Reality for New Novelists


Start Now to Gain Your Promotion Skills

If you are starting a new novel and you think your fabulous, creative, innovative, engaging, exciting story will sell itself. Welcome to reality. It won’t sell itself.

You may dream of people reading your book and sharing their enjoyment with others. Before that happens, readers need to know about your novel. The best way to get started letting others know about your novel is through your author platform.

Your book will be competing with thousands of other books. You need to entice and win your readers to select your book out of the thousands of books out there. If you write in a popular genre, you need to differentiate your story from your competitors. Your author platform is the way you connect with your readers and fans. Provide information about you, the author, and your books on your website.

Every author needs a marketing platform. The time to begin is while you are working on the first novel. Whether you decide to self-publish or seek traditional publishing you will need your author platform.

  • Agents want to see you platform before they represent your book. Many agents will not accept a book unless you have a platform designed and in place.
  • You will copromote with a traditional publisher. The reason the agent wants to see your author platform is that publishers want to know you put energy into promoting your book(s) as well.
  • If you are self-publishing, you will spend time weekly if not daily promoting your work.

How to Start Your Author Platform

Creating your author platform takes time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Give yourself a month to set up these nine beginning author platform activities. Setting these things up now teaches you a very useful skill for authors: dividing your time between writing and marketing. If you are serious about your author career, you need to learn this time management skill.

1. Write a description of your book. You will probably revise this many times, but write one. Pretend you are writing the blurb for the back cover.

2. Write an author bio for yourself. You will need several. A short one, 25-30 words, to post at the end of articles or on social media that does not allow for a long description, like Twitter. Then write at least two more, a 100 word bio and a 300 word bio. If you hire a publicist, or decide to do your own publicity, you may want a 1000 word biography as well. You will probably rewrite these many times as well, but start with something now.

3. Create a formal portrait of yourself both color and black and white. You can do this yourself with a plain background or hire a professional photographer.

4. Create a cover image for your book. You’ll want this for your website and any promotions you may do.

5. Create a giveaway for readers who join your email list. This can be a short novella, a chapter from your book, background about the theme of your story.

6. Create a website. You can use free website services like or Weebly to get started. If you have time and resources, you can become more involved and intricate with a self-hosted website using You will need to monitor and update the self-hosted website for updates or hire someone to manage the site for you. If you have a large budget, you can hire a website designer to create the site for you. Make sure you have access to add and change text.

Basic pages for your website.

  • An introduction to you as an author. Your bio and some words about why you are writing the book.
  • A page just for the book. Give potential readers a taste of the book with the book description and a short excerpt. Once your book is published, you will add links to where readers can buy your book.
  • A blog page. Most free and paid website services include a blog page. Update this with articles on a regular basis, at least once a month if not more regularly. The key is to be consistent.  

7. Start your email list for readers and fans. There are a number of services that provide email list services. To begin, you can start with a free service like MailChimp. As your list grows, you may want to consider a paid service such as AWeber.

Set up your email list. Add yourself to the list to check that all your emails go out. Write a sequence of welcoming emails for your autoresponder (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.). 

Create your invitation to join the list (landing page). Entice people to join with your free giveaway.

Create a sequence of emails to go to people who join your list. Write a sequence of welcoming emails for your autoresponder (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.). Email welcome sequence and timing:

   1. Thank. Introduce yourself and your books. Link to the free giveaway. 1st day.

    2Did you miss the download? Short and sweet. My quote. History is different people are the same. 3 days after 1st.

    3. 3 days after previous. A bit more about how you started writing the books. Social media connection links as well as Amazon Author page and website.

   4. 1 week after previous. Personal what I do. Pets. Activities, Photos of life. Invitation to read one of your books with link.

    5. 1 week after that.  Invitation for free books forever by joining the beta readers group.

8. Set up social media accounts for yourself as an author. This is separate from any personal social media accounts you may have on places like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any one of a number of other sites. Create an Author Page on Facebook.

9. Start educating yourself about book promotion.

If you have a large budget, you can hire professionalswebsite designer, social media manager, email list creator, etc.–to do any of these tasks for you. The important action is to start setting up and using your platform now. 

Successful Authors Manage Writing and Promotion Time

If all of these activities to set up your author platform seem like work, they are. If you are serious about your novel, you want to give it the most attention you can through your author platform.

If you start now, while you are writing your first novel and work on your author platform in tandem with your writing, you will be well positioned to create a successful book launch.

Zara Altair

Zara Altair writes mysteries set in ancient Italy. Argolicus thinks he has retired, but he and his tutor, Nikolaos are drawn into puzzles, politics, and murder.
She consults with a select group of writers as The Story Bodyguard.

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