Pixels to Platform: Marketing for Creative People

by Divya Chand

“Author Platform” is a phrase that is often heard but seldom understood. It generates an unlimited number of questions for all writers. Luckily for the crowd at the SCBWI Metro NY Professional Series, Pixels to Platform, Gabriela Pereira was on hand to answer those questions and demystify the core tenants of any successful author platform.

Gabriela Pereira is an MFA graduate from the New School and the founder of diymfa.com, a website that provides authors of all stages a place to delve deeper into the “how to” of writing  and “gain knowledge without the college””. While undercover as a graduate student, she learned the inside scoop on MFA programs, invented a slew of writing tools all her own, and developed a new, more effective way for writers to learn their craft.

On Tuesday, Gabriela shared her knowledge and showed the crowd the building blocks of a strong and successful platform. She shared with us the basic purpose of a platform as well the ABCs of creating one. Per Gabriela, the platform is a marketing structure meant to the connect the author with the readers and the fan base.

Therefore, in order to be successful, much like when building a Jenga tower, the author needs to build a strong foundation and understand the A or the “audience” of their platform. Much of the evening’s conversation was focused on this foundational building block as well as helping the crowd realize that “platform” doesn’t need to be an agonizing, mysterious and overcomplicated experience.

Authors should begin by understanding who is their audience? Who is the ideal reader, the actual reader and the peripheral reader? What do these readers want from your book and content? Without this information, it is nearly impossible to connect with them in a way that is both meaningful and authentic.

To find the elusive audience Gabriela walked us through one of her methods, the breadcrumb technique. A simple and effective technique that is useful for both the beginning and advanced author. She also mentioned techniques and tools on how she keeps track of the readers that come to her platform.

Gabriela then walked us through the B, or “brand” which encompasses who you are and how you present your best self to the audience. She shared strategies on how to calibrate your brand across various social media outlets.

The C stands for content. This goes hand in hand with audience because it is about providing the type of content the audience is looking for and something that creates value for them. Content not only includes the book you’ve written but also the items you use to populate the social media platform. She mentioned several topics and ideas that can be used to create original content that is in line with your audience expectations and brand.

Ultimately, the goal of a focused platform is to not only draw in readers but to convert them to become your biggest fans! The content and brand provided to your audience should help you actively interact with your readers so that it will transform into a lasting relationship with a lasting impact.

After her presentation, Gabriela took questions from the attendees. These ranged from her preferences of social media platforms, different tools to collect email address and create content and the importance of having a central connecting space such as a website to tie in all the different social media outlets.

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Divya Chand writes YA and is currently working on a fantasy adventure. She lives in New York City and can be found on instagram and twitter as @div_chand.

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