Whether you’re a traditionally-published, an independently-published, or a hybrid author — you must know how to build a following (also known as a platform). If you want to be considered by a large publishing house, you need a good-sized platform; and if you publish independently, your platform is what keeps you afloat.
Agents and publishers want you to be everywhere — Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads, YouTube, SnapChat — everywhere. I mean, talk about overwhelming, right? My advice: focus on just one social media platform at a time, and build it up.
This is the first in a series of articles about different social media platforms. The articles will describe how a writer can use each platform to build relationships, growing their own personal author platform and advancing their career.
In this article, I will explain how LinkedIn has been a huge game-changer for me. Everything really started to kick off when I joined LinkedIn. In fact, I wish I had joined sooner. Let me explain how I use LinkedIn to build my platform.
Making Author-Worthy Connections
- First, start by connecting with other authors, editors, content writers, CEOs of publishing companies, literary agents, librarians, and journalists. As you connect with people, you can message them and introduce yourself. Start up a conversation and be friendly.
- After a little while, you can tell them you would love to give them a free copy of your novel if they’re interested. (If you don’t have a novel published, you can write a short story to give out.) Normally, people will say yes and thank you for the offer.
- Write them a short email thanking them for their interest in your work and asking them if they would like to be added to your mailing list.
In regard to your mailing list, I recommend only sending out monthly or quarterly newsletters. Quarterly newsletters have worked well for me, as my time is often very limited, and this way my subscribers don’t feel like I’m spamming them.
Building Relationships to Advance Your Career
You can also use LinkedIn to build relationships with journalists and professionals in the publishing industry. I have had eight different publishing companies request to see my work after introducing myself to them on LinkedIn. It’s also great for publicity. I had connected with several radio show hosts, and within an hour got offers to appear on three different radio shows.
There are so many possibilities with LinkedIn. So far, I’ve built a platform of 20,000 people across all of my social media, and almost every single one of those people works in the publishing or film industry.
I’ve connected with talk show hosts, editors from major publishing houses, radio show hosts, librarians, well-respected journalists, and the list goes on. Whenever I recommend a social media platform to start with, I always recommend focusing on LinkedIn.
In short, building relationships really is the key to growing your platform and advancing your career. In the publishing industry, talent and hard work are important, but who you know is very important as well.
How to Build a Following on LinkedIn in Just Five Minutes a Day
I’ve mentioned before that my time is very limited, and sometimes I literally only have five minutes to spare. That’s okay. Five minutes a day add up to 35 minutes a week and 155 minutes every month. The important thing is that you start the process. So, grab some coffee, set a timer if you need to, take a deep breath, and get started!
In my next article, I will talk about how to use Facebook to grow your platform and build relationships with others in the industry.
Happy platform building, author friends!