31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 22: Let Me In

Getting Personal

Today we’re getting personal.

The author platform task is: Create a short-ish blog or FB post sharing a personal story.

There are tons of experts that say getting personal makes you more likable and draws readers/followers in. (They also caution against sharing too much.) You’ve been spending all this time with your readers and followers, let’s allow them in a little more. Lots of ways to do that without posting your grocery list. Share insight into why you are a writer (is it in your heart?), what makes you want to write (thinking about the reader?), what makes your day as an author (fan mail!), or even what you hate about being an author (“oh you write children’s books, how cute”).

Maybe it’s a mom moment you’d like to share, frustrating or fun, like:

In that one, I had the chance to tack on another tweet and ask moms if they felt my pain, but didn’t think of it at the time. Look for chances to ask followers why they in turn do in that scenario. Ask them to reply. Engage with them (every one of them) when they do.

Use this task as an opp to break out of the mold and do something different today. At a minimum, use the tweet to add additional commentary as you post the link to the blog you just wrote.

It doesn’t have to be book related! Shed some insight into who you are so people feel like they now you (there’s plenty of stuff you can recycle from your bio page, right?). Suggestions:

  • A story about your kids or your own childhood
  • A funny anecdote (like when I wore my pants and yes shirt inside out)
  • A thought-provoking observation (“Have you noticed…”)
  • A personal goal you’re working towards
  • A challenge that you’re facing
  • A milestone reached
  • A lesson learned
  • A small thing you’re grateful for, like cold pizza for breakfast (maybe that’s just me)

Recap: Share a personal story. End with request to hear followers’ stories. Converse with them (all) when they reply.

[Oh, and before I forget, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

31-Day Author Platform Challenge Day 21: Mutual Support

[Before we start patting each other’s back, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

Today’s author platform task has two parts. First, you need to post the results of your poll. It can probably be automated with Buffer or whatever tool you use, but consider going back one by one to personalize each post. This engagement is the interactive part I tend to forget or gloss over. It’s an ideal time to start or continue a conversation! Take advantage of it. Ask people what they think of results, if they are surprised, if there was an option you should have included but didn’t, etc. Keep this engagement ball a-rolling.

I realize this will take some time, so when you’re done, today’s official task will be an easy one.

Day 21 is celebrating or sharing a friend’s success.

Let’s get friendly. Time to celebrate others. You can:

  • Share a friend’s website or book launch information
  • Recommend a fave website or resource you use regularly
  • Offer a link with details explaining why it’s helpful to you
  • Offer detail on a helpful site or resource

This is different than the #writerslift we did last week; although it does lift up a fellow author, it’s more a sharing of information vs a shout-out. It’s timely (compared to saying “thanks” which can happen any time), and newsworthy (it’s something you are reporting about).

Feel free to send several tweets that celebrate a bunch of people’s work – but keep it to one person per tweet unless it’s something they did together. No sense clogging up feeds with group tags.

Recently I found a free template for a book proposal, created and offered by a lit agency. Yes, it was a template for them so their submissions were less sucky, but hey, free resource. I made a post and included the link along with a shout-out of appreciation to the agent and the house (tagging them both), and that tweet got a pretty high number of likes and RTs—including the agent herself as well as the agency.

Will that agent want to take me on? No, she doesn’t even rep kidlit, it’s not why I did it. The point was to help others. It’s good karma to boot. I got a bunch of honest interactions and appreciations from it. Goodness comes from well-intended posts.

What I didn’t do at the time was share the post across all my social media. Lesson learned (and one reason I created this challenge!). I hope to cross-promote every tweet, or most, from now on.

Anyway, I love seeing posts from authors supporting authors, don’t you? Some authors are really good at this! It projects such a positive image.

Recap: Today, uplift someone by sharing a resource and thanking the person that offers it. Or highlight a friend’s small business, service, etc. Consider creating the post on a Canva-like site to make it pretty. Post it on all your media.


Just make sure the timing is good. Don’t post it right after or right before another big post like I did at the time, or it’ll get lost. Had I waited on that book proposal post, until after the dust settled on the other popular tweet, it probably  would have doubled the amount of likes.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 20: What Do YOU Think?

[Ahem. Don’t forget to follow 10 new people.]

Let’s take a poll!

For Day 20, we’re taking a brainstorm and creation break while keeping our engagement going.

We’re taking a poll.

It can be on anything you want (as long as it’s not offensive or controversial to the point it will cause you to lose followers).

The poll doesn’t have to connect directly to your work but pick a question that is in character with your personality and brand. If you want to use the poll results for your own data, make sure you ask the right questions the right way. Give a deadline for when votes need to be in. I gave mine two days to allow for lag time in RTs.

Actually, what better source can I find to guide you on “how to poll” you than this post from Survey Monkey? Pls give it a quick scan.

Polls aren’t the kind of a post you can automate across platforms. That might work out for the best, as you probably would speak to each audience a little differently anyway. Buffer won’t even let me create a poll, at least not that I can figure out. So let’s assume we have to go to each platform separately.

Different outlets:

  • Twitter makes polls easy. They let you offer a max of four answers and you decide how long the poll is up/live.
  • For Facebook, the only place you can create a poll is in a GROUP page. You can’t use the poll format in a profile or a fan page. In this case, you still want an excuse to reach out there so there’s a work around! Share the results of your poll. Talk about what you think it means, ask followers what their opinions are, etc.
  • LinkedIn offers a how-to on doing a poll there; it’s put in the same place as your regular posts in your account/profile.
  • Instagram lets you create a poll in your STORIES but not feed. Here’s a how-to guide. There are a TON of free templates you can use in addition to the one Insta provides.
  • If you have a YouTube channel, obv this wouldn’t work. How might you engage in a poll there? Figure out how to turn your poll idea into a short video, asking people on the street, maybe make a quick vid talking about your expectations or sharing the results of your poll?

Remember when I followed up on asking how your RT&Win went? This follow-up is gonna be public. The day following the close of the poll you have to commit to showing final results and/or offering an assessment or insight into them. (And no, that won’t be your task for tomorrow or the day after its finished, it will be in addition to it!)

Get polling!

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 19: Being Real

Yes, another video!

[Before we talk video, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

You’ve been thinking about what it might be to be n camera.

Today, Day 19, I insist you have some fun creating a “My view today” video. And by that I mean, a 10-25 second video of what you are looking at, at the moment. That’s it, that’s all it’s going to be. Sort of like a BeReal, if you know what that is.

Maybe your view is your laptop, or messy desk, a pile of laundry, a sunny day, rainy afternoon, or car that needs a wash. Let us see the world from your eyes. Shed some light into your day. Let people get to know you!

My (messy) office

I’m a nut about privacy, so be sure there’s nothing in the shot or background that is too identifying, such as mail on the table with your address, your license plate, etc.

The best part is this relieves you of having to be on camera!

Of course if you like, you can turn it to selfie mode and wave hello or whatever. You can station the camera so you’re able to walk around and explain your surroundings. If you want a refresher on making the camera love you, have a look here: https://bitsykemper.com/zoom/

I found some more great general tips on making great video content for social media here.


  • Please help motion-sick-prone peeps like me by NOT shooting video while you’re walking around, though.
  • Avoid bumping the camera up and down or moving it too quickly in any direction. Even physically turning the camera around to face the other direction is quease-inducing–use the built-in camera function to instantly change views.
  • Add text so people with sound turned off know what’s going on. (You’ll notice I haven’t gotten around to doing that on mine!)
  • At the end, ask followers what THEY see at the moment (or for their version of whatever you are doing). Ask for some insight into their days and lives. (Always look for ways to engage.)
  • Practice a few times until you get the hang of it. No one needs to know how many takes it took you to get this 10-second shot!

Looking forward to seeing you! (Or not, lol)

31-Day Author Platform Challenge Day 18: Talk About Me!

@WriterswithWrinkles is a great podcast for writers

[Hang on a sec, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

Day 18 is three parts although it should be relatively easy.

It’s quick research, followed by brainstorming, followed by quick emails. But put on your big kid pants as it will involve asking something akin to a favor, and I know introverts don’t like that! Too bad. This is what you have to do to get yourself out there. (Remember the challenge part of this 31-Day Challenge? This is the work you need to put in to up your author platform, my friend.)

Today, research five podcasts and five blogs you can make guest appearances on within the next two months.

WHO out there needs to hear your message? They are your audience.

WHICH podcasts and blogs do they follow? Grab that notebook and make a list of 10 if possible. Those are the blogs and podcasts you want to participate in. Then pick five in that list that you want to pursue. Give yourself one that’s a “stretch” goal–one you don’t think you’d get a Yes from but that maybe after you’re experienced they’ll say yes.

Then brainstorm exactly WHY you could be of service. HOW can you position yourself differently than any other guest? WHAT message or perspective can you offer that will give their audience new, interesting, or entertaining information?

What was your “what” topic? Perhaps it was 10 tips on handling rejection or 5 ways to create a cohesive critique group? These are the reasons and topics to pitch those bloggers and podcasters!

If that topic doesn’t work with the bloggers/casters you chose, think of others that might work. If you’re still stumped, see what past and future topics the blog/cast has been covering. Find a way that you can cover something new, or a twist on what they’ve already covered. It can be the same topic for all five if all five serve the same listening/readers, or something unique to each. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE and what they need.

If you need help brainstorming, comment below and we’ll all pitch in!

Then, email the five choices and ask if you can either be interviewed or be a guest blogger.

Offer your credentials on why you’re the best (or most enthusiastic) person to talk about it. Since you’ve researched past/future topics they’ve covered, you should come prepared with a general timeframe for WHEN it might work best for both of you. “I see you’re covering XX and YY over the summer, so perhaps ZZ will be a good fit in September?”

To recap: Research blogs and podcasts you could appear on, based on their audience. Figure out how you can best be of service to them. Contact and book an appearance.

At the end of these 31 days, you should have some interview dates lined up!

If none of those 5 pan out, pick 5 more, until you’ve got 5 on the books. Then repeat. This challenge doesn’t have to end May 31st you know! It’s not like marketing is ever really over.

Now, to prepare yourself for interviews, have a look at some interview tips I’ve written for in-person appearances: https://bitsykemper.com/free-for-you-pr-tips-for-writers/. It might be worth reviewing before you meet with the podcaster.

I know it can feel awkward to talk about yourself. But be proud of your work! You’re gonna do great.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 17: Why Not Ask?

Go ahead, ask already!

On Day 17, let’s ask your followers an open-answered question (as in, not one that can be answered with a Yes or No).

Why not ask a question? What an opportunity to authentically engage with your audience! The question can be anything, as long as it’s genuine. The point is to start a conversation that will involve as many followers, and ideally RTs, as possible.

The truth is, we talk a lot. We don’t LISTEN a lot.

Wouldn’t it be great if more people asked questions not to give themselves a chance to talk, but so that they gave themselves a chance to listen? To connect instead of monologue?

Don’t listen to respond. Listen to hear.”

(to paraphrase Steve Covey)

Pick a question you are interested in talking about!

Rework the question to best suit each of your social media outlets. I’d word a question on my FB profile page differently than I’d word it on my FB author page, even if I was asking the same thing, because my profile is mostly family and closer friends, while my page is newer and feels more formal. For Twitter, I don’t know most of them personally so it’s going to be worded even more different than those two. On Insta I’d probably be a little sillier, given my audience. LinkedIn will have a professional feel. YouTube would be a video. (You see what I mean.)

Conversations are the best for creating engagement! Since the topic is of your choice, you direct where it goes, and you end it when it’s over. (If only all public conversations could be so easy, lol.)

This is an easy one because there is no prettying up (like Day 14). It’s a simple text post. Yes, you’ll need to go to each outlet one at a time, but no graphics are necessary. You are always welcome to add some, though.

Author Lisa Yee is really good with this on FB. Here are some recent and random examples of some I saw on Twitter.

Odds are you’ll want to follow anyone that replies and RTs. Bonus: potential new followers!

Recap: Pick an open-ended Q to ask, and cross-post variations of it.