Creating An Author Platform That Sticks

Today we welcome S.R. Johannes, author of the YA Wilderness Thriller, Untraceable and the newly released On The Bright Side, a super fun Tween Paranormal about a girl becoming a guardian angel after she dies, only to discover her charge is her biggest ex-high school nemesis!

Shelli is also a Marketing Maven with an MBA in Marketing. She owns her own company, freelances as time allows and knows a ton about what an author needs to do in order to give their book the best chance of success. We’ve stolen her from her blog to pick her brain about PLATFORM, a concept important to all writers on the path to publication. 🙂


A platform is an identity that people – potential readers, agents and publishers – recognize your name when the time comes.

In a nutshell, it is how you present yourself to the world. Kind of like an online business card. What defines you as a person, what motivates you, and how you want others to think of you.

Tips For A Stronger Platform

1) Be concise and connected. Everything you have in terms of marketing should be done in a cohesive way. So if you have a blog, web site, and twitter – they should all look alike – no matter what. Same colors, same fonts, same taglines. It should be concise and connected so people start to recognize you.

2) Get on the Web. You MUST have a web presence in this day and age. I hate to say this but if you Google someone and they are not there –in today’s world – people assume you are a nobody. If Google finds you – you are somebody. Sad but true. Believe it or not, people still ask me about this and people still don’t do it.

3) Be you. From a marketing perspective, make sure you project the right image and can be found easily online. The worst thing is creating a platform that is not in alignment with you. People will see right through it. So get to know yourself and identify what you want to project and what kind of writer you are – before you start creating a platform.

4) Do a few things well. Pick what is right for you. First of all – I don’t think everyone has to do certain things – besides having a web site. You don’t have to blog or be on twitter but you have to be somewhere. Some people are great at Wattpad, some at Pinterest, and some at Tumblr. So find something, do it well, and be sure to stand out. Whether it is style, voice, or topic driven. Think of how to be different.

5) Get followers. No matter where you are, you need to find a way to be different and attract people to coming back. Have something they care about. Make sure your blog is talking about something that audience wants to know. If you are blogging about writing – you will not touch teens and that is fine as long as you know that. Visit other blogs that are popular and see what they are doing.

6) See it as friending. Facebook got onto something when they called people “friends”. That is what social networking is about. Think of it as making friends. YOU would never walk up to someone you just met and said “hey you – buy my book”. But if you had a friend for a while, they would buy it without you asking just because it’s yours. Find blogs you like and go to them regularly. Look at it as making a friend online. Some of my closest friends I met online. You don’t just say – “hey you be my friend.” You reach out a little and see if they reach back. Comment on other blogs, especially ones that you like or new ones. People love that. It shows that you care about what they are saying.

7) Target the right audiences. Focus on a few different ones too. Don’t just focus on the publishing industry. Be sure you are touching the end user –teens if you are in YA. I see too many authors marketing their stuff to the book community and nowhere else. You need to hit all your targets differently. And know that you have more than one. Break down YA into segments so you can reach them more personally. If your book is about nature, go to where the teens are.

8) Be authentic. Do onto others what you would want them to do to you. Include them on blog rolls, help promote them, and comment consistently. Eventually they will be your blog friends. Don’t be fake about it. Bloggers know if someone is fake. Call it a cyber sense.

9) Give and take. I personally believe in giving back FIRST. I have spent 2 years giving back without asking or expecting anything in return. It was what I wanted to do for the writing community. I would never have felt comfortable reaching out to people for help when my book came out had I just took without ever giving in some way.

10) Give yourself time but start now. Building a platform takes time. It does not happen overnight. So don’t pressure yourself. Start now and it will grow over time.

S.R. Johannes is the author of Untraceable (a teen wilderness thriller) and On The Bright Side (a tween paranormal). She lives in Atlanta Georgia with her dog, British-accented husband, and the huge imaginations of their little prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world. After earning an MBA and working in corporate America, S.R. Johannes traded in her expensive suits, high heels, and corporate lingo for a family, flip-flops, and her love of writing.

You can find her blogging at Market My Words, tweeting wisdom on Twitter and getting her book on at Goodreads. Don’t forget to visit her Facebook Author Page for all the latest news and upcoming books!

Want to find out more about Untraceable and On The Bright Side? You can purchase Untraceable or On The Bright Side in paperback and ebook at Amazon as well as other booksellers.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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37 Responses to Creating An Author Platform That Sticks

  1. This is a great article/post. @GwynnWhite Start out writing the truth…that its tough for you to write about yourself… we all felt that way in the beginning and you will feel all of us nodding a big(we feel ya) as we read it;)…

  2. Gwynn – can you sustain a blog just with your characters?

    I think it could be a good special blogging day but it might be hard to center the whole blog around it.

    Sonia – I would not mention any statistics unless your blog is huge. I would just mention the address. YOu never know what they think is good or bad. Everyone thinks differently.

  3. Leslie Rose says:

    Good gravy, this post is a whole pile of gold. Does cyber sense come with a superhero cape?

  4. Shelli,

    A specific question:
    In your query letter to an editor, how important is it to mention the “stickiness” factor of your blog. Say people spend 2.35 minutes on average, is that worth mentioning? Also if you only have 2,400 unique visitors, is that worth mentioning or is that considered too low, and you’re better off giving the page views which are higher, in my case 7,500/month.
    Thanks to Shelli and Angela for helping all of us, as usual.

  5. JC Piech says:

    Thanks for this post, it’s really helpful! 😀 x

  6. Great things to think about. I like the point about making my blog interesting to everyone, not just writers. I really need to think more about this!

  7. Giving it time is so true. You can’t build a platform overnight. Great tips!

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