You’ve worked really hard to write and polish your book. Though the average person doesn’t realize it, you’ve been working on the same project for three years. You’ve torn it apart several times only to have an editor tear it apart again.
You *know* it’s good.
Editors, family, friends, neighbors, other writers–everyone–has told you how much they love it.
You keep working away until finally–it’s done.
Whether you self publish or go the traditional route, the moment of completion and publication is finally upon you. The author copies are delivered to your house and you check Amazon and BOOM there it is… your name, your work, your book baby staring back at you.
Ten minutes later you check again. No sales yet. Why not? You go to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to remind all you friends that you book is finally available online but nothing.
Crickettes all the way.
Oh man, it makes me want to sit down and cry right along with you. What no one told you was that you need a platform and you need to start working on it now. Not after the book is published but now. You don’t wait until the edits are done, you do it now. As soon as you chose to go down that writing path, you must begin building a platform–which is now.
I hope I’m making myself clear.
When Do You Need A Platform?
Sooner rather than later. Don’t wait.
There’s a list of TEN ways to build your platform coming up in this post…don’t miss it.
What is a “platform”?
For the purposes of writing I’m going to define “platform” as a design or plan to raise your status and visibility to a likeminded or interested audience who will support you in your endeavors.
Does that make sense? It’s about standing up and being noticed. It’s about having a presence so that when that book is published, your audience already knows it’s coming down the pike.
There are many ways to build a platforms and you need to chose what works for you. The main thing is to continually put yourself out there.
Here’s a Little Story for You…
Three years ago I pitched a nonfiction book idea to a publisher. He nodded and rubbed his chin as I spoke. I thought he was listening intently and perhaps pondering the success of my brilliant idea.
“You have no platform,” he said. “No one’s going to buy this from you.”
Huh? Perhaps he wasn’t listening so much as he was bored and wanted to go to lunch.
“What kind of platform do I need?” I asked.
“Well, you could try a blog,” he waved his hand dismissively, “no one really reads them though.” He started to walk away.
The guy was really starting to piss me off so I followed him.
“Would a newspaper column reach more people and therefore be a better platform?”
“Sure, but you’ll never get a column.”
This particular publisher was a jerk. It felt like he was patting me on the head and telling me to give up the dream.
He said that only famous people can be successful selling nonfiction books and I should try something different.
He was so condescending. But those people are everywhere and we need to work past it.
He didn’t know who he was dealing with.
The following week I was contracted to write a bi-weekly column with Black Press called Auntie Says. It ran for about two years and then all paid staff were laid off when the pandemic hit so I just continued with a blog of the same name.
Here’s the lesson though–I didn’t stop and/or retreat when that one industry professional poo-poo’d my idea. It taught me to fight on and take everything with a grain of salt. Also, here we are three years later and I’m still building on the platform. I started soon after talking to him. I wasn’t going to wait.
He was right about one thing–I needed to build a platform for myself.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re wanting to write fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or recipes, the thing is that people need a place to find you and your work. If you’re ready to do a website then look at the options below and see how you can get started.
Readers want to know who you are and what you’re about. It’s good to have some people (other than just family and friends) who already support you.
How To Start Building Your
It’s not easy. In fact it takes a lot of time and dedication to make it happen but today is a great time to start building that platform.
Here’s a few things I’d recommend you do now instead of later.
- Set up a dedicated FaceBook page for your writing. This is probably the easiest thing to do. Get your family and friends to support it. Keep it fresh and personable and continue to ask people to support it.
- Learn Instagram and start using it. For me, this has been the most difficult but I’m working on using it as a media marketing tool. I’ll get there… And don’t forget Twitter and learn how to use it. There is a learning curve but follow me and let me know so I can help. Check out my
- Put together a website. There are options out there for inexpensive sites. If you don’t think you have anything to say, just tell your story. Who are you? What do you write? Check out my Welcome (Home) page as an example.
- Sooner or later you’ll want to start a newsletter. This means collecting (with permission to email them) email addresses. This could be down the line but it doesn’t hurt to start now.
- Start a blog about your projects and who you are as a writer. Many think that if they start blogging they’ll automatically get thousands of followers, but it’s a slow and steady process. You’ll have to blog anywhere from 3-7 times per week to get any attention and even then it’s slow. You must produce quality content in order for the reader to follow or return. What are you going to write about? Well, what’s your book about? is it about your town? then tell tid-bits about your town. Are you a romance writer? Follow some other romance writers and start from there. Maybe do a book review. So long as you consistently show up.
- When you can do so safely–attend conferences, writer-retreats, local readings. Anywhere you can begin to connect with other writers and start to build a community. It starts with one and goes from there. In the meantime, there are many online free writer events where you can continue to learn and grow.
- Keep writing. Maybe enter some contests and get your name out there. Go comment on blogs and writer sites. Build a rapport with others. Most writing is done in isolation so meeting in online forums is a great way to meet with others and discuss the industry.
- Start getting your name out into the world. Do some freelance work if you can. Offer to write small articles for your local newspaper or check out sites like Writers Weekly where they list freelance jobs. Do a little bit of reading on how to freelance though as you should be paid and you pitch the idea….not the article.
- Join a local writer’s group. Right now there are many online that allow you access to sharing ideas but it’s not the same as in person. Sorry….I want this dang pandemic done already.
- The other thing you can be doing is lots of reading and if you’re going to read why not join a book club. This is not only fun but engages the brain within the writing and reading community.
Building a platform is like building the stage upon which you’ll stand and wave to the masses. Get a jump on starting the foundation. It takes time to get a solid platform up and running.
Remember, you never know who’s watching or reading your stuff but no one can sing your praises if you’re in your room with the door closed and no welcome sign.
Get going on that platform as soon as possible. I know you can do it. Let me know how it goes.
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