Three Steps to Author Infrastructure
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Barko
October 2013
Contributor
Written by
Stephanie Barko
October 2013

Prior to being published, every author must construct three pylons on which to build her book platform. These pylons become a foundational base for the author as well as a launching pad for her book.

The three pylons of author infrastructure are:

  • A website
  • A blog
  • A social suite

Website

Whether an author intends to be a one-book-wonder or write series after series, her home address will always be her website. Although it is wise to purchase several suffixes for the same domain, a single web address throughout an author’s career makes her pen name easy to find and remember. Google likes domain addresses that contain keywords and that have no hyphens.

The preferred software today for web design is WordPress. Since it is an open system (like Linux), designers from all over the world can write code for WordPress, which means that when an author goes to find a theme for her site, she is likely to find one she likes that works in WordPress, which is free or low cost.

I recommend that authors initialize their website with a professional web designer, but that they maintain the site themselves.  

Blog

While the website rises up like a billboard that is only changed once in a while, the author blog is as dynamic and fluid as the daily news. Blogging is the act of frequently publishing your keywords. When an author regularly posts to her blog, she is training Google to come to her address for information relating to her keywords and areas of expertise or entertainment.

Google likes

-blog post titles of 116-130 characters

-articles that are around 500 words long

-posts that are heavily keyworded within the first 65 words

-pieces with sparingly sprinkled hyperlinks

I recommend that authors tag their blog posts with their keywords.

Social Suite

In the social sphere, what’s hot and what’s not seems to change every year.

Although there is no denying that Facebook remains the great watering hole, the social platform nipping at its heels for the #2 position today is Google+. The hardest thing to remember about Google+ is where it sits, but it is definitely worth remembering because nothing makes you show up on Google faster than a post to Google+.

With Twitter, the idea is to get your following up over 500. I know a radio producer, for instance, who will not consider a prospective guest unless they have a substantial Twitter following. Podcasters, too, look for guests who have followers to bring to their podcast, not the other way around.

On Twitter, you want to claim your pen name, insert your URL and keywords into your profile, and customize your wallpaper, perhaps to harmonize with your logo.

Even if your book’s front cover is the only graphic design in your marketing campaign, you can use Pinterest to your advantage and even have fun with it.

For most authors, GoodReads is a great place to discover your next reader. This site is a treasure trove of reader data for authors who know where to look.

Last but not least, there’s LinkedIn for corporate types, author/speakers, journalists, and nonfiction writers. Index your articles and books here to become a LinkedIn All-Star and stack up your keywords.   

I recommend that authors e-socialize every day and blog twice a month or more.

If you have a website, blog, and social suite as your base, your foundation is a solid one that can support you no matter where your career may take you. Remember, even a skyscraper begins as a deep hole in the ground!

COMMENT with where you are with your author infrastructure process. 

Stephanie Barko, Literary Publicist promotes nonfiction & historical fiction. Clients include award-winning authors and publishers.  Connect with Stephanie on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and her blog.

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Comments
  • Stephanie Barko

    @ Nancy - Happy to shed some light for you and others, Nancy.  

    There's a quick list of my most recent article titles in the Publications section of my LinkedIn profile at

     www.linkedin.com/in/stephaniebarko

    You can also mine my blog for articles using the subject index at http://www.stephaniebarko.com/blog.

  • Nancy G. Shapiro

    Your post is extremely helpful, Stephanie. It's focused, and to the point, and gives the platform question an entirely new (and now more understandable) perspective...one I can grasp and one I feel is accessible. Thank you very much. 

  • Stephanie Barko

    Thanks, Jessica.  Samantha asked a question of me offline, which I will repeat here.

    Samantha asked whether a website, blog and social suite are necessary when shopping for an agent.  

    To that I say DOUBLE YES.  Just think of all the manuscripts an agent goes through in one day.  How do you think an agent decides which ms to market when the writing chops are equal among several?  

    One answer:  platform.  If you don't have a website, blog and social suite, you have no structure on which to build your platform, do you?  That is why these three pylons undergird your platform.  Thx for your question, Sam.

  • jessica lipnack

    Good, succinct, accurate, useful. What more could you want in a post? Very well done, Stephanie!