This column excerpted from my book, CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM (Nov. 2012, Writer’s Digest Books), a guide on how to build your visibility, brand, and network to better market yourself and your books. The book includes lots of interviews with literary agents and platform-heavy authors.
I understand why people don’t get enthusiastic about platform building. Writers want to—shocker—write, and then (maybe) spend time talking about their writing journey. But building a blog? Tweeting? Volunteering to be a guest contributor to local radio stations all in the hopes of impressing literary agents? “If I did that, I wouldn’t have time to write!” is something I hear writers often say.
Building your writer platform means increasing your visibility, reach and network in the marketplace. It means creating channels through which you have the ability to sell books. The planks of platform include a successful blog, social media, article writing, public speaking, and more. In today’s publishing environment, nonfiction authors need platform to get the attention of publishers, whereas fiction authors simply want platform, as it will increase their value.
While creating a platform is not something writers generally get excited about in the morning (“Today, I’m gonna build my platform! I’M SO HAPPY!!!!”), I often tell people that there are definite upsides to the endeavor. Here are 5 off the top of my head:
1. Platform gives you a degree of control. In a previous WU column, I discussed how frustrating it is to have such a lack of control over the sales of your book. But platform building means you’re establishing concrete, solid connections through media outlets, with other professionals, and/or through social media channels. If you build these avenues, you can use them to sell books later. Creating a platform is an opportunity to, as writer Alexis Grant once put it, “make your own luck.” If you host a contest on your blog or speak at a writers conference, you are taking matters into your own hands, not waiting on an outside party to possibly have some luck spreading the word about your work.
2. You are your book’s ideal marketer. [Read more…]