Posted by: nancyisanders | August 26, 2018

Author Platform 101: Q and A


A couple of days ago, Jarm, one of my enthusiastic blog followers, asked me the following question:

“I’m having trouble building my list. All the components are there on my website, but evidently, I’m not drawing people to sign up. Do I need to offer something, or is following my author’s journey enough?”

These are great questions, Jarm! And these are issues I struggle with as well. There are no right or wrong answers, but this is how I try to handle these things for my own career. Maybe you’ll find some helpful ideas for managing your own sites.

I use my website as my calling card. Meaning I set it up and I refer folks to it. But I don’t count on it to generate sales of my newest books. I use my website to let people know about me as an author in a general way.

I decided long ago that I would use my blog to target one group of people: other writers. So that’s pretty much what I talk about on my blog. I post tips and tricks of the trade and actual “look at my author’s journey” here on my blog. I enjoy building this writing community here. But I don’t expect my blog to generate sales of my newest books.

Here’s how I plan on using social media to generate sales of my newest books.

First, I identify my target BUYING audience. Who will buy my newest book? (Each of my books has a slightly different buying audience.)

Next, I’m trying to find out where these people hang out on social media.

One of the biggest groups of people who will buy my upcoming book, JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS, is teachers. So I’m learning where teachers hang out.

Teachers hang out at a site called TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS, so I’m working on building a store there where they can download free teachers’ guides to my books. Plus they can buy several resources I self-publish for teachers to use with their students. I’m trying to build my followers here so they can see when I have a new product come out.

There are also teacher groups on Facebook and on Twitter so I’m currently working to join groups on these sites. And after I join them, I am friending teachers in these groups. That’s so I can reach out to them when I’m ready to share posts about my book’s release in Febuary.

And finally, I have various friends who are teachers. So I’m creating a free e-mail list on MailChimp of teachers I know through cyberspace or as personal friends. I’m planning on sending out a newsletter next February to let all my teacher friends know about the release of JANE AUSTEN FOR KIDS.

All of this will take time so I’m working very slowly. I’m trying to manage my time so that I work on my current manuscript projects first in the day and save this social media for my slower times of the day. And I’m giving myself 6 months (and longer) to accomplish each baby step I’m taking.

So to answer Jarm’s question, it’s good to share your author’s journey on your website. Or blog. But to help generate sales for your books by building your author’s platform, it’s important to identify your target buying audience, then find where they hang out on social media, then take steps to connect with them so you can share with them about your book.

Hope that helps!


  1. That was very helpful, Nancy. . .thanks! My upcoming book will resonate with home educators, church librarians, Christian schools and others who enjoy MG historical/Biblical fiction. So I’ll look for those groups on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve already joined a few groups on Goodreads. How do you keep track of them all? And do you mostly watch their comments or actually interact with them?

    • More great questions! I’ll answer them in an upcoming post.

  2. Hi Nancy, great article, questions and answers. I’ve shied away from social media for quite some time because of the overwhelming feeling as to where to begin. I’ve recently have been more active and I’m determine to take baby steps as well. Thanks for the tips on Teachers Pay Teachers. Looking forward to staying reconnected. Best, Donna

    • So nice to hear from you, Donna! Glad you’re finding these posts helpful.

  3. Thank you, Nancy for starting this series. I’m working on a family devotions and activities book that several publishers have shown interest in, but I know I have to also work on my platform. I have a website and blog, but the newsletter and facebook groups, etc. have been a mystery, so I’m following these posts and everyone’s comments and questions with great interest! Thank you again for always being so helpful with the writing journey!!

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