Take care how you develop your online presence. Don’t spam your social media friends and followers with solicitations for your book. Keep in mind that everything you do becomes a direct reflection of your respective brand. Project a brand that sends the correct message. Just like you wouldn’t put a shoddy cover on your masterpiece, don’t practice shoddy marketing. Project positivity. Some authors undermine their brand-building by spewing caustic negativity out into the world. Whether on his or her blog or maybe in online forums, these complainers are always seeing the worst in others’ intentions. Their fellow authors and readers might fear them, but they won’t respect them. Fellow authors will be not as likely to fall out of their method to help these negative authors when they require a hand. Think about a party.

Which way do you drift if there’s somebody who is bitching and moaning and another person who’s getting folks to laugh and loosen up? If a kid inside a playground is continually bitching about the quality of the toys, and another kid has turned a cardboard box into a sideshow funhouse, who’s getting more attention? Who’s going to be remembered in a positive way? And, even if you are a naturally cranky, snarky, sour-tempered pain in the ass, for god’s sake share by using your therapist or priest. When you go online to promote yourself and thus your products, try not to actually scare people off your lawn. For most of us, our platform will begin off small with limited reach. We all start off with zero friends on Facebook, zero Twitter followers, and zero readers of the blog. If you keep at it and you also add positive value to the people around you, word will get out about you, as well as others will want to interact with you, spread your message and help you build your platform.

For much of the first year from the Smashwords blog in 2008, I was lucky to get any readers weekly, as you can see from your graphic below. Slowly, word got out about the blog, and people started subscribing into it, reposting it, and blogging their own reactions to my posts. After almost a year of doldrums where it seemed as if no one was paying attention, the blog’s readership started growing. Today, almost 4 years later, it reaches 1000s of readers every month. In 2009, once word started getting out about my blog, I was invited to contribute to the Huffington Post’s book section (my thanks to David Wilk to the introduction), and also this increased my platform’s reach further.

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