31 Day Author Platform Challenge Final Day: Please & TY


It’s now our final, 31st day. Take a deep breath. You’re about to make it through all 31 tasks of the Author Platform Challenge. Go, you! As we start the month of December with new followers and a renewed brand, take a moment to pause and give thanks.

Day 30: For a nice way to end things, join me in tagging friends that have helped you along the way in improving your reach and attaining your growth goals. (You know I’m going to say only no more than five at a time, and only grouped on same post if they are connected to each other in some way.)

If you feel you’ve maxed out on shout-outs or tags, I get it. Just one more. Goodwill will take you far!

Thanks to everyone who supported me, and us, in this challenge!


I have final requests before signing off: please share any feedback you have on the challenge, advice you’d like to share, key learnings, and suggestions for tasks. I’m open to all ways to improve this for next time! Social media is always evolving and we need to evolve with it. As mentioned, I’d like to do this entire thing again in the fall, with tweaks and edits. You don’t have to answer now–but consider a refresh with me later in the year.

Stay in touch. We can keep learning from each other! If you haven’t shared your preferred handle in the comments, please do so we can all follow each other.

If you liked the challenge, please not only RT the original post to share the love but consider joining me yet again when I assemble all your feedback and work it into expanding our reach in the spring challenge.

And, if you don’t already, please follow my blog or sign up for my newsletter so you don’t miss any updates.

Talk soon.



31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 30: Loose Ends

Time to tidy up loose ends

woman in long sleeve shirt holding a vacuum cleaner
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

[Last reminder to follow 10 new people. It’s amazing how well this has worked, isn’t it?!]

It’s the last day of November in our Author Platform Challenge journey. It’s been quite a ride.

Day 30 is when we check our progress!

Since that notebook is probably still out from yesterday, grab it and open to the front pages where you took your original assessments on Day 1.

Number check

Let’s compare numbers! Go page by page and compare where you started with where you are now.

For each social media outlet you were tracking, fill in:

  • How many followers did you have May 1st? How many do you have today?
  • What was your goal, did you meet it?
  • If you didn’t meet your goal, do you feel better about the progress you made, the engagement you created?

Feeling check

How do you feel overall about the challenge? Did you rise to the occasion?

If real life got in the way, don’t beat yourself up. It happens! The good news is this challenge can be redone over and over again! Start back next month where you left off. Or recommit yourself in the fall.

Goal check

Did you meet your overall goal?

I worked my tail off creating this challenge, and admittedly it got in the way of my own implementation. But I still improved my numbers by…*still doing the math*… Actually, I’m excited to see the numbers.

I’m impressed by all the work I got done and I hope you are too. Please drop some comments on your progress made, so we can let each other know how proud we are of ourselves, as a collective group of hard-working authors-with-increased-platforms!

My new goal in the fall will be to do this challenge again and again, with the social media platforms I’ve been ignoring. I’ll see if I like any of them better. I’ll assess whether I want to abandon ship on what I have going on now and replace it with a new outlet. Heck, maybe by them there will be a slew of even newer outlets to try. Maybe you’ll join me then, too?

But hey. Congrats, man. It’s Day 30. You did it!

You did it!

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 29: Checklist Check

As we near the end of our 31 days, let’s take Day 29 to look over the notes and ToDo lists we’ve been tracking.

Grab that notebook again. Give it a long look, page by page. The To Do list is probably a bit of a mess. What’s left to be done? Probably a lot, and that’s OK! In fact, that’s great! That means you’ve been taking notes and keeping track.

Review the notes you’ve taken and see if there are any new ToDos that haven’t been added to the list yet.

Create a clean new list of things that need to be done.

Mull it all over for a minute.

Now re-list the list!

On a new page, re-list the To Do list again, in priority order. (Writing things down repeatedly helps your brain remember things so it’s not a waste of time!)

Now, if you’re super organized, group the tasks under headings such as Website, Rework, Decisions, To Schedule/Email, Ask for Help, etc. Super-duper organized people can use different colored pens for each heading.

To really motivate yourself, give a deadline or goal completion date for each task (remember SMART goals: specific measurable achievable relevant timebound?).

Whenever you’re on hold, or on public transit, in the waiting room, etc, scroll this revised list and work on things as soon as, and as best as you can.

Now go back and review what you’ve checked off your To Do list so far, and give yourself a pat on the back for work well done!

Recap: Review To Do list and (re)prioritize what needs to happen first. Bonus points to giving yourself deadlines on each.

You’re doing a great job!

[You’re doing such a great job, I bet you already followed 10 new people today!]

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 26: What a baby

Write, write, baby

[Before we start, you sweet thing, have you followed 10 new people yet?]

To cleanse our frazzled brains from yesterday, for Day 26 we are taking a step back in time. We’re posting baby pix!

Question: what age range are you writing for? Pull up some old files or photo albums (remember them?) and find some old baby pix of yourself at that age.

Take a good look.

How cute are you?!

What was going on then? Do you remember your mindset? Did you really understand as much as you thought you understood? At that age, what did you want more than anything? What did you need? Place yourself there for a moment.

This picture, this person, will remind you who you’re speaking to in your manuscripts and works-in-progress.

If it’s not too personal, I’d like you to post the pic, and tell followers about this person you are writing to.

Bitsy Kemper, age 5ish

For me, I’m writing to this little girl who was grossly unsupervised, the youngest of five kids in five years that got lost in the shuffle growing up being raised by a widowed dad that worked full time and tried (I think). When this little girl discovered Clifford the Big Red Dog after Aunt Carolyn sent her a book for her birthday, things changed. Sure, the main character being a young blonde girl that dressed in bright colors and shared the name Elizabeth helped draw me in because I “got” her.

But those fantastical adventures with a safe, caring guardian sent me to a world where I didn’t have to worry about my clothes being dirty or ill fitting, my shoes being worn out, my hair not being washed. I didn’t think about being hungry or not having money for gymnastics like everyone else. Nope.

With those books in my hand, I got to hang out with my friends Clifford and Mary Elizabeth for as long as I wanted to.

See that girl?

I write for her.

Tell me, and your followers, who you write for.

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 25: Try new SEO

Oh no, SEO?
SEO isn’t as scary as you think!

Over 5.5 BILLION searches are processed a day just by Google alone. We need to find ways for our sites (and books) to get noticed! The answer is SEO.

I let you skate for a few days with easy tasks. Not now. Have a seat.

Today, Day 25, we’re going back to your website and looking into “SEO,” or “search engine optimization.” That’s a fancy way of saying “making sure your website has the right words for search engines to notice, so it pops up early in search results.”

A good overview that explains how search engines work and what they look for (along with tips specific to WordPress but likely work on other sites) is here. Take a minute to give it a look.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone typed in “children’s book author” and your name popped up in the top three results? or five? or ten? One way, of course, is to have a website that has a million hits, which means you have a best-selling title (or six). But there are ways to pad your website to up the chances a little bit.

The bad news is, I can’t tell you exactly what to do because we all have different sites and different focuses and reasons and audiences. But there are general guidelines the experts say to bear in mind.

letters on the wooden blocks
“SEO” Photo by Oleksandr P on Pexels.com
  • Images and videos are better than simple text. It not only makes people stay at your website longer, it can up your name on image and video search queries. Add more images to your pages, and more video.
  • Caption your images! And be sure to include an “alt text” description of each image.
  • Pick a scalable template or see if your web host will optimize your site for mobile devices. Scalable means your website dimensions will automatically adjust for the screen size of a phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. When someone looks at your website on their phone, for example, your top banner won’t take up their entire screen; they will get to see your website almost like they were looking at it on a larger screen. It might seem like something obvious but not all template or designs do this.
  • Keep your website up to date. You know that regularly adding new content keeps readers coming back for more. Did you know it also improves SEO? New content shows search engines that your website is active and relevant. That means you have to keep going back to your website to edit, update, or add. The search-ranking autobots want to know that your site is “alive” — as in, there is a person tending to it regularly. The more active the bot senses your site is, the higher it will appear in the standings. It does’t want to look stupid by recommending a site that hasn’t been updated in five years. (If it had feelings, that is)
  • Add internal links and make sure they’re current. That means you want to link back to your own website as much as you can. (You may have noticed in this Challenge how often I point out things like “We covered looking your best in taking headshots on Day 7” — I often link back to my own posts, which helps prove my own content is valid and important.)
  • Use keywords repeatedly, such as in headers and in summaries (I have heard this doesn’t work as well as it used to though). At a minimum, repeat the words used in your post’s title.
  • Simplify language and URLs if you can, so search engines know how to find you and the content you are talking about.

The best advice I can give you is to go back to your website host and check their FAQ for SEO. They are bound to offer specific steps you can take. Wish I had a plug-and-play answer for you (and myself)!

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

31 Day Author Platform Challenge Day 24: “TIL” video

“TIL” = Today I Learned

image from TIL facebook page

You know something others don’t. Maybe it’s a hack on scrambling eggs, a cool Instagram trick, or fixing a leak. Perhaps you just learned it from someone else’s video. Irrelevant.

Today, Day 24 of the 31 Day Author Platform Challenge, you are going to share that learning. Via video! (You need to get more comfortable in video. It’s the future!) And “TIL” is all the rage right now, so let’s hop on board.

You don’t have to be on camera in your TIL vid if you don’t want. I’m not in mine!

My recent key learning is a time saver that lets you type in a few letters and have your pc fill in the rest. It’s called a “macro.” It’s hugely helpful for long words and phrases you use over and over.

Impress your friends (or at least your kids) by creating a custom macro!

What this video shows is how to make the macro by going to your Mac, clicking the Apple logo very top left, then clicking System Settings, scrolling down to Keyboard towards bottom left column, then clicking Keyboard Shortcuts Text replacements and adding in what you want to replace… Sure, I could have just written it out, but isn’t it so much easier in video?

Now, with the macro, anytime I type letters “apc” in a row it automatically types ’31-Day Author Platform Challenge’ for me. Try it for yourself creating any shortcut you want–your home address, email address, whatever you find tedious. Impress your kids by telling them you “created a macro”!

If you don’t know how to record your computer screen (I didn’t until this video!) I can help you there too. This link from PC Mag has step-by-step instructions for both Mac and pc.

Create your own TIL with literally anything. Maybe it’s that you learned where your keys are hiding. Or how to calm yourself when you can’t find them. Or how to call a locksmith at midnight.

Refreshers on creating great video content are on Day 16 and Day 19. For today, I have specific advice:

  • Write a script or outline first. Don’t wing it.
  • Rehearse what you are going to say based on what you wrote. It’s OK to ad lib, as long as you know where yo are headed. Think it through in your head.
  • Practice out loud at least three times until you feel you are ready. (Remember today’s “don’t wing it” rule?)
  • Only THEN should you hit RECORD. But don’t record more than three takes. Save all of them.

Why stop at three takes? Acting advice says more than three takes on vids like these will frustrate you and make you tense, and therefore make you–and the video–come across stale. That’s why you practice BEFORE hitting record.

Have some fun with it!

Tag #31DayAuthorPlatformChallenge so we can see it!

[Aaaand..have you followed 10 new people yet?]