Monday, September 1, 2014

Happy Labor Day -- Win a $25 Gift Certificate from Amazon!
Click to enter!
 I'm hosting a Back to School Giveaway on my blog. No, I'm not launching a new book. I like to treat my readers to unexpected surprises now and then. I also hope to acquire new readership. This is one reason authors hold contests.

Click for a chance to win!
 Contests are a fun way to help build your on-line platform. I've held several and they are tons of fun. My favorite contests were when I was launching my first novel, The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots. I held a Facebook Party and gave away gifts all throughout the evening to those attending. It's fun to go back to the transcript of the party and read it! If you want to know how to do it for yourself, feel free to explore the page for yourself.

Click to view Facebook launch party
Online platforms are becoming an important part of the author package writers must present to prospective publishers. The first thing a publishing committee will do when introduced to a new author, or even a published one, is Google the author's name. Does your name bring up any social media results? Do you have a website? Some publishers won't publish authors who don't have a healthy online-presence.

Karla's website header
I'm like a lot of authors in that social media isn't my favorite thing to spend time on. I'd rather not have the distraction. But, I look at it this way--it's beats digging ditches. And it's basically painless. Like scrubbing toilets, it must be done, and it won't kill me.

If you don't know where to start, here are the basics:
  • Build a website. It doesn't have to be fancy. I used when I first started and later I used There are other free platforms out there. Use the one that is the most user-friendly for you. I didn't spend money to have someone design one for me until after I had my first novel published.
This blog interacts with the history books I write
  • Blog. You don't have to blog every day but it makes sense that the more you blog the more people will visit. What to blog about? Do a Google search for blog topics and you'll have more than you'll ever have time to write. Also, I started my first blogs on Blogger, but now I use WordPress because that's what my web designer used to design my site. There's a learning curve to WordPress, but I love it. However, if you're new to finding your way around the Internet, I recommend Blogger. Many successful authors use it and it's what I use for my interactive ebooks.
Click to follow!
  • Facebook: I have a "friends" page with about 3300+ followers, an author page with a little over 500, a page for my book and several groups. But really, you don't have to do all that. You can simply use your friends page if you wish. However, once you reach 5000 followers, you have to stop accepting them and direct them to your author page. So it's a good idea to go ahead and build your author page. The nice thing about an author page is that you can host your giveaways on it.  
Facebook Author Page Giveaway Tab
  • Twitter: for me, this is the hardest platform to build relationships on. But I am learning!
Click to follow me!
  • Pinterest: I have almost 3,000 followers on Pinterest and it was super easy to build that following. Pick a popular subject and start pinning! (To keep numbers in perspective, most best-selling authors have followers in the five digits. I'm still working toward that!)
Click to follow me!
  • Google+: I'm fairly new to Google+ but as more people learn to use it, I'm gaining more experience and developing relationships.
Click to follow me!
  • LinkedIn: I post here every time I have a blog post. 
Click to follow me!
  • tumblr: I have about 800 followers on tumblr. I admit that tumblr is one of my guilty pleasures. I enjoy the people I follow there and I actually get the news before it's published in most other forums. It's a lot like twitter that way.
Click to view
  • Goodreads: I have about 1300 followers on Goodreads. I'm not very good at checking in there, but while I was promoting my book, I did give books away and I believe it was well worth the expense and time. 
Click to follow!
Those are the basic platforms/applications that most writers use to build their online presence. Many do not use all of them. Others use more. I have my twitter and tumblr hooked together so that when I post on tumblr it posts on twitter. It helps me build relationships on tumblr, but it doesn't help much on twitter because to build relationships on twitter you need to interact and respond to other people's posts. 
As you can see, I'm not yet in the mega-following status and I'm still learning. A platform isn't built in a day, or week or month. It takes time to build relationships, and that's what successful authors do. No one likes to be bombarded with "buy my book" all the time. People want to connect with people, not products. If you build relationships, you'll gain a faithful tribe. And making friends, loving one another, and caring about others is what life's all about in the first place.
Click to tweet: What are you doing to build your online platform?

Don't forget to go to my website and enter the giveaway! Today's the last day! Have fun!

Leave me a message below and let me know how you're building your online platform!


  1. I agree. It seems having a blog or website (or both) is almost a requirement to being considered in the publishing world. It's so hard for non full time writers...those with other jobs besides have time to do it all. That said, it's never to early to start a website or blog. Even new writers should blog somewhere, if only to get their names out there.