5 steps to building a rocking author platform

It’s been a month since my novel, The Girl From Oto, flew across the pond to undergo a thorough analysis by an editor. It should be back any day. In the meantime, have I been kicking back, taking a well-deserved break from writing and self-editing? No way. There is so much to do in authorpreneurland, and so little time. Here’s what I’ve been up to:

1. Establishing a social media empire—uh, presence. A few months ago, tweeting was an abstract concept to me, something other people did that didn’t quite make sense to me. Now I have published more than 50 tweets, am following nearly 500 people, and have over 200 followers. What I’ve learned about Twitter: I want to follow accounts and people who truly resonate with me and share my interests. Twitter is crawling with marketing and promotional gimmicks, and I’ve made an effort to wade through that and find tweets that are useful and interesting to me, and share them with others. I try to spend about 10 minutes a day on Twitter. I’m not in a rush to gather thousands of followers. I am taking it slow and it works for me. In other news, I’m now on Goodreads. Up next: Facebook author page and Pinterest board.
2. Creating a professional-looking hosted website. I bought a domain name, amymaroneyauthor.com (which I agonized over, naturally, because of the OTHER Amy Maroney who lives in the Southern US and already snapped up the domain name amymaroney.com. I’m not bitter, other Amy Maroney, really I’m not.) I’m still not sure if I did the right thing by not using my middle name. But I am thinking of my book covers and want to keep things as short and simple as possible. I am using RockingSelfPublishing.com‘s FREE author website building demo to create it, which has made things very easy.
3. Searching for the right cover designer for my book. I have spent a lot of time in bookstores and scouring the Web in search of book covers that I love. One resource that’s been great is Joel Friedlander’s The Book Designer website. He runs a monthly competition for e-book covers and archives them, so there is a lot to compare and contrast.
4. Learning about Amazon Kindle Direct, CreateSpace, Smashwords, IngramSpark, IBooks, and all the other players in the e-book and POD (print on demand) worlds. There are a lot of self-publishing resources online that tell you about this stuff. If you want to dive in, start with the Alliance of Independent Authors. I also just bought a book that’s proving to be super-helpful about this and most other steps of the self-publishing journey: “Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing” by Catherine Ryan Howard.
5. Educating myself about the legal issues that come with publishing a book — from setting up a business to dealing with copyright, insurance, and taxes. Oh—and avoiding lawsuits. I’m getting good advice from Helen Sedwick’s “Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook.”

The more I learn, the more there is to do. As an independent author, I have to wear so many hats. That’s why I have a master list of tasks and a timeline that are guiding this process. Staying organized is the key to pulling this off!

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Posted in What I've Learned (It Might Help You!) and tagged , , , , , , , .

Amy Maroney

I'm a writer living in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and daughters. It took 4 years to write and publish my first novel, The Girl from Oto. Before that I was a writer and editor of nonfiction. This blog charts my progress as an independent author navigating the fog-shrouded switchbacks of "authorpreneurship." Come along for the ride...I hope what I've learned along the way can help you, too!

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