It is vital for every writer to build a platform. And contrary to popular belief, this is true whether you want to go the classic publishing route or if you want to self publish. The publishing world is such nowadays that it is not enough to write a good book. What publishers now want is for their authors to be actively involved in the promotion of their brand (which for an author is their own personality) and their book. This is something that not many writers understand, they think all they need to do is to write a good book and find a book deal et voila, they can now rest on their laurels.
The publishing industry has changed dramatically over the past decade especially with the advent of social media. Selling books is apparently harder, especially since anyone can slap together a book and sell it on kindle without the involvement of any publishers. This does not mean however that anyone should. Quality is important.
How do you build a platform as a writer so that you give yourself the best chances of getting published?
A platform is a combination of:
An attractive website
An interesting blog
A presence in one or more social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, or others)
In-person marketing in the form of speaking engagements or radio interviews
Where does one start?
I would encourage you to start small. Start engaging with people long before your book is finished. What you want is to connect with people at a personal level authentically so that when your book is ready, you have built a group of fans who will be happy to buy your book! provided of course they are interested in the topic. Don’t try to sell anything at first. Just be yourself. And be patient, it might take months before you build the appropriate following that will show you are mature enough to launch your book. Not to mention that writing your book might also take some time.
Share authentically about your interests and see who might be interested in the same topics as you are. My main interests are parenting, spirituality, co plenary therapies and film. What are yours? We write best about what we know the best or are the most interested in.
Focus on one aspect at a time and pursue that aspect until you are satisfied with the outcome. I would encourage you to start with a website. WordPress can offer such a platform in that it can be both a website and a blog. Try to find a picture that represents best who you or what your interests are for you header. And make sure you use a professionally looking photo for your avatar. Looking professional is essential.
I will be exploring some specific platforms in further blogs but for now, I want to say, don’t use too many platforms too soon. You can’t be everywhere. It would take an enormous amount of time that would eat into your writing time. In this respect, less is more. There is nothing worse than having a presence on a social media platform that is inactive. I am guilty of doing this on linked in, for example. I am not saying I am perfect. I am just sharing some of the things I have learnt over the years on my writer’s journey.
What is great about building a platform is that it’s fun. You get to interact with people. And for writers, that is invaluable as we spend so much of our time behind computers in the confines of our homes. And as you progress, you keep your options open because the more you build your platform, the wider your world becomes. If you are really good at social media, you might make a hit at launching your book without needing a contract with a classic publisher. It just gives you more options.
The best to your writing journey
Ange de Lumiere