Website Building 101
To begin a platform, you will need three things.
An Author’s website
An account with Twitter
An account with Facebook
After that, you will want to create a brand and a mission statement or a motto. I recommend creating a business plan for yourself. Once you have these things in place, and you have the funds to spare, purchase your business cards.
These are the tools you need to begin networking and building your platform a.k.a. your fan club. Yes, you want to discuss your book, but you are really selling yourself. Turn yourself into a product. To do this, you will need your brand and motto. Who are you? What do you represent? What are you about? Why would people want to support you?
Touch base with your local community. You will find them to be your biggest supporters. Go to your public libraries, cafe shops, and book sellers. Let them know what your goal is, your brand, have your motto ready and sell you. Show them what you have to offer them. Let them know, “what’s in it for them”.
What exactly should your brand be?
Your brand should represent you, at its core. Your name should provoke a single thought. You must decide what that thought will be. And no, your book, is not a single thought.
Think of Dr. Bill Nye. Immediately, his sing-song motto “Bill Nye the science guy” comes to mind. Dr. Nye has written books. Those books don’t come to mind. His motto does. His purpose does. His purpose is his brand, his mission, his motto. That is what you need to build for yourself.
Getting the website started…
All websites are made up of three things. A name, a decorator, and host. Think of websites as boats. The name of the boat — HMS Brain to Books — is the website’s name. This is called a domain. But a name is still only a name. Now, you need to get a ship. You need to design and build the ship, but before you do that, you need a place to keep the ship. You need a dock. The dock for your website, is called a host.
So you have the HMS Brain to Books. You have a dock, now go get a shipwright and build your boat! The shipwright is your web designer. Brain to Books strongly recommends WordPress for your web designer because every technician we spoke to said, “WordPress allows any designer, including yourself, to build and design with ease.”
Some web designers use complex, cluttered, or unnecessary HTML code that clutters the “behind the scenes” of a website. This increases risks for problems, errors, lag, and hacks. Stick with Worpdress.
A note on purchasing your domain… When I started Brain to Books, I foolishly Google Searched “Brain to Books” to see if it was available. It was, but then I waited a week to buy the domain. When I got around to buying the domain BraintoBooks.com was no longer available. There are programs out there that monitor what domains are being used. When these programs detect a name, buyers go in and buy the domain name then double the price. Braintobooks.com went from available at .99 cents to owned, but for sale at $99.00. I had to settle for Braintobooks.co. More than a year and a half later, I checked the domain again and those who bought Brain to Books, released it! I was able to jump in this time and buy it.
Now you know what you need, but where do you get a domain, a host, and a designer? How much will this cost?
Start with GoDaddy. The videos below suggests Hostgator. It doesn’t matter if you select Hostgator or GoDaddy. Both of these are hosting companies. I prefer GoDaddy because everyone I spoke to suggested it and , on the deal I found, it offered the first year for only $1.00. GoDaddy.com sells domains, provides a dock, and offers a web designer all in one place. A domain (your website name) should not cost more than $10.00 a year…ever, no matter who you go with. GoDaddy provides the dock with your purchase. You will never need to worry about the dock. While you make your purchase through GoDaddy, they offer you a collection of web designers and an 800 help line.
WordPress provides a vast collection of templates you can chose from and apply to your website. Modify it as you see fit and build on it!
Note: I see many authors going to WordPress.com to purchase their domain. The results? In these cases, their domain name ends up being braintobooks.wordpress.com or angelabchrysler.worpdress.com.
Buy your domain from GoDaddy and you’ll get the exact domain you want, so long as it’s available.
FAQ: Can I change my domain later?
A: No. A domain is like a bank account number. You can’t change your bank account number. You can close the account and re-open a new one… but then you will have a new account and not the same account.
braintobooks.com is not the same as braintobooks.wordpress.com
Once you have your website in place, you will want to add your social media links so fans can follow and track you on Twitter and Facebook. When you network, you can then provide a website for them to visit long after you’ve parted ways.
Be active, positive, and make a great impression and you’ll be well on your way to building a platform. Remember, a platform is your fan club. If you have a large, supportive fan club, you’ve made your agent’s and publisher’s job easier. If you have a small or non-existent fan club, then you have no one to sell your book to when it hits shelves.
Note: Erik Rostad says in this video “GoDaddy tries to get you to buy all these add-ons. Just skip those.”
Yes. Brain to Books confirms, just skip those.
Regarding the video below… If you already have you domain, host, and are ready to design, just skip the video ahead to 9:00 minutes where the tutorial begins with signing in to your WordPress website.
Click HERE to Open Resource Page talked about in the above video
But I’m a writer! What does any of this have to do with writing and selling books?
Everything! If you’re serious about writing professionally, your book is only a small piece of you. Think of it as a french fry. One french fry. Would you walk into a restaurant if the head chef is only offering up one french fry? Of course not. A writer selling only their book is doing the same thing. A brand and a motto represents the meal, the burger, the drink, the cookies, the fries and the coupon. But what ties all that together? Are you planning on ever selling just one book? Most of us have a series planned. Beneath the elves, the action, the mystery, the suspense, and romance, all your books, no matter the genre have one thing in common. YOU! The author. Now, what are you, the author, trying to say through all of your books?
I love J.K.Rowling. She fits into so many wonderful examples. Be forewarned, I reference her a lot. We know Ms. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. And yes, she has Casual Vacancy out now and her detective series is a hit. But what is Ms. Rowling about? Take a look into her charities here and you’ll find what Ms. Rowling really is about. She doesn’t use these to sell her books. But her purpose, her cause, her beliefs are there in the charity work she does. Before Potter was Potter and Rowling was Rowling, she believed in these things. Now she has the resources to do something about it.
Find something to care about, embrace it, and build on that. Others who believe as you, will follow you and support you. These are the people who will love and support you first. So when you do release that book, you can say “buy my book” to someone other than your mother and a bunch of strangers, but most importantly, after the hype has ended and you’re established, you have something else to pour your soul into.
Me personally, my goal? I owe a lot…a life time…to Google and Wikipedia and I plan to make it up to them. But that isn’t my core, or my motto. Really, its education. It’s teaching others through example and motivation. Wikipedia and Google helped me with that. This is the information age, and I plan to do something about it.
For more on building your platform, visit http://www.yourwriterplatform.com
Click here to learn more about what it takes to define and build your brand.