Back to Basics: 5 minute tasks to improve your author platform

Okay, bear with me. 

There’s a high chance you’ve done most if not all of the things on this list, especially if you’ve been indie published for some time. 

At the same time, I don’t know how many times I’ve started an author consultation and I’m like, “Um, you haven’t crossed this most basic of ‘t’ or dotted this easily dotted ‘i’.” 

So this is my quick list of some things you really should have already done that there’s a slight chance you might not have done. Doing them will take you maybe five minutes, but you really should go do them, like, now. Of course there are a lot of other things you should do (Get your books edited. Set up a website. Advertising.), but for this post, my focus is five minute tasks, not things that will take you hours , days, or even months to research, learn, and set up. I also left off any that included more than basic internet literacy/computing skills rather than go for anything that would require learning new skills or expertise. 

Set up your Amazon Author Page. This is a page that Amazon will use to link all your publications together so that if someone finds one of your books, they’ll find the rest. People can “follow” this page to get notifications when you publish a new book. To do so go to this link https://authorcentral.amazon.com/gp/home. You’ll have to manually add your books to your page, but it’s pretty easy. 

Other similar things that are also worth checking out: Set up your Goodreads author page. Set up a profile on BookBub. 

Link your series books into a series page. This means that if someone clicks on book one, they’ll see all the other books attached in order beneath it. On Amazon you do this via the KDP dashboard. You probably will have to email them to get it set up right, but it only takes a minute, and it helps readers find your full series and know what order to read them in.

Goodreads also allows series linking and they are less picky about what counts as a series than Amazon.

Other similar things: make sure your ebook and paperback are linked on Amazon. Amazon sometimes does this automatically, but it can take them a while, and if it has been more than 72 hours since the books went live, it is worth emailing them. 

Make sure your ebook covers are uploaded to the correct size/shape/resolution. Even if you aren’t getting the book in print, having your cover be an unconventional size (like a square or landscape rather than portrait) or blurry, or surrounded by white bars … it all just looks bad and makes the reader think you’re being sloppy. 

Other similar things: make sure you have a good profile picture and cover image for any social media you set up.

Make sure any advertising images you are using are properly sourced, clear, and easily readable. 

Use clean links. There are a couple of reasons this is good, but just to be basic … 

This is a clean link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085X8N8FL/.

This isn’t https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B085X8N8FL/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0 … and “unclean” links can get a lot longer and more complicated than that. Basically Amazon adds on text to a link that says where the link was clicked from or what user clicked it … and all that information leads to an ugly looking character chain that’s complicated, takes up space, and may include information that would link the reader to you which might lead to Amazon assuming that you know the reader and they shouldn’t leave you reviews. It takes less than a second to cut off the extra characters that you don’t really need, so why not?

Put your author page as one of your employers/jobs on your personal profile. Especially if you are interacting in a lot of Facebook groups that are connected to your writing while using your personal profile (some groups do let you interact as your page, but not all or even most).

I don’t know how many times I’ve interacted with a fellow author and wanted to quickly check out what they write/have written … but when I click on their personal profile there is absolutely no public information.

If they write under their real name, I can try and look them up on Amazon, but that’s hit or miss.

It only takes a minute to hook this up, and it makes networking a lot easier.

Other similar things: Make sure your website is connected to your social media and your social media to your website. Hook up your blog’s RSS feed to your Amazon author page and Goodread’s account. 

Fill out the “about” section on your author Facebook page. My suggestion is a short author bio, a description of what you write, and a link to your website. You can get a little creative here, but don’t just leave it blank.

Other similar things: even if you aren’t actively using a social media platform, you probably want to set it up and link it to your other accounts you actually do use, just so that when someone looks you up on that platform, they will find something, and it also guards against people setting up fake accounts in your name and scamming your friends/followers. 

Create a Pinned Tweet for your Twitter profile. What you put here is up to you. A lot of authors like to make it a link to their newsletter sign up, or your website, or your latest release … but it gives you an easy place to show what you’re about in the ever shifting sands of Twitter.

Other similar things: You can also pin a post to Facebook pages and groups. Instagram doesn’t have this, but “link in your bio” is a big thing there, so take advantage of that. 

Link your email newsletter in your ebooks. I suppose “have an email newsletter” should also be on this list (while growing it definitely takes more than 5 minutes, setting one up really doesn’t), but let’s just assume you have made one and maybe even have a subscriber magnet. Link it in your ebook so if someone is reading your ebook, they see “ooh, I can click here and get special notifications and maybe a free book.” I personally suggest at the front and back of the ebook so you get two chances to reel readers in. 

Other similar thing: Have a list of your other books in the back of your ebooks with links so that people can find out what to read next. Have a link to the next in the series right after “the end” in your ebook.
Link your books, website, or newsletter subscription in your email signature. 

Set up a Facebook page. There are a lot of different reasons you don’t want to be running your author social media through a personal profile. A Facebook page is different from a profile, free to create, and there’s just no reason not to. 

Double check the accuracy of your Goodreads profile and book listings. If they are wrong, you’ll probably need to contact a librarian, but they have forums where you can just post about your problem, and they’ll fix it for you. 

Honestly, I could probably keep going on this list for several more pages.  I might do a follow up if enough of you find this post helpful.

Are any of these things something you have overlooked? What is one simple trick or task that you feel elevates an author platform?

H. L. Burke is an indie fantasy author, Fellowship of Fantasy founder, and author mentor with Sparkly Writer Princess Author Services.
You can find out more on her website at: https://www.hlburkeauthor.com/sparkly-writer-princess-author-serv

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