Have you ever heard of Nikola Tesla? He was an early 20th-century scientist that invented a lot of cool stuff, check out his bio here. He worked on many technologies we use today and are often taken for granted. He should have been one of the most recognized innovators of the last 100 years. But he wasn’t.
Most people didn’t know who Nikola Telsa was until recently. He wasn’t frequently included in history books. He wasn’t given proper recognition until the late 80’s.
In a redeeming move, Elon Musk’s revolutionary company Tesla, pays homage to his legacy, and Nikola is a much more widely known figure today.
Why does his story matter to you?
Many people have ideas that go to sleep with them, wake up with them and go about their day with them. They never tell anybody about these ideas. Like many, maybe you sit at your computer and write for hours every day. And it’s good writing. You write stories that inspire people, can make people cry, or laugh out loud, or wonder.
But how will you ever get those stories out? How can you make money?
You need a platform. Nikola died poor and alone despite his history changing contributions to humanity. His discoveries should have made him a billionaire. But he wasn’t given credit and was cheated out of well-deserved money.
His brand should have been a household name, like Ford, IBM, and other companies from the early 1900s. There should be a Tesla brand (other than Elon Musk’s recognition brand).
Nikola didn’t develop a platform for himself! While some may consider this a result of a noble character and a reluctance to call attention to himself, I consider it a misstep in marketing. If he’d have had a good platform to launch his inventions and products from, history would have been very different today.
If you want to make the green, develop your platform.
My name is Oscar Gonzalez, and I’m glad you’re reading my first post in the O.C. Writers blog. I want to tell you about establishing your platform as a writer. I don’t consider myself an author, but in a way, I make my living from writing. I’ve written over half a million words over the past few years. I blog to help people establish their online presence and develop a platform, so they can make money with their ideas, thoughts, and products.
Green is the theme of this month. Over the next few weeks, I will give you detailed tutorials and insights into the best ways to establish a platform to help you make some green with your writing. In this post, I’m covering the basics.
If you want to get started with your author platform but need some help, check out the special offer for all members of the community here.
Please feel free to reach out with questions, comments or feedback by using the comments below. You’ll also find me in the Facebook O.C. Writers group. I try to answer messages within a few hours.
Your website should be the cornerstone of your platform.
The very first thing you need is a domain name and a website with a blog on that domain. The best way to pick a domain name is to use your name or pen name, or possibly the name of your book or book series.
The domain name should be easy to pronounce, easy to remember, easy to spell and hard to confuse with other names. A shorter name is better than a longer name. Avoid dashes “-” and replacing words for numbers—like 2 for “to” or “too” or 4 for “for”. It may seem clever, but it’s confusing.
Get web hosting and install WordPress
Once you have narrowed down the ideas for your domain name, head over to GreenGeeks web hosting and get a web hosting plan. You only need the base web-hosting plan to start. When you get your account, you will be able to reserve your domain for free. If you already have a domain you purchased before, then you can transfer it over for free as well.
After you have your account, you can install WordPress and start your website. Installing WordPress is very simple using the dashboard and the 1-click install system. Just follow the prompts, and you will have your website ready within a few minutes.
Next, you can customize your website and start publishing some of the information about you and your brand. Don’t worry about having everything perfectly tuned; you’ll learn as you go. Just get started.
I recommend you start with three main pages and a blog section. Write an About or Bio page, a Contact page, and one more pages for your ongoing projects. The blog can be used to keep your readers and fans abreast of your upcoming books, essays, signing events, speaking engagements, or book clubs. Writing on your blog can also be an excellent way to establish a relationship with your readers, test out ideas and get feedback from your fans.
Follow up with your audience regularly
Once you have a website and a blog, your next step is to establish a channel of communication with your readers. The blog is great, but 60 to 90% of your visitors will never come back. People forget and are distracted easily, so it is important to give them a way to connect with you beyond the blog. For this, you’ll need to build an email list.
Get a service like Aweber, Getresponse or Mailchimp and connect it to your blog. Configure the email service to automatically welcome your new subscribers with a friendly email and send them an update every week or every couple of days. This way when your book is about to launch, or you have an event you want to invite your readers to, it will feel natural to do so via email. Do not wait weeks and months to email your subscribers!
Another way to stay in touch with your audience is to use social media. Start developing two or three social media profiles. I would suggest you work with Facebook, Instagram and maybe Twitter depending on your preferences. I would also advise you to get involved in Goodreads since that’s a community built for book lovers, and it’s very active.
Now start using your platform!
Once you have a website, a blog and social media channels active make sure you promote them. Don’t let your great ideas remain undiscovered. You have promote yourself, because nobody else will do it for you. Send people from your social media channels to your blog, invite them to read your latest posts, ask for feedback, ask them to join your newsletter. Put your website on your business card, add it to your email signature, tell your friends and family about it.
Use your platform. It will help you make money. Through your WordPress website, you can easily book speaking gigs, sell your books, sell merchandise, or even create a writing course and sell it.
- Consider the cautionary tale of Nikola Tesla.
- Establish a website with a blog. Start here.
- Establish an email autoresponder or newsletter. I recommend Aweber, Getresponse or Mailchimp.
- Start publishing on your blog to connect and get feedback.
- Monetize your platform with your books, speaking engagements, and other merchandise.
Oscar Gonzalez is O.C.Writers’ resident tech expert and a regular contributor to the blog. His aim is to simplify the technical aspects of building a successful author platform through online marketing, blogging, and website monetization. Learn more about his offer to help you setup your own author’s platform here
Learn more about Oscar’s online marketing strategies from his blog at Notagrouch.com