Writer's Road

Author Platforms and Ethics

Hey BookWyrms,

We talked a little while ago about how to make SMART goals for your author platform, and now it’s time to discuss ethics! (Que Olivia Newton-John in background) Let’s get ethical, ethical!

If you’re just starting out with an author platform, then you hopefully aren’t published yet. This means that you need to come up with a lot of content that has nothing to do with being an author. Confusing, I know, but stick with me. The whole reason to make an author platform is to have an audience to sell your book to, right? Well, if you wait until you’re ready to sell, then you won’t have anyone listening yet. And while you’re gathering an audience, you need to have something to say that doesn’t revolve around a not yet existent book.

Personally, I favor writing book reviews. I give writerly advice when I can, but not all readers are writers. However, all writers should be readers. Writing book reviews casts a nice wide net to gather readers over to my little corner of the internet. Here’s where ethics come in.

Author platforms take a lot of work. It takes dedication, practice, and learning as you go so you don’t repeat mistakes. I’m still figuring it out, myself. Don’t let an ethical blunder ruin your hard work.

Let me give you some scenarios….

It would be easy and fast to write reviews for books I haven’t read yet. I would always have my posts done on time because I wouldn’t get behind based on how long it takes to read a book. I could easily just search for the top books currently selling and do a write up based on what everyone else is saying about the book.

However, I would end up falling into two possible disasters. First, if I write a positive review for a bad book because I didn’t read it, then I’m slowly going to lose readership because my reviews will no longer be trustworthy. Second, and even worse, if I get caught having not read the books, I lose all reader trust. Forever.

Let’s do another….

It would be easy to buy a newsletter email list. A little bit of cash for a huge mailing list. Why not add in some Twitter and Instagram followers as well, right? People might even see how big my following is and decide to follow me just because of my numbers.

However, those numbers would be bogus. When it comes time to sell the book (and the time will come), no one will be at the other end of those accounts. That’s not even getting into the spam laws and again, consider what would happen to my credibility if I’m ever found out.

Trust me, it may be a lot of hard work to build a big enough following to successfully sell a book, but the work is so worth it! When you’re holding your book in your hands and it’s sitting at the top of a best seller listing, you will want to have earned that place.

Be honest and follow the rules. You’re going to do great, Wyrms! As always, drop me a comment. I’m figuring this out as I go along, but I’d love to help anyone who wants it. Also, sign up for our newsletter mailing list if you’d be so kind. Happy writing, BookWyrms!