Wednesday, December 30, 2009


At ATTMPress we have a Yahoo group just for our authors. The group has become a family of sorts where they share marketing ideas, book reviews and connections. Not too long ago, we posted an article about 'author platforms.' John Gorman, author of SHADES OF LUZ, posted an excellent response that we feel can be shared with all authors. Here is what john said:

"I think I keep reevaluating the concept “Author Platform” in my head. To me, it’s much like the process of revision. I might get off to some good starts with my prose, but after while, after I have really looked it over, I realize boy does it need work. Only after the blood sweat and toil (the polishing) does the story take shape.

Building a platform takes a lot of work, but there’s a smart way to approach it. I have a much better idea of how to put one together now. But, I can guarantee the launch of my second book will not be nearly as good as the launching of my third book. Okay, so I think I am parroting a bit of what Phil says when he mentioned in the first post that building a readerships takes time. Indeed. I think I hit my wall a month ago. I went on a bloodless campaign to enlist all my former classmates, co-workers, I even reached out to family which showed my desperation or exuberance. It paid off, but it was a one-trick pony. The moment you lighten up everything comes to halt. But you can’t keep at it 24/7. Actually, it’s more like you need to be at it 35/8. In order to do that you need leverage. People who can spread the word for you.

Without a doubt, I was late to the blogosphere, book club circuit, and lit communities. Honestly, I thought it would be much easier to line up readings. It turns out venues I had read at before, places I was counting on reading at again couldn’t find spots for me even after I had given them head’s up. The readings I lined up came from new areas. Important lesson learned. Get used to cold calling and exploring new places. Also, expect setbacks.

I learned that one can list readings for free in Poets and Writers Magazine A pretty awesome thing with a large national readership. Also, that you can get grants to fund your readings but this needs to be done in advance.

Another thing I regret not doing sooner was approaching bookshops. When I had a little pushback from a few indie shops I decided to focus online. Good. But, if I stuck with it I would have bound the St. Mark’s and Bluestockings that were pieces of cake and very receptive. A lesson in it’s all a numbers game.

Once I had my blog, Facebook, and Twitter a-going I focused there. I rode a short wave of interest from Pacific University, where I studied for my MFA, and then was lucky enough to get some old elementary classmates into the John Gorman the author movement.

Big Publishers spend budgets and have a lot of lead time to get their book into the market. Small Fries need to think critically and leverage whatever resources they have. Here’s something I still haven’t done because I am a lousy procrastinator, but I am making it a top priority for the New Year. I am going to podcast readings and author Q and A's. You’ll notice whether it’s the New Yorker, Poets and Writers, A Public Space, or the myriad of journals and writers out there, and especially the established ones, they are all keying into the wired world.

Kindle is going to be a priority for me too. Also, I intend to release a single short story through Amazon. That’ll be another title under my name. This is all small potatoes but it builds a cumulative effect. I also want to get better acquainted with my local libraries. That seems like a no-brainer. I think there’s a lot of great stuff out there, but one needs to put together a master checklist of the things that ought to get done daily, weekly, monthly. You need to keep putting yourself back on track."

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Thanks for sharing these insights, John. The world of books and marketing is changing dramatically. Our authors are exploring and sharing some great insights and ideas that will bring them into 21st century marketing.

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