surely, I could do this, right? Well…. 
Not so fast. If you’ve dabbled in the world of social media, you’ll understand when I say that it’s a bit of a different culture. I didn’t quite get it at first. Many don’t. Twitter seemed kinda…weird (haha). I even called my younger brother and asked him what these hashtags meant (he was absolutely no help!). Many people think Twitter is about what teenagers ate for lunch or a way to keep tabs on your favorite celebrity. But I found out that as an author, it’s far more than that if used as a marketing tool. What a powerful resource and best of all - it’s free!

I took a webinar, found a mentor and even hired a consultant to give me some pointers (she’s also a bestselling author so she knows what she’s talking about!). I was soon tweeting like a pro and gained over 2,000 followers in just five months. I’ve met an amazing network of authors and connected with many readers in a very short period of time – all thanks to Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.

  • Here’s where I think some authors make their mistake: as adults we don’t want to admit what we won’t know or understand -- so many times we give up, walk away. I’ve learned that in publishing, that’s just not an option. If you ever hope to be signed by a traditional publisher (even an indie publisher), they expect you to have an established fan base. And not just with a blog. People need to know how to find your blog! And this is where Twitter and Facebook, even LinkedIn come in. 
  • SEO: this is a big topic I won’t even try to cover here but it goes to what I mentioned in the last paragraph. If you want to be found, anywhere, you need to know your branding. This is where marketing yourself comes in. I figured out quickly that I needed to have a theme: to my blog posts, my tweets, Facebook messages – everything needed to go along with my genre, erotic romance. 

I pay special attention to my brand. Everything that I put my name on is branded with a consistent look and feel. There’s a sensual atmosphere to my brand and I use key focal points such as red roses and rose petals, sunsets and tropical settings on my blog, Twitter avatar and bio page, Facebook, and even my book covers.

What does this have to do with SEO (search engine optimization)? Keywords. Know what your message is, what you want to convey, and be sure those words are in everything you do so you and your book come up in the search engines. This is how your readers can more easily find you with the least amount of effort.

I hope this peek into developing my author platform has been helpful for you. There’s really so much more to it! But at least it’s a start for many people. Any questions, please ask below in comments or contact me directly. And don’t forget to comment for a free eBook and to enter my Kindle contest!

My book Marooned in Miami is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, AllRomance eBooks

Readers can contact me through my website www.sandrabunino.com and on Amazon Author Central. I am also on Twitter @sandrabunino (following is sexy!) and Facebook.

Follow your dream, stay positive and don’t give up! Writing is about the journey not the destination. Enjoy the ride. 

An erotica novella novel from Sandra Bunino 
*Adult Content*



Undeniable lust and a fierce Miami storm
bring sexy strangers together at The Hotel Del Santos for a passion filled
night. 



Picture
Buy Now!
Stephanie, still reeling from a failed marriage, needs a break from the past. She decides to take her friends’ advice and finds a perfect stranger for a night of no-strings-attached, smoking hot sex. 


Jason, a wealthy Seattle builder has the worst luck with love. Swearing he would never allow another woman to get under his skin, Jason decides a life of casual sex is just fine with him. While watching Stephanie’s sexy stilettos click across the lobby floor he zeros in on his next conquest. 


Cut off from the outside world, the lives of these two strangers collide and burn with desire when stranded in the perfect storm. Both are content with the idea of sharing a glorious one-night stand together, that is, until they go their separate ways. 


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Sandra Bunino began a love of romance stories while penning a creative writing assignment in high school. The story ended with the heroine receiving a long stem red rose in her locker on Valentine’s Day. Since then, all of her stories feature the hero presenting the heroine with roses. Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers. 

These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. Living so close to the city affords her the best of both worlds and provides wonderful writing material. She occasionally pretends to be in a Sex in the City episode and has renamed her best girlfriends Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda which she blogs about often. 

Sandra’s  is currently hard at work on the sequel to Marooned in Miami. 

Contact: http://sandrabunino.com/  Twitter: @sandrabunino

Excerpt:Jason moved closer and spoke slowly in his silky voice. "I wonder if you might dance with me." She nodded and took his hand.
He led her to the dance floor illuminated only with candlelight and the occasional flash of lightning. Placing one hand in his and the other on his back, their bodies started out a respectable distance apart. Before long, Jason's warmth drew her in, and she couldn't ignore the electricity forming between them. Tentatively, she stepped closer and lightly rested her head against his neck. Jason took this as a cue to guide her hand up and over his shoulder. Suddenly, his strong hands urgently pulled her against his rock hard body. The force of his embrace awakened a passion that lay dormant inside her until now. Stephanie couldn't fight the fire building within her. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, inhaling his musky scent while caressing his neck with her fingertips. Her face grazed up the side of his neck, stopping at his jawbone. Jason's touch seared her skin as his fingertips skimmed up her side to her neck and came to rest on her chin. With his thumb and finger, he guided her face upward and she opened her eyes. His smoldering gaze burned a trail down her body. Uncomfortable with the intensity of his stare, she looked away.
"Stephanie."
Her eyes shifted back to meet his gaze as he lowered his mouth and softly brushed his lips against hers, questioningly awaiting a response. Accepting his invitation, she parted her lips and moaned softly. His lips were soft and enticing. It had been a long time since she was kissed like this. She surrendered her tongue to his and felt desire fill her belly as an overwhelming passion grew by the moment. Breathlessly, she pulled away, embarrassed by her body's reaction to the kiss. She looked down and placed her forehead on his chin.

Reviews:

5 out of 5 stars "OH. MY. GOD! Strikingly Hottest Erotica Novella! An amazing short story was well-written and convincingly hot and sensual." - Best Erotica Books

 "Marooned in Miami is an excellent short, steamy and very erotic tale." - Fallen Angel Reviews

 "You're going to have to trust me on this one, and go pick it up, it's worth it." - The eBook Reviewers

“This will make you hot on a cold winter night!” – Reader Review



7 comments:

  1. Helpful advice, Sandra. Glad you shared some of what you've learned. It's good, solid advice. Great job.

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  2. Great post and what a wonderful way to put it out there in simple terms. I am currently working on my author platform as I revise my novel and am still a bit baffled by the "platform" idea,this was a great help in outlining what I need to do. Thank you so much!

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  3. Many thanks to Louise for having me on as a guest and allowing me to share my experience.

    Rachel and Miranda, Thank you for your comments! Much luck to both of you in developing and expanding your "platforms"! We are all in this together! ;-)

    ~S

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  4. Interesting - so here's my question ~ HOW did you get 2,000 twitter followers in 2 months?
    I'm in your group for Rachael's 4th campaign! Glad to meet you! ~Theresa Sneed, author of No Angel and its forthcoming prequel, From Heaven to Earth

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  5. Hi Theresa! Nice to meet you too. Wow - 2,000 in 2 months would be something but it's taken me 5 months. I average about 100 followers per week. How? I spend a little time each day finding new people to follow. I don't just follow anyone though. The majority of my followers/following are writers and readers.

    I find that it's important to engage your following as well. No one likes to be tweeted "at" all of the time. Engagement benefits are twofold. You gain supporters, those that will retweet you and even may buy your book, but you will also find friends, colleagues and/or collaborators in the industry. In just a few months I made some great friends, read awesome authors, hired an amazing consultant, found my publisher, web designer and editor through Twitter. What a powerful resource!

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  6. Thank you for hosting Sandra :)

    BK

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  7. Great stuff! I'm stopping by from the campaign to say hello!

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