Over the past few weeks we’ve talked a bit about the tools you can use to build your platform. Remember that your platform is essentially your community.

They’re the people who will buy your book. They’ll buy it because they like you, because they’re interested in your genre/niche/characters/story and so on. They’ll buy it because they’ve connected with you online and they want to read your books and support you.

To build that community we talked about using:

  • Blogs
  • Social media
  • Email

If you’re new to the concept of building your platform then this can seem a bit overwhelming. I’m a huge fan of breaking down larger projects and seemingly insurmountable challenges into smaller pieces.

Here’s how you might want to consider breaking it down.

1 – Plan your blog.

Register your author’s name with a domain registration service like Hostgator. For example, I have annettebrownlee.com and annetteelton.com both registers.

Decide what you want your blog to look like and what you’re going to write about. This step can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a full month. Research other writer’s blogs, especially those in your genre. Take notes on what you like about them and what you don’t like. This is a step you can do in the evenings while you’re watching The Bachelor or HGTV. Most television shows don’t require your full attention.

Find a website host, I use 1and1.com, you can also use them to register your domain name. At the time of this writing, domains are .99. Use their WordPress application to build a WordPress blog. You can use other tools to build your website. However, I strongly recommend WordPress because once it’s installed, it’s super easy to use. You can add custom headers, book promos in the sidebar, and social media activities too. There are literally thousands of plug-ins that you can install with the click of a button and a few settings you can create a website that looks exactly like you want it to. There’s even a fun plug-in called “Buy the book” that lets authors sell their books on their blog.

Here are two resources that you might find helpful –

How to Create a Website Using WordPress http://www.amazon.com/How-Create-Website-Using-Wordpress-ebook/dp/B00C77U612/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1403454159&sr=8-8&keywords=blogging

The kindle version of this book is free and it has great reviews for being easy to use.

Jane Friedman also has what looks to be a pretty comprehensive series on blogging. Her site is http://janefriedman.com/2011/08/24/blogging-for-writers/

2- Social Media

Once you have your blog up and running and you’re adding content to it on a somewhat consistent basis then the next step is to look to social media. Choose a site, Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook and start engaging. Build a professional author profile and try to interact at least once a week. You can begin linking your blogging activities to your social media page and sharing other content that you think your audience would be interested in.

3 – Email

After a few months of feeling successful on social media and blogging, consider creating an email marketing campaign. You might simply create a monthly newsletter or you might give away an eBook to people who sign up for your email list. You can then keep in touch with your audience by letting them know what you’re up to and when your books are being released. Of all the three steps, for romance author’s I think this is the least important. Connect via social media and your blog first. Build a following and then consider adding email to your list of things to do.

Start Small!

Notice that I suggested blogging once a week and interacting on social media at least once a week. I know you’re busy and you’re supposed to be writing your novel, not farting around on Facebook. However, if you can spend a few minutes a day, while you’re watching TV or eating breakfast, on social media, you’ll build your audience faster.

Next time, we’re going to take a step away from the business of selling your romance books and talk about tapping into your creative side. It’s summer and there’s inspiration all around you – perfect for writing saucy novels full of heat and adventure.