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lynnmosher

How to protect your author platform from big tech censorship

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This is not only an interesting article; it's a beautiful example of how to increase your mailing list by 1) giving something away for free (the article) and then 2) offering something even more valuable for free, in return for opting-in to their mailing list (the last point in the article.) 

 

It's effective. I expect that I will opt-in to their mailing list, in return for the 1 1/2 hour "free" course they offer in return.

 

I'm just starting to build my author platform, but this is a wonderful example to learn from.

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After reading this article I wonder.  Has anybody brought any lawsuits against any of these Big Tech Companies, for violating the writers First Amendment Rights to Free Expression? 

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1 hour ago, Spaulding said:

Oh, big problem! I want to post the link to my FB page and Twitter page.

 

Should I?

 

Sure. I don't see why not. I'd just copy the link from the site and paste it wherever you like. :D

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Thank you for sharing this! I'm currently expanding my platform, and the topic of my WIP is very controversial, so I'm trying to prepare for that.

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1 minute ago, Shamrock said:

Ok. What do people mean by 'author platform's please.

In order to set your work apart from the thousands of other voices clamoring to get into reader's heads, you build a platform: a website, social media page, or email newsletter.

 

You can do this yourself or pay some to do it for you.

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48 minutes ago, Shamrock said:

Ok. What do people mean by 'author platform's please.

Who is your favorite living author? Google that person, and click on the link that you know showcases that person. That site you land on is their "author platform."

 

It's a way for fans to find more, a way to promote what you do, and a way to present yourself as an authority on whatever subject matter you write about. (The last one can be argued easily, however many people do think someone is an expert, just because they have an author platform.)

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Posted (edited)
Quote

"It is nearly impossible to take down a website just because you disagree with it."

 

True, but I don't think website censorship is the real problem here. It's search engine censorship that'll make or break author platforms.

 

You might have a website that's uncensored, but Google could easily add in filters to their search results (which you wouldn't know existed) that buries your website on page 95 of the search results - or simply doesn't show it at all. This effectively kills visibility.

 

 

Edited by Accord64

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1 hour ago, Shamrock said:

Ok. What do people mean by 'author platform's please.

Also, if you're interested in finding a conventional publisher for your work, just about the first thing they'll look at in your book proposal is your marketing plan, which primarily involves your author's platform.

 

i was at a Christian writer's conference a few weeks ago, and managed to pitch a book I've written to a few publisher's reps, and an agent. All were interested in seeing the book proposal, and all chided me (a couple scolded me strongly) for not having my platform developed. Since then, I've been spending most of my spare time, cleaning up that proposal, and pulling enough of a website together that I'll at least be able to demonstrate that I can follow through with my plans.

 

If you're wiser than I was (not a huge hurdle to clear...) you'll consider pulling something together gradually, before you need it. i can say from experience that racing in "panic mode" to get it together is not as much fun as it sounds...

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47 minutes ago, EClayRowe said:

In order to set your work apart from the thousands of other voices clamoring to get into reader's heads, you build a platform: a website, social media page, or email newsletter.

 

You can do this yourself or pay some to do it for you.

     To do that, you don't have to build your own platform.  All you have to do is join a writers website, like christianwriters.com, and post your writings here, and on other writers websites.  That's what I've been doing, and actually getting reviews. I haven't been aware of any external attempts at censorship of these websites.

    Now I wonder, is christianwriters.com being warned of any attempts to remove this website from the internet?

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4 minutes ago, William D'Andrea said:

     To do that, you don't have to build your own platform.  All you have to do is join a writers website, like christianwriters.com, and post your writings here, and on other writers websites.  That's what I've been doing, and actually getting reviews. I haven't been aware of any external attempts at censorship of these websites.

Your posts here and on other writer's websites would be considered part of your platform, especially if they resulted in reviews. So would speaking engagements, and becoming well known on various online forums. Your platform would include anything that can get your name out there, and help sell books.

 

Unfortunately, with so much free stuff available on the internet, and a virtual explosion in self-publishing, many conventional publishers can't remain viable, unless their writers are committed to helping to market and sell their own books.

 

It's a strange, new world.

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Okay, I see a couple of things here. First, I don't believe it's possible to pay someone else to put you out there. Agents not only look to see if you have a website, they also look closely at your social media numbers: how many people you are connected to. Platform is your ability to sell books through those you are connected to. Connecting with others is not something someone else can do for you.

 

Here's what Writers Digest says:

 

The most common building blocks of a platform include the following:

 

1. A website and/or blog with a large readership

2. An e-newsletter and/or mailing list with a large number of subscribers/recipients

3. Article/column writing (or correspondent involvement) for the media—preferably for larger outlets and outlets within the writer’s specialty

4. Guest contributions to successful websites, blogs, and periodicals

5. A track record of strong past book sales[1]

6. Individuals of influence that you know—personal contacts (organizational, media, celebrity, relatives) who can help you market at no cost to yourself, whether through blurbs, promotion, or other means

7. Public speaking appearances—the bigger, the better

8. An impressive social media presence (Twitter, Facebook, and the like)

9. Membership in organizations that support the successes of their own

10. Recurring media appearances and interviews—in print, on the radio, on TV, or online

 

Not all of these methods will be of interest/relevance to you. As you learn more about how to find success in each one, some will jump out as practical and feasible, while others will not. My advice is to choose a few and dive in deep—and don’t be afraid to concede failure in one area, then shift gears and plunge into something else. It’s better to show impressive success in some areas than minimal success in all.

 

Lastly, know that building a platform takes time. Strive for something real—strong channels that will help you sell. Simply being on Twitter and having a website does not mean you have a platform. Those are just the first steps

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Wow. Definitely a must-read. Thanks, Lynn. This has given me a lot to think and pray about.

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Thanks every one for the advice.  This is something I have to confess I have not really thought about - but can now see if I want to get the work out there I need to seriously consider building up my platform.

 

I do have a twitter account for work purposes but I doubt if this would count. I can build a website (done it for both my churches) so that is possible my starting point.  I note on a lot of writer's website/blogs they do  articles on writing itself - I am not sure I am qualified to do this as I have only every self-published with a few articles/stories published over the years.  

 

Looks like I need to do some research and then get something up and running.

 




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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Shamrock said:

I note on a lot of writer's website/blogs they do  articles on writing itself

I see this, too.

 

Just airing my opinion here, but if the purpose of an author website or a blog is to build one's platform and reach an audience of readers, I wonder how effective it is to blog about writing. If, like KM Weiland, CS Lakin or Joanna Penn, you actually have an audience of writers, then by all means, blogging on topics which are helpful to authors makes sense.

 

But a writer of, say, only epic fantasy blogging about their writing habits and hoping that will drive sales of their fiction? I think it would be more effective to blog about topics that would be of interest to your readership. So, for example, an article about who would win a fight between a Balrog and a unicorn. Or a listicle about the top ten most annoying sidekicks. Or book reviews from within your own genre.

 

I'm just to the point now where I'm brainstorming ideas for content for my website, mailing list and YouTube channel, and I'm trying to stick to topics which I think/hope/imagine that readers of my fiction would find interesting. I want to show them that if you like this content, perhaps you'll also like my books.

 

11 hours ago, lynnmosher said:

Lastly, know that building a platform takes time. Strive for something real—strong channels that will help you sell. Simply being on Twitter and having a website does not mean you have a platform. Those are just the first steps

This is so true. It's a bit daunting, but as with all things, one step at a time.

Edited by EBraten

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4 hours ago, EBraten said:

Just airing my opinion here, but if the purpose of an author website or a blog is to build one's platform and reach an audience of readers, I wonder how effective it is to blog about writing. If, like KM Weiland, CS Lakin or Joanna Penn, you actually have an audience of writers, then by all means, blogging on topics which are helpful to authors makes sense.

You make a very good point that we have to build our online presence according to our expected audience. I'm just guessing here, but it's possible these authors are considering a wider audience, though. See, besides our readers, we have a more hidden audience, that's made up of search engines. An occasional blog post about writing might contain certain important keywords that would make the author page come up in various google searches. Again, only a guess.

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I have a WordPress website where I share science news with lay commentary, a Facebook author page, a LinkedIn networking page, and the usual suspects for personal use. Yet to launch are a Patreon page for crowdfunding sources and a YouTube retro-tech channel. (If the Lord tarries about my heavenward journey!)

 

So that's my brand, a Seventies era geek trying to navigate the information age, with a soundtrack by Jethro Tull, Switchfoot, Charles Wesley, and Lindsay Stirling. A Connecticut Yankee lost in flyover country, with my head lost in the clouds and my feet planted on the Rock of Ages.

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I just experienced this in action on Facebook!

 

I posted a link on my personal FB page to a humorous sketch on YouTube. I don't post on FB very often, so when I do, FB tends to place my (rare) posts at the top of my friends pages - usually with some notification saying something like "hey, this guy climbed out of his hole and just posted something." As a result, I always receive a lot of likes and comments in a short time.

 

However, my post has only received one lonely like - which is basically listening to crickets. Why? I strongly suspect it's because I posted a comedy sketch by a Christian comedian (John Crist). Although his sketch didn't deal with anything overtly religious, or about anything offensive (unless golf is considered taboo), I think his name alone could be on a filter list that causes FB to drastically pull back on visibility.

 

Nothing I can conclusively prove, but it fits the pattern that this article is pointing out.   

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However, there's one other element to add to the mix: what time did you post it? Has a whole lot to do with how many are on. If you've posted before at the same time, there forget I mentioned it. ;)

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On 8/7/2019 at 8:09 PM, lynnmosher said:

However, there's one other element to add to the mix: what time did you post it? Has a whole lot to do with how many are on. If you've posted before at the same time, there forget I mentioned it. ;)

 

That's really interesting. Are there certain times of the day, or days of the week, that are better for posting?  Is it just "the luck of the draw," as to when there are lots of others on?

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On 8/7/2019 at 4:49 PM, EClayRowe said:

So that's my brand, a Seventies era geek trying to navigate the information age, with a soundtrack by Jethro Tull, Switchfoot, Charles Wesley, and Lindsay Stirling. A Connecticut Yankee lost in flyover country, with my head lost in the clouds and my feet planted on the Rock of Ages.

 

Sounds like fun. have you shared links here already?

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