This is an old blog that I started in 2006. I keep it because it has a lot of historical data and people still come here. As of September 2016, no new updates will be made here. All new blog posts and writing/publishing related news will be posted over on my new site at

Monday, August 08, 2011

Don't Self-Defeat Your Marketing Efforts

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

On my publication journey I've watched writers try a number of things to build a platform and promote themselves. Many have been successful, while others have not. I'd like to share some thoughts on some self-destructive behaviors that could be hurting the growth of an author's platform.

1) Don't protect your tweets on Twitter. I'm sure there are times to have a private Twitter account, but if your purpose is to build a Twitter platform and increase awareness about your books and the work you have to offer, this will not help your efforts. If you MUST have a private Twitter account, set up a separate private account, but have a main account (preferably one using your author name) where you allow anyone to follow your tweets.

2) Don't post all about you and your books. Your posts should consist of 20% about you, your books and events. The other 80% should be something of value to your readers. It can be related to your books and ministry, or promote someone else with valuable insight. This includes social media posts, as well as a blog.

3) Don't set up accounts and not link them. It's useless to have a Facebook and Twitter page, if you aren't promoting them in your bio, website/blog, in your email signature line, in your newsletters, in virtually everything you do. It's the same thing for your website and blog on your social media pages.

4) Don't avoid social media because you don't have time. None of us have time to be everywhere at once. It's okay to have a profile set up on LinkedIn, Four Square, Stumble Upon, Digg, and Goodreads and not be as active as you might be on Twitter and Facebook. You don't have to actively maintain it, but it would be crazy not to set up a free profile about you, your books, and a link back to the places where you do hang out. It's free advertisement!

5) Don't be inconsistent. Whatever blog or social media schedule you set, stick with it and be consistent. People are creatures of habit. They like knowing what to expect and they don't like being ignored or neglected. If you need to make changes to your schedule, announce it, and move on. Also, make sure all your user names, bio, and photo on each site is consistent to build your name and image as a platform brand.

6) Don't assume people aren't reading. Just because you aren't getting tons of comments, doesn't mean you don't have lurkers. I've had lots of people come up to me at writing conferences and workshops and tell me they follow my blog or ask me about something they read on Facebook. Sometimes I've already forgotten what I posted--but they didn't. So don't give up or be inconsistent because you think no one is paying attention. 

7) Don't use your husband's email. If you are trying to get published, the last thing you want is to show a lack of professionalism by using your husband's email and promoting a family/couple Facebook page. You should have separate accounts for your author pages and email. Agents and editors do not want to think they are responding to John Doe, when the person is really Jane Doe. It's embarrassing and annoying--your readers will have a similar reaction.

These are just a few things that came to mind. What are some other behaviors that could slow an author's platform growth?