Indie Publishing

Start Your Author Platform Pt. 1

Vision Road Sign with dramatic blue sky and clouds.I’ve recently had a friend begin building a writing platform so I’ve handed out some advice and suggestions. I’ve written about some of my work over the last year in building my own platform so I thought I’d start a how-to/advice series. Though I’m far from being expert, I do have some tidbits that may prove useful to aspiring authors. Back in December, I wrote a series reviewing my year as an author so I’ll build on those posts with some specifics about what I’ve done and why as well as what I’ve learned.

So, for starters, here’s what an author is facing when building a writing platform. You’ll need the following:

  • HammerA registered domain – it’s best to have a domain named for you as an author. This is important for branding your content. This branding associates your name with what you write. This is how people find you to learn more about what you write. Don’t name your domain something outlandish as this will not add anything to your brand and could take away from it – think professional. You can register a domain any number of ways but usually you can pay for it when you setup your hosting.
  • A website and/or blog – Next you’ll need a website. Depending on how your hosted there will be different tools available. If you’re on a budget try using free hosting with something like WordPress. You can create a simple design for your site. It may be important to blog as well so think in those terms as you design your site. Running a blog can be important to attracting readers who begin to trust your writing.
  • An email address using your registered domain – your email address should be easily associated with you as a writer so use a name that makes since. Also, if you are on a tight budget you can have your email hosted over Google at minimal cost. I chose to pay monthly in case I move to a full-fledged hosting service. This way I’m out of Google easily without having paid ahead and wasting money.
  • Various social media accounts using your author email – that email address now becomes important since you will likely setup all your social media channels with it. But with what social media should you start? Don’t overdo it with too many. Twitter is very important. For authors it is also important to have a Goodreads presence. Beyond that, you will emphasize your channels based on your genre.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll dig deeper into the nuts and bolts of how I approached these various platform needs. But suffice it so say at this point that I’ve built what I have to this point on a low-cost budget. I intend to grow what I have this year but that depends on my available funds but I’ve made the whole writing prospect self-based rather than one that I pour lots of money into on the front-end.

As you can see there are many aspects to a writing platform project. There’s a lot to do but if you take it one step at a time you’ll progress much faster than you think. Next week, I’ll start with the foundation you’ll need for your writing platform. The main takeaway for today is this: be willing to start, stay on a budget and grow into a bigger platform as you go. This will remain an ongoing project for me and it probably will for you as well.

Here are some related links from previous posts that relate to some of this topic and may help you think in terms of getting started:

Under ConstructionA New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 1

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 2

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 3

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 4

A New Author’s Year in Review Pt. 5

4 Free Photo Sites – More Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

4 Platform Tips for the Fund Challenged Writer

12 Things I Learned About Blogging In 2014

I Heart Writing: Why You Need To Commit

Book Cover Green Top & Bottom Cover - CopyWhat questions do you have about starting your writing platform? What tips can you offer from building your writing platform? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Scrivener & Revision Strategies For Projects

Scrivener is a powerful writing tool. I write about it weekly with tips and usage ideas. To read more of my posts click the Scrivener tag or category at the end of the page.

Scrivener LogoI received my edited manuscript back from my editor a few weeks ago. I’ve been working on the suggested structural changes. But one of the immediate questions I had was how to incorporate this back into my Scrivener project.

Back in January, I wrote about how to compile a manuscript. My purpose in compiling at the time was for my editor and I successfully turned a Word document over to her. But this leads to a slight problem. If the changes are in Word how do I get the content back into Scrivener?

Several options presented themselves when I considered the problem:

1. Create a whole new project and import the edited version into Scrivener.

2. Copy content back into the project one chapter at a time.

3. Within the project, create a whole new folder and import the new revision into it.

Scriv Import

I’m using the third option. It keeps the book in one project and allows me to refer to the previous revision easily. I could also import one chapter at a time if I need to do break my changes up more.

Fortunately, Scrivener allows choosing what to include/exclude while compiling so I can include only the newest revision. This is a simple process which is covered in my post about compiling.

Scrive Compile Select

Here’s a poll so you can choose your best choice:

What are your thoughts on these choices? How would you address importing edited content for a new revision? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my blackbag-imgContact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed recently so take a look.

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Just as a note: I am not affiliated with Scrivener in any official capacity. For support questions, pricing and other concerns please contact the vendor.

 

Getting Creative: Secondary Uses for Scrivener

Scrivener is fast becoming a mainstay of my writing. I’ve written about this software several times now but for those who are not familiar with it, Scrivener is for developing writing projects. It’s a powerful tool that allows for a great deal of flexibility for any kind of writing project. I’m even using it for this post but especially a series of blogs.

Having An IdeaA Whole New Use

I recently started a newsletter for my blog which I send out to email followers. As part of this process I use Mailchimp to send the messages. I’ll be working on the upcoming edition for next week over several days but it hit me as I started thinking about it – write the newsletter in Scrivener.

My Newsletter Plan

I’m sure other people are doing this already but I haven’t seen anyone actually write about it. Here’s how I plan to use Scrivener.

1. Create a project for the year (since I just started the newsletter the one for 2014 will be short).

2. Use the Binder to create each newsletter volume in separate sub-folders so the project will grow throughout the year.

3. Use the Research folder to create separate sub-folders for each volume where I can put ideas, links, pictures, etc. that I want to use for that volume. When I start writing the volume I’ll have all my information ready to go.

4. Transfer the text to the template in Mailchimp when ready.

Other Related Ideas

Since I plan to use Scrivener for developing my newsletter I also realized there are other similar uses too:

  • I can use it to write my book-related email campaigns.
  • Other email templates such as those used for greetings, thank-you’s and giveaways
  • Goodreads templates for those who friend me
  • It can even be used to compose social media communications that may be used repetitively. Since you can copy all kinds of files into Scrivener, I imagine I can even use it for adding pictures to post on Pinterest such as upcoming cover reveals or additional artwork to be released at a particular time.

The Bow of DestinyAs you can see, the uses for Scrivener are many and varied. Have you tried Scrivener yet? If you have, what are other ways you use it? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments section. I’d also love to connect with you over social media so check my Contact page for that information. See the News page for announcements and remember to sign-up to receive news and posts by email. I’ve added a new sign-up tab on my FaceBook page to simplify the process. New followers can download The Black Bag via free coupon today! Also, the cover of my book, The Bow of Destiny, was revealed on 11/10/14 so take a look.

Thanks for reading. I’m off to start my newsletter project in Scrivener!

P. H. Solomon

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Clip art licensed from Microsoft Office.

The Bow of Destiny cover art licensed by commission from Christopher Rawlins