Take the Author Platform Quiz


If you need a general idea of where you are and an indication of how many more steps you need to go, The Platform Quiz will give you an overview. Sometimes it helps to have a measuring tool with a starting point and an end point in building the structure that’s going to support your efforts as an author for a long time to come.


Welcome to The Author Platform Quiz!

This quick assessment process gives you an overview of the vital points of a smoothly running writer platform machinery and general gauge of author involvement in each category as a starting point reference.

Note: Author strategies and solutions for building and combining these main points are  fully developed in a 14 step method in the book Build Your Author Platform: The New Rules, and webinar. See www.buildauthorplatform.com

The Platform Self-diagnostic Test

Today’s date:
(Check as comparison point for progress as platform grows.)

Basic Findability:

1. (10 pts possible) Acid test: Google a best-selling branded author such as Stephen King. Google David Meerman Scott for a thorough platform development example. Then Google your name and compare

to see if your name shows up correctly, if it’s combined with others with the same name, if there is confusion about whose entries are whose, if you are clearly findable. Note: since results are tailored to you, works best with an un-personalized search method.

Rate your findability as an author scale 1-10.



2. (10 pts possible) Author web site: Do you have an author web site? Does it show up clearly if a reader or buyer is looking for you? Is your author brand clearly summed up the minute you click on your web site? Rate your author brand web site findability and clear statement of author brand?

Notes: _________________________________________________

3. (10 pts possible) Blog: Do you have a blog? Is your author brand clearly stated along with a photo of you with a greeting welcoming your audience? Do you have comments and share buttons?

Notes: _________________________________________________

4. (10 pts possible) Bookstores/Reviews: Amazon: Are you registered at AuthorCentral.Amazon.com? Is your book listed on Amazon ? Are you using Listmania and all the tools possible on Amazon? Are you listed at other online bookstores? Have you signed up for the Author Programs at review sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing and RedRoom? Is your book listed there?

Notes: __________________________________________________________

Big 4 Social Networks:

  1. (10 pts possible) Google +: Do you have a Google + profile? Is it connected to essential Google Authorship? Do you have the word Author prominent in your About Me section? Is your author brand clearly stated? How many of your audience is circling you (not total number, but how many potential book buyers on you and your topic)
  2. (10 pts possible) LinkedIn: Do you have a profile on LinkedIn, have you reached 500 in your network, have you joined maximum 50 groups/communities?
  3. (10 pts possible) Facebook: Is your Facebook fan page set up? Does it clearly show your brand and book? Are you posting to it? Getting Comments?
  4. (10 pts possible) Twitter: Do you have a Twitter profile? Does it clearly state your author brand and book? Do you post regularly? Are you finding your readers to make them aware of your book?

Notes: __________________________________________________________

9. (10 pts possible) Book web site: Do you have a dedicated book web site? Does it show your book cover? Does it show your author brand and clear statement of what your book is about?

Notes: __________________________________________________________

Author Brand Programs

10.(5 pts possible) Articles, Audio, Video: Do you have articles or guest blogs? Do you have audio clips, appear on others’ podcasts, radio? Do you have any video attached to your work such as book trailer or interviews posted?

11.(5 pts possible) Teach, Train, Speak: Do you have places where you “appear” on the web or in person? Webinars, workshops, training, local speaking?

Notes: __________________________________________________________


100 On Track, continue building engagement

90 Fuel Injection needed, add final locations

70-80 Tune-up needed, add locations, attract readers

50-60 Starting gate, dedicate daily time to build up locations and readers

50 below Build or Rebuild needed, start now!


As a literary agent creating publishing contracts every week, I work up front with authors to create a book proposal that will entice a publisher to make a bid and offer the contract. I work together with authors on the basis of an idea, a proposal, and a promise. The full manuscript is not already written.  We work with an overview and with faith at the beginning. We have to create a structure for the elements of the manuscript to fill out later; and we also have to create a structure for the author platform so that a publisher can measure how well a book would sell.

I’m on the look-out for the next great book idea, and seeking the proposal and the platform to support it.  Please send questions and comments in the Reply box below!

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How to Get Started on Your Author Platform

Hold key in sky

The internet has not only changed the way writers publish: Web 2.0 has created the necessity for authors to promote their books and successfully find readers.
Here is our free seminar:


This webinar shows how to get started managing the digital landscape to grow an audience for your books. Find out the top twelve new rules for authors that anchor the effective use of online tools to find readers. Learn how to build the framework of your writer platform, why it becomes a magnet for your readers, and how to grow your platform over time. Find out how to use strategies of our top author clients.

This presentation is intended for all authors, whether fiction or nonfiction, authoring one single title or building a writing career.


Presenter: Carole Jelen, VP/Literary Agent/Author
Tech Q/A: Michael McCallister, Tech Guru, Author


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How One Webinar Becomes 20 Paths to Building Author Platform

apple on pile of books, isolated on green background

Authors, you are unlike any other brand out there, and like all authors, you want readers.

Whether you write nonfiction or fiction, consider how teaching a course builds your audience before reacting with “Teaching isn’t for me.” To build up readers, authors need to appear in multiple locations, now powerfully enabled online. The large publishers understand this, and now at editorial meetings, book content is designed from the get-go to be repurposed right into multiple channels.

Check out how authors are using the one-hour online teaching segment for immediate reuse in multiple ways for maximum impact. Whether you call it an online seminar or webinar, a mini-class, or an information session, we highly recommend to our author clients to find a way to present a one-hour teaching segment online. Why?

1. Earn trust: Helping others learn is respected and valued. Assuming an immediate authority position is a position that authors benefit from.

2. Opportunity to learn about your readers: Authors learn valuable insights via comments and Q/A. Immediacy of the interactive experience goes beyond one-way push messages in writing and shows the needs of your audience

3. Initiate chats and conversations among readers: Your personal connection to your readers creates a bond that people chat about later, and creates viral interest through your personal appearance.

The subjects of seminars and courses range from nonfiction subjects to every aspect of the craft of writing, creative writing, storytelling. Take inspiration from examples of authors who have taught writing courses including Toni Morrison, Junot Diaz, Salman Rushdie, the late Maya Angelou and countless more nonfiction or fiction authors teaching workshops and seminars, online and at colleges and workshops.

One Shoe Does Not Fit All…

Like most authors, you don’t have time to figure out how to customize general marketing techniques used by businesses. There are simply too many choices, and not enough time to figure it out. Techniques that work for other types of businesses don’t always work for authors. Our message is, don’t stop expanding, ever. When you push past the limits, you find new readership that you didn’t even know existed.

…So Give Me the Quickest Route to Make the Most Impact

We simplify choices for author clients by sifting through the myriad of options, selecting the most efficient methods that lead to the largest exposure for books. The top choice for a single training session is the webinar, because this choice gives authors an opportunity to multipurpose content and use tech to connect — to all the pieces of your platform. The key is to build author platform one step at a time and connect all the pieces together in order to benefit from an impact larger than the sum of its parts.

The Webinar is Reusable Gold

Training boosts visibility, that leads a path to your books and teaching what you know puts you in the authority seat immediately. You’re in the spotlight as a trainer, taking your readers by the hand to teach a skill or build awareness, to help, to show concern, and to carry on that essential dialogue that counts significantly now and ongoing.

First, Some Quick Facts

–One webinar a month: what most companies offer
–Audience engagement: the most important goal
–Global reach: online training goes far beyond the USA
–Average length: 1 hour, Average attendance: 28 attendees
–Reason for 85% of webinars: to get new customers
–Best organization: first: what the benefit is to the reader, second what the book contains

Now Use Your Webinar for 20 Purposes (or at least pick a few!)

The webinar is portable and reusable gold because of the online opportunities to reuse and repurpose your course. The combination of elements in one webinar presentation leads to the lion’s share of author platform steps because it includes speaking, visual slides, audio, and interactivity with written and spoken Q&A. At the same time as creating the webinar, build in the plan for reuse, repurpose, and reprint of segments of your webinar, including:

1. Newsletter: announcements preceding the presentation
2. Freebie: using the webinar as a free offer leading to your book
3. Record and post recording: most people view the recorded version
4. Slice and dice: cut up the presentation to make shorter segments
5. Social media original content positing: FB,Twitter, and Google+
6. Linkedin opportunities: personal post and posting slides on Slideshare.net
7. Blog content (Q/A can become blog in itself)
8. Web site content, press room announcement of appearance
9. Video: Include the presentation on YouTube
10. Audio: Recycle audio clips for podcasting
11. Transcription: in written form becomes a searchable e-book
12. Comments from attendees become praise quotes
13. Email list: builds email list of your following of interested motivated readers
14. Future speaking: use to promote future speaking engagements
15. Memes: re-use slides as photos with captions to use as visuals for your posts
16. Incoming links, more visibility and searchability from reader sharing locations
17. Infographics to post on Pinterest
18. Translations – can open up new markets abroad
19. By-line articles, expands topics in webinar to short pieces on guest blogs
20. Hashtags: create a new hashtag or connect to existing hashtag to add to buzz

Join Us as We Create Our Webinar, “Your Author Platform: Why You Need One and How to Get Started”

Since webinars are our preferred choice for teaching a short course online that can be repurposed in many ways, we’re in the process of creating and repurposing our own webinar. This month we are using the free 30-day trial version of gotowebinar.com, and inviting you to join our offer of our free webinar, “Your Author Platform: Why You Need One and How to Get Started”. This hour is devoted to authors building audience for one book or for a complete writing career; we go through all of the steps, new digital rules for authors and graphically illustrate all of the stages of creating the framework for your own author platform.

Did we consciously plan and organize our own book around 14 teaching points? In a word yes. The organization was designed to show authors how to approach the subject of platform in discrete blocks or in a quick sequential list of digestible topics. In essence the syllabus is built into the Table of Contents as we wrote knowing we would be reusing materials and content in different locations.

Are You Ready?

Are you convinced that it’s time for you to create your own one-hour webinar? Please send questions, comments, and  urls for your upcoming teaching and training events so we can follow along

The post How One Webinar Becomes 20 Paths to Building Author Platform appeared first on Carole Jelen, Literary Agent, Helping Authors Build Audience.

Why Authors Need to Talk to Their Readers

Workgroup meeting

Today’s Author Platform blog post by Carole Jelen, appearing on “Helping Writers Become Authors”

Sooner or later, authors need to talk to their readers. An author’s success in the digital age depends on two kinds of writing…

Read more here:


The post Why Authors Need to Talk to Their Readers appeared first on Carole Jelen, Literary Agent, Helping Authors Build Audience.

The Video Trailer: Brings Your Book to Life

"VIDEO" (play watch live view launch button icon key click here)

It’s time to get on board to make a simple trailer for your book. Internet video is slated to comprise almost 70% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017 according to a recent Cisco survey. Why? Consumers love to research products online before they make an in-store or online purchase. Now we see video kiosks increasingly at point of sale, and where people are waiting in line, even at the gas pump! And here’s the kicker: 85% of people who view product videos are more likely to buy. Welcome to a solid gold growth opportunity for you as authors: use creative and short video recordings for “infotainment” leading to your book.

Welcome to the centerpiece of our book site –our book trailer www.buildauthorplatform.com  Click it, still read the text around it on the page, and listen to the music while it plays. We’re lucky:  a valued video author client I’ve represented for years stitched it together visually, so the cost was very low. But iMovie is free for Mac users and low cost smartphone apps also work for an author’s budget.

Authors who use video to their advantage slowly accumulate a “video bank” of short segments, starting wtih a book trailer, then including:

–Interviews (of you or by you)

–Videotaped talks and teaching

–Video or still clips at bookstores, at talks, at conferences

Then  upload and share videos to as many video sharing locations as possible, tagging with the right words for findability, connecting the dots. Videos are posted as links to videos on sites, blogs,the big 4 social networks, publisher’s sites, and of course, the largest video sharing site: YouTube.

So many sample book trailers abound now, at Barnes & Noble video page, Huffington Post Book Videos, Scholastic Video Page, Penguin Video Page, Berrett-Koehler Videos, Workman Author Videos. Check out the Moby Trailer Awards, American Library Association Book Trailer Awards, Cover Book Trailer Awards, Tumblr for Book Trailers, List of Top Book Trailers, reallygoodmom.com/authors/video, and more.

To make our book trailer, a news video became the  model, then a free online tape loop for the music, next writing out minimal text for the screens and then choosing some (almost) free photos from an internet site.  Being new to video means cutting down to half of the material originally intended, a common problem. It was a magic moment to see the finished trailer,  press Play, and have the transformative experience to see how our message came through for our audience of authors to grasp, amplified by music, motion and color.

Please use the Reply box here to send your book trailer URLs on YouTube so we can view, comment and share!

The post The Video Trailer: Brings Your Book to Life appeared first on Carole Jelen, Literary Agent, Helping Authors Build Audience.

Book Launch Party Album


IMG_4503-3281251859-O - Version 2John Carucci (Author), Carole Jelen (Author),  Glenn Yeffeth (our Publisher, BenBella Books)



Carole Jelen (Author), John Wyzalek (Publisher)



Michael Roney, (Publisher, High Point Executive Publishing) Jono Hardjo (Author, Publisher)



IMG_4653-3281264463-OMichael McCallister (Author) 

IMG_4528-3281253631-O IMG_4634-3281262512-O

David Hancock  (Publisher, Morgan James)




IMG_4495-3281250799-O IMG_4547-3281256444-OJesse Feiler (Author)

i-TGjp4fQ-S IMG_4479-3281250032-O

David Nelson (Agent)  Carole Jelen (Author) Barbara Boyd (Author)

IMG_4540-3281255625-OBill Polluck (Publisher) IMG_4587-3281258831-O IMG_4617-3281261821-OTerrry Whalin, (Publisher, Morgan-James), Zach Romano (Editorial, Springer-Verlag)

IMG_4510-3281251664-ONeil Gudovitz (Foreign Rights Czar), Adriana Marina (Agent)



Deepak Chopra (author, new-age guru) and Carole Jelen (author)


at previous Book Expo New York.

The post Book Launch Party Album appeared first on Carole Jelen, Literary Agent, Helping Authors Build Audience.

The Share Button: Brings Readers to Your Blog



The easy path to gain more blog readers? First, give the gift of social sharing buttons right there on every post. Make it easy for readers who like your post to share it with their network right from their mobile devices or laptops. Exposure and findability count for authors: your blog readers who share your post with their networks then open a path to  multiply readers via additional networks of others. We’re living in an era of power sharing: passing along news and items of interest to people quickly in a way that multiplies posts. You can ride that wave of readership interest if you do it right. Readers love quick, easy sharing of interesting information with their networks.

Second, use your own sharing buttons to share your own posts to readers on  your own networks. Think of your blog post as a  magazine article that you’re proud to be telling your friends and associates about. We use the sharing buttons at the bottom of every blog post here on The Platform blog. (Note: These are -not- the same buttons that connect you to a Facebook page, etc. The connect-to-my-network  buttons are at the top right corner here on The Platform blog page)  So it’s likely you found this blog post that we shared on Twitter, Facebook, Google + or LinkedIn pages,  and then you clicked over here to read the whole thing.

Third, you can use your sharing button marked “email”, to send to people you know will be interested in your post, and include your blog name/url in your auto signature line on your emails. Your blog deserves an announcement: it’s your self published online magazine. Some authors decide to go a step further when they’re done with every blog post by using the email share button to send to online directories, others’ blogs and group message boards.

Finally, get an RSS feed button on your blog.  RSS  automatically informs readers of updates automatically which makes them more likely to read your posts.

Every day I seek talent and publishing events through blogs, from indie authors to professional organizations, and it’s amazing how many do -not- have share buttons. When I read a post and there are no share buttons, the buck stops there; but when I see a post I like and easily share to my networks, the readership for that post is instantly and greatly expanded. As a a literary agent, I find talent using the Big Four networks, and like many publishers I also scout talent using keywords typed in the search box to find authors of interesting blogs.  I hope yours is next.

Please reply with your compelling reason to check out your blog!  And please,  use the buttons below to share this post about social sharing buttons with people who don’t have them.


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Twitter: Big Hats are Only for Cowboys


There are better ways to grow a following than the”big hat- no cattle” method. Hundreds of thousands of followers count less than an audience of followers who are interested in what you have to offer, so  5,000 interested beats out the 50,000 random. Most already are joining the huge amount of very cool information swapping on this microblog social network.  When you tweet/share great information that people care about, they retweet/share your information with their network. Even better, people also retweet/share your content with their networks with your name associated with it.

Sharing others’ content is great, but a far better option is for authors to generate your own original content. The most effective way to use the Twitter social network is as a pointer to your own articles, blogs, newsletters or appearances. When people share your content that you write in your own voice, then you’re raised to a higher level of visibility to influence others,  and your network of interested readers becomes multiplied by all the additional networks of those genuine followers. Authors who use Twitter this way accelerate increase in audience by multiples, and riding on others’ networks boosts top visibility, findability and as a final result, more books sold and more future books because readers will be looking for more from you.

One of the main changes brought about by the digital landscape is that the marketing model itself has changed. The challenge has become magnetizing interest in you and what you do, effectively, efficiently and with a plan instead of hard selling. As a literary agent, I’ve been working with successful and tech-savvy author clients for decades, to find their interested audience and increase visibility and sales. Now we’re sharing the platform steps and strategies used by top authors in our book, more info at www.buildauthorplatform.com

If you’ve arrived here at The Platform blog through Twitter, welcome!  Please leave your Twitter handle here or on Twitter @cjelen  so we all can connect, and please share/ reply below with your biggest challenges on Twitter.


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