Whether self- or mainstream-published, every new author is bombarded with ideas on how to develop an author platform on the Internet, and I’ve found this plethora of advice to quickly burgeon into information overload. I’ve stumbled upon this link that I believe many Newsletter subscribers might want to “bookmark” as a resource medium. “101 Quick Actions You Can Take Today to Build the Writer’s Platform of Your Dreams,” by Kimberly Grabbas, is FREE and provides a wealth of solid tips, plus a huge number of backlinks to articles that elaborate and reinforce her contentions. Ms. Grabbas also responds to questions from those who read her material, and it appears she does this in a timely manner.
I’m not of the opinion that what she suggests is necessarily “quick,” but it is exponentially faster than putting the material together from scratch and then engaging in hit-or-miss scenarios, since she’s taken the time to do all the legwork. As stated, her material is provided at no charge. Her remuneration comes from commissions she earns from writers who purchase services from some of the paid options she suggests. I found none of this out of line, as the consumer is not paying an upcharge, at least from anything I could determine. Of particular interest was her extolling the virtues of Bluehost as a hosting site for anyone starting a blog. I am a big Bluehost fan myself, as for one fee a subscriber can host as many domain names as desired, and the fee, with a necessary add-on or two, is around $100 bucks for a year and less than $200 for three.
I’ve used Bluehost since I built my Web site in 2008, and I renewed for three years in January of this year. As Ms. Grabbas says, “The firm provides outstanding customer support.” First, everything with Bluehost is based here in the States; and, second, their technical-support people have helped me several times with WordPress issues. This is a really big deal because WordPress is not available except by “forum,” and a lot of the Q&A can be mind-boggling for someone like me who can do little more than turn a computer on and off. To be clear on WordPress, there is chat line, but I believe it requires a $60 or so monthly subscription. The point of all this is that I find Bluehost’s help with WordPress to be an exceptional plus, and it’s wholly peripheral to my Bluehost subscription. I don’t get a dime from Bluehost for plugging the firm, but I am extremely pleased with this company’s response to my issues, and why I’m promoting the firm without qualification.
To another issue related to Ms. Grabbas’s excellent compendium, I recently noticed a piece by a well-known agent that dovetails into all of this. The agent said that one of the first things considered is whether the author is a career writer or a hobbyist. This is rather pompous, in my opinion, as how many people on this planet have ever quit their jobs and started writing novels–and made it? I can’t think of a better way to guarantee population control, as I know of no easier road to assure starvation than to try to make it solely as a writer. But there is a bright side to this, and it meshes in with a prime tenet of Ms. Grabbas’s list. For a writer to be successful in today’s ultra-crowded environment, if writing is not a full-time job, the marketing of the book must be as close to a full-time job as the author’s spare time will allow.
Writers must be committed to marketing their work, and Ms. Grabbas’s “list” offers a number of ways to get a book and its author in front of the public. As I wrote at the outset, some of the concepts are indeed not “quick” (and I’ve learned this from personal experience long before reading the list) but each plank in her platform will give a writer another leg up (sorry for obvious sequitur) on the competition. I, however, don’t agree with one of her contentions, which is that using a free hosting medium such as Blogspot is a sign of amateurism. I’ve used Blogspot for my Critique Blog, and for years the blog has ranked from fourth to eighth on the first page via Google for the meta tag “The Perfect Write” (when I just checked, at that moment it was fourth). Oh, and the meta tag “The Perfect Write” had 666,000,000 “results.”
A huge number of issues influence Google’s Web crawler, and this is one of the most closely kept secrets in all of “compterdom.” I’m of the opinion that site hits, expertise and luck with meta tagging, and the number of hits backlinks amass, are what influence search-engine placement as much as anything else. And for the free-site naysayers, it might be good to keep in mind that “Blogspot” is a Google platform.
And since I mentioned backlinks, those provided by Ms. Grabbas’s “101 Quick Actions You Can Take Today to Build the Writer’s Platform of Your Dreams” are a must. It will likely take most people a day to work though all of what she and others provide. However, when finished, a solid outline will result that offers direction for what a writer can or can’t do on both the short and long term. And she of course suggests starting a blog well before the story is finished, should the book still be in its creative stages, which in my opinion might be the best advice of all. So, for any Newsletters subscribers who might not be great marketers, do yourselves a favor and take advantage of as many as possible of what these 101 “actions” suggest. It can only help.