Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Discoverability

Are You Struggling with An “Author Platform”?

This young New Year probably has quite a few writers struggling to implement a resolution to build or improve their “discoverability”—having readers find them—providing ways to develop a relationship with an audience… 

Jane Friedman about Author Platform and Book Promotion

Jane Friedman

As I always do, I caution any writer to not take anyone else’s “formula” for this activity and rather take the time to develop their own way of becoming “Known”

In the four years of this blog’s life, I’ve done 16 posts about Author Platform and 40 posts about Book Promotion (both those numbers are being increased by one since I’ll be Tagging this post with both phrases; and, if you take those links, you’ll find a number of posts in both categories…).

Also, I have 33 posts referencing Jane Friedman (again, overlapping with the other two sets…).

Jane is a rather unique person in the pantheon of “experts” in the Book-World—she thinks deeply, is willing to be flexible, and truly cares about the “sensitivities” of writers

There’s a new video of Jane being interviewed by folks at Book Marketing Tools which I’ll share; but, first let me quote just a bit from the transcript:

Why is building an author platform so important?

“It’s what I consider the long game. It’s trying to build a readership that’s going to be with you for not just one book, but for every book that you write or for every story that you tell or every product or service that you develop….it tends to be very organic. It’s not like a one-time event. It’s something that you’re going to put a little bit of effort into on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.”

Why do you think authors struggle with the idea of a platform?

“Many people find marketing and promotion to be somehow antithetical or at cross purposes to artistic mindset…”

“…if writers can stop seeing marketing as something that’s outside of the realm of their imagination of creativity and think of it as something that’s intrinsic to the work itself, I think it all goes much more smoothly and doesn’t feel like such a departure from the writing activity.”

“I think one of the biggest problems, to put this in concrete terms, is authors hear this kind of disembodied advice, whether that’s from their publisher or somebody else, to get on Twitter, start a blog, or start a Facebook page. I call it disembodied advice because it really has usually nothing to do with the writer’s personality, the writer’s work, the writer’s skill set.”

And, skipping ahead a number of talking-points:

What common issues or problems are authors facing today?

“For the types of authors I encounter, people are asking what are the buttons that I press to make the marketing work? People are very either confused or frustrated that what they used to do doesn’t work anymore or that what they’re doing for the first time doesn’t work the way they thought it would, even though it’s been highly recommended by XYZ expert. So of course there are lots of reasons things may not work the way they used to, and I think a lot of it is just misunderstanding of how to apply the principles they’ve learned, and also just a lack of patience.”

The video interview is just over 30 minutes; so, if you’d rather have the podcast, you can download it here

The video is called Blogging for Authors but, believe me, it has much more than that

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Readers Discovering Books ~ The “Best” Way?

I’ve approached Considerations of the Author Platform on this blog a number of times.

The concept is still evolving—some say the platform is social networking, some shout about Marketing, some do it the old fashioned way

Far too many people are pushing Platform as a device to stand on and shout.

What about standing up to be seen without the hype—a Space where readers and authors work together.

It all boils down to “Organic Discoverability”.

Back in July I published a post with 12 Author Profile Sites to Boost Your Discoverability—worth considering but not quite the friendliest way to have books found

Also last July, a new site came out of Beta—a new way to deal with the Discoverability Challenge.

I registered at the site last night and got a wonderful surprise—this place was Fun :-)


The reason behind the creation of iAuthor is well explained in a piece on VentureBeat:

“The Internet has made it easier for authors to bypass the traditional publishing process and publish their own work. This has also caused a flood of content that makes it difficult for authors to stand out, particularly without access to the same marketing resources as established publishing organizations.”

The man behind iAuthor is Adam Kolczynski.

That last link was his Google profile—here’s iAuthor‘s Google prescence.

Adam also has two publishing companies—Polybius and Ignis.

Naturally, on iAuthor, books can be categorized by Genre.


One of the most intriguing features of iAuthor for me was Adam’s creation of the facility for authors and readers to create Themes:

“Themes transcend genre. They reveal a book’s secret layers in a way category labels cannot. Here, you’ll discover books you won’t find elsewhere – and meet like-minded booklovers in the process. Themes can be as big as your imagination.”

Again from the site:

Your Books

Add your own books to an existing Theme. Forge your brand and expand your reach.

Can’t find the perfect Theme for your book? Create your own Theme in seconds.

Other Books

Add other books to an existing Theme. Help others expand their reach – and raise your own profile fast.

Can’t find the perfect Theme for a book? Create your own Theme in seconds.

Like & Follow

See a Theme that resonates with you?

Give it a “Like” and hit “Follow” to help propel it to the top.

Yet more from the site:

Are you an author?

iAuthor connects authors to readers with unparalleled ease, speed and flair. Showcase all your books and literary apps ‒ for FREE! Reach readers in minutes. Build your fanbase. Go global.

Offer a specialist service to the book trade?

iAuthor connects book service-providers to a discerning global clientele: authors, bloggers, publishers, retailers, reviewers, librarians, speakers, teachers, and more. Whether you’re a freelance editor, run a book design studio or produce book trailers, iAuthor has you covered. Reach clients in minutes. Deepen brand engagement. Go global.

Are you a reader?

iAuthor is transforming book discovery. Through smart use of category filters and content-curation tools, iAuthor puts serendipity back into virtual book browsing. Discover eBooks and cutting-edge book apps. Buy in a format of your choice. Best of all, iAuthor lets you create your own book Themes ‒ crowdsourcing at its most potent.


I was recently in communication with the iAuthor Team and learned that they’ll soon be rolling-out more features for Readers

My take is that they wanted more Authors and Books before they focused their creativity on helping Readers—makes sense—Readers need a Rich environment for book Discoverability

Here’s a quote from Adam in that VentureBeat article:

“For emerging authors, the digital revolution is a mixed blessing….The Web may have democratized the act of publishing, but it hasn’t democratized the outcome. Authors of equal talent do not have equal access to readers, and the gap between talent and opportunity is widening. iAuthor empowers authors and book service-providers to forge their own brand in a saturated market.”

I think this new discoverability platform could evolve into the Preferred Way authors, readers, and book service folk get together :-)

Here’s a link to my (evolving) presence on iAuthor
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Are Readers Going To Be The New Gatekeepers?

I’ve written about gatekeepers a number of times here

In the post Are Readers The Winners In The New Publishing Game? I said:

“Should more readers demand that authors forget about genre and write what the unique combination of theme, plot, and character demands of their creativity?”

“Is it conceivable that the reading public could select books based on plot characteristics or character interactions or theme arcs?”

“I’ve also written about how I’m a maverick author in the way I find my readers

“I do believe that, eventually, readers will have an exceedingly easy time in finding exactly what they desire; and, that they will become the primary ‘gatekeepers’ in the Book-World.”

In the post Where’s The Gate? ~ More Thoughts On Publishing I quoted Joel Friedlander saying:

“The myth of the noble gatekeepers is exactly that, of course. There never were bastions of cultural authority in this country, empowered to pass judgment on their fellow authors. But if you face year after year of rejection, it can be seductive to think there are.

“The problem is that this worldview completely dismisses the fact that publishing is a business, and publishers businesspeople. Books that find a home with profit-oriented publishers can be defined this way: books that might sell enough to make the publisher a profit.

“That’s the reality of gatekeeping, no matter how romantic it may sound. Publishers who make no profit are no longer in business. The business of business is profit, pure and simple.”

And, in the post Does Anyone Absolutely HAVE To Be Between The Author And Their Readers? I challenged writers with this:

“Steal the idea of a lone writer successfully providing books (or, short stories) to a large audience of readers; show what they have to struggle through to achieve the necessary skills beyond producing a manuscript; show them up against those who would judge them harshly; go ahead, write a story that has two protagonists: The Writer and The Reader :-)

Well, I’ll now lead you to yet another perspective from Libby Fischer Hellmann.

She’s written an article entitled Do we still need Gatekeepers? Are the lunatics finally in control and running the asylum?

Here are a few excerpts to entice you to take that link and read the full article:

“I’m not going to belabor how the plummeting price of ebooks has devalued books in general – we know it has. I’m also not going to estimate how many self-published books are never read. We know the number is high. Bottom line: we have millions of books available at bargain basement prices that are never read. Being discovered is more a dream than a reality.”

“Some say readers are already providing the gate-keeping function, democratizing the process and putting it in the hands of the ‘people’. But the sheer numbers of books being released make it impossible for anyone to thoroughly vet what’s out there.”

She also includes other people and methods that are attempting to fulfill the gatekeeping function, then says:

“…there are millions of readers who don’t recognize a well-structured, beautifully written book. They may have a feeling that something isn’t quite right, or that the book isn’t moving along as nicely as others, but if you’re not a prolific reader or writer yourself, how do you know if a book sucks?”

Then, she says something I wish I’d said:

“Of course, I’m just one reader. And one writer. And I’m aware that my taste may be very different than others.’ In fact, when you get right down to it, who am I to judge if a book is worthwhile? And if I’m loath to make myself a gate-keeper, who else should sift through the crap?”


What do you think?

How do you feel about all this?

How do you keep your reading gate swinging?
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So, How Do Writers Find Readers?

The typical traditional way of finding readers has writers finding agents who find publishers who find book outlets who attract readers

Self-published writers are playing in a different league.

Back in 2011, I published a post called, How Can Authors Find Readers?

In that post, I said:

“Some of the wildest relationships in the world are between authors and readers.

“Lately, writers have had a new horde of ‘experts’ yelling at them about how to hook-up with readers.

“Personally, I don’t think any two books (except the pulps in various genres) have the same history of attracting readers.

“It seems that, just as Mary wants Jim but Jim needs a wake up call and Mary doesn’t want to seem forward and Jim, well you get the idea; seems that authors need Relationship advice, not Marketing advice.

“Readers have relationships with authors, always have, and today’s publishing scene is begging authors to build relationships with their readers, like never before.”

I say more and direct folks to some valuable resources

But, today, I’ll introduce you to Omar Luqmaan-Harris and his site because he seems to have found many methods for finding readers, a.k.a. being discovered :-)

There’s a particular article on his site called 12 Author Profile Sites to Boost Your Discoverability.

I recommend you go read what he says about each of these sites but I also recommend you check them out and use two or three for a few months to see if they’re a fit for you and, if not, try a few more for awhile till you find what works with your life style—trying to keep up with all 12 could drive a writer crazy :-)

So, for those in a hurry, here are the twelve sites that might boost your discoverability (I utilize the first four):


Amazon Author Central





Red Room


Book Country



Are there any Discoverability Sites you can recommend in the Comments?

Any experience with finding readers you’d like to share?
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