Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Building a New Platform


Last Wednesday, the lovely Kai Strand asked me about building a new platform for a genre or age group you are branching out into writing. When I started writing romance as Ashelyn Drake, I did so without telling anyone I was Ashelyn. The reason is that I wanted to make sure Ashelyn could stand on her own two feet. To be honest, Ashelyn blew Kelly out of the water in sales! Romance is like that, though.

I set up accounts on social media for Ashelyn and started following romance authors I loved, interacting when them as often as possible. I also looked at their followers because those people could potentially be Ashelyn's fans. I followed those readers and tried to interact with them, too. I joined Facebook groups for romance authors and readers as well. I also promoted Ashelyn on my Kelly accounts (still not telling anyone I was both authors).

Well, last year I decided it was too much to have two separate platforms, and after seeing so many other authors who use pen names joining their accounts, I made the decision to do the same. This is tricky, though. I have one street team for both names, which means some members are only there for my Ashelyn titles or only there for my Kelly titles. The same goes for my newsletter.

You have to decide if you want to keep your names separate, join them completely, or link them but have separate accounts. Whatever you decide to do, check out what your favorite authors in those genres/age levels are doing and who they're following. Don't be a copycat, but learn from them.

I hope that answers your question, Kai. If anyone else has some helpful advice, please feel free to leave it in the comments.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

25 comments:

  1. An interesting dilemma. Great article, Kelly.

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    1. Yeah, it's something each author has to decide for him/herself. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer. It's about what would work for you.

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  2. Now you have me wanting to write romance! That was how I started. I had no idea they blew everything else out of the water, although I did know they were popular back when I was trying to get published. I wrote category romance and they had a built-in audience, so if I HAD been able to break in, it wouldn't have been as tough to get people to read my books!

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  3. This is my concern about forging forward to build my newsletter and/or start a street team. My readers differ from MG to YA, and I don't want to make anyone feel 'forced' to read my MG news/books when they are interested in my YA work; MGers are even trickier, where some of them are really young - 3rd & 4th grade. Plus, the idea of having two newsletters or street teams - when I'm not even sure what to do with one - feels overwhelming. I'm really interested to see how this works out for you! Keep me in the loop, because I know I need to start a street team; just been undecided who to address it to.

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    1. For the record, Sheri, I've never had an difficulty promoting MG and YA together. People are going to read and support what they are interested in. I only decided to draw the line at NA/A because the content might be too mature for my other readers. It was important to me (as a mother of four) that I draw a distinct line there :)

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    2. Sheri, just be upfront with people. I've seen authors who write multiple genres put things in their newsletters like "If you don't read romance, you can stop reading here." It's very honest and saves the reader time. But those who do read that genre as well as the other primary genre the author writes in will continue to read.

      I just had someone comment on my FB page today about how he started reading my YA and was never a romance fan, but he enjoys my writing style and now he reads my romance too. You never know, so don't assume and exclude people. Just be upfront about what you're sharing with them. I hope that helps.

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    3. That makes sense, Kai, and it makes me feel a little better. :)

      That's a great point, Kelly. Awesome he's reading a genre he never thought he would and he's enjoying it. I'll keep all this in mind. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you so much, Kelly! Your advice is always so helpful.

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  5. I can see that requiring a lot of groundwork, Kelly- and occasionally mixing up your genres when you're talking about them!

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  6. I am working on revamping myself before releasing anything. I'm glad you decide to find your balance Kelly. The sooner, the better.

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  7. This makes me wonder if your birth name/legal name is either of your literary names (no need to answer is you'd rather not) and how you chose the name "Ashelyn Drake," which is a very good choice for romance, IMO.

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    1. I used my full name, including my middle name and maiden name, and started pulling letters to make possible pen names. I really liked the sound of Ashelyn Drake, so I went with it. :)

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  8. Interesting, Kelly. For me, having two names would be confusing, I think. I stay confused enough as it is. I'll keep your information, however. One never knows.

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  9. All great advice. I would be so torn if I had more than one name, but you sound like you have it under control, Kelly!

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  10. Currently I only write under one name, but can understand writing under multiple names for different genres. I can imagine keeping up with two separate platforms would be exhausting. Glad you were able to join them. :)
    ~Jess

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