So here I am, back in September, at a book event. Yes, a public speaking event about seasonal cooking and this was followed by a book signing. Public speaking events at libraries, extension offices, women’s and senior’s groups, and specialty food markets are part of my platform. Public speaking puts me in front of a group of people and they get to know me better. If they like me, and let’s hope they do, and if they like my message about seasonal foods and cooking, they might even buy my cookbook. This is the goal of an author platform: to connect me with my customers. To get them to know, like, and trust me, so that they buy my books and products from me.
In addition to this goal of connecting with customers, an aspiring cookbook author develops a platform for an additional reason: to attract attention around their message, and to attract attention from publishers and agents. Then they might just want to publish a book you write, all because they know, like, and trust you. They trust that you can help bring in book sales because you’ve built a strong platform.
Here are 3 ways to start building your author platform:
1. Define the target audience for your book and your message. Who is your ideal client or customer for your book? Who are you speaking to when you write? Is it: teens who want to learn to cook? Home-bakers who use gluten-free flours? or perhaps it’s single professional men who love to cook, but want simple, delicious recipes so they can entertain clients at home? Define who you are talking to and who your message is targeted for. Then get out there and talk to them – in person, in print, in digital media, and virtually.
2. Build a strong base or hub such as a blog or website. All of the work you do in your platform drives people back to your base or your hub. This is the center-piece of your book or your business. Everything revolves around here. If you don’t have a blog or website yet, start to develop one. Simple and free blogs are available from WordPress.comand Blogger.com. When you start to blog, remember you are having a conversation with your audience. There is no magic number about how often to blog, what’s more important is to strive to blog consistently.
3. Focus on getting to know your customers through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin. Be selective about your social media. I limit my involvement to the three I just mentioned, but there are many more social media opportunities out there, such as Google + and MySpace. Pick the few you want to use, set up profiles that align with your message and with your website or blog, and start socializing. You don’t need to spend all day with social media to be effective. Your goal is to get to know your ideal customers and to develop a relationship with them. Share a link to a relevant article. Give tips and suggestions to them. Help them with their cooking, food, or nutrition problem. This will build trust. This will also go a long way to build in an audience who might buy your book in the future.
If you do these 3 things, you’re off to a great start. By defining the audience for your book, building a base to communicate with them, and then using social media to get to know them better, you’re on your way to creating a platform that everyone can enjoy. In the end it draws attention and that’s what you want: others who listen to your message and gain positive experiences from interacting with you.
Writing a cookbook is a fun way to carve out your expertise in an area related to food, cooking, and the kitchen. I’m excited to announce the start of my Cookbook Camp – a 5-session virtual camp for aspiring cookbook authors.
It’s not too late to register for Cookbook Camp.
We’ll meet in our virtual camp on five Tuesdays from 12:00 – 1:00 EDT and work through basic questions aspiring cookbook authors have, such as creating an concept, writing recipes, and developing a platform. You will receive support from other aspiring cookbook authors, support from me (your Cookbook Coach), and worksheets to work through concepts, recipe writing, and platform development – all essential ingredients of a successful cookbook.