Conventional Wisdom Part One

A writer never stops learning, either in reading books on the craft or taking workshops or gathering with other writers. During the last weekend in February I had the wonderful experience of going to a science fiction con, ConDor, and taking workshops that were attended by other writers and led by other writers. I had a really wonderful time. And I am going to share some key points with you.

The first panel I sat in on was called Building Your Author Platform. Wendy Van Camp is self-published and doing moderately well. I purchased one of her books but haven’t had a chance to read it. But how could I resist? Titled The Curate’s Brother, it is a short story and prequel to Jane Austen’s Persuasion.

031316 an author platform

Wendy opened the panel saying that If Nobody Knows About It, Nobody Can Buy It. This applies to many products, but especially to books. She compared the platform to a pyramid, with the top point being your information going out to the world. The base of the pyramid is Twitter. However, you should start with a blog. WordPress is an excellent place to begin blogging, She suggests buying your domain name, and use your author name. If you don’t own it, someone else might snap it up and then try to charge you lots of money for it. Currently it’s about $13 per year to own your domain name. It’s a good idea to get your domain name from a different provider than your web server.

You should have an About page for your blog, with a good bio of you, and she suggests a photo. There is controversy there, but as Wendy also suggests lots of public appearances and book signings, a photo may help your fans find you in a crowded book store. If you still resist a photo of you, maybe a photo of your pet, your geraniums, or your best attempt to draw a self portrait, kind of like in Deadpool.

031316 every writer

Have a page to display your work. State the title, if it’s a novella, short story, etc, a synopsis or blurb, and an excerpt, followed by the link to buy.

A nice feature of WordPress is that you can set it up to automatically tweet and post on facebook every time you post. Because you have to have an Author Page on Facebook. You can automate that to post scheduled things daily. Make sure there is a link back to your blog there. I believe there is a way to tweet your facebook posts, but I haven’t discovered that yet. Unless you just copy the address bar and tweet that.

031316 you build walls

So obviously you need a Twitter account at the same time you have your blog. When you have a product to push, tweet several times per day. I’m struggling with this one, as it seems intrusive, but then again I don’t stay glued to Twitter, so I might miss something if it only goes out once.

To follow Wendy and get more insight from her, go to No Ink Wasted. For the next two Sundays, I will be sharing more information from the other convention workshops. Thanks for reading, and I will be back Thursday to celebrate being an Irish American.


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