At one time, I became preoccupied with my writing platform. This was a huge mistake.
It nearly ruined my career and almost destroyed me as a writer. I lost the joy of writing and was ready to give up. It wasn’t until I stopped fixating on growing my platform that my passion to write returned.
Having said that, I’m still working on growing my writing platform, but I’m not putting an unhealthy amount of pressure on myself. I do what I can and don’t fret (too much) about the results.
The next step is finding an agent, who will find a publisher. To get the attention of both, many writers first hire—and pay—a developmental editor, copyeditor, and proofreader to help them make their work the best it can be before the agent or publisher even sees it.
The author also needs to conduct market research to write a compelling proposal. For nonfiction authors, success in all this, however, largely hinges of them having a platform, from which they can sell their books. Fiction authors don’t face as much pressure to have a platform, but it still helps.
Landing an agent, who will hopefully land a publisher, doesn’t mean the author’s job is done, however. Once the book is published, which could take a year or more, the author must also promote, market, and sell their books. Yes, the publisher will do this, but they’ll expect the author to do most of the work.
No one will be more passionate and have more at stake than the author. This may involve hiring a publicist.
In addition to writing a great book, the traditionally published author needs to adopt an entrepreneurial mindset, handling the following tasks:
Build a platform
Conduct market research
Hire a developmental editor, copyeditor, or proofreader
Find a publicist
Handle marketing and promotion
Develop and execute paid advertising
The days of sending your manuscript to your publisher and letting them take it from there are over. Even with a traditional publisher, the author still has a lot of extra work to do. Maybe self-publishing isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Too many experts say writers must blog, but that may not be good advice
As writers, we’re told that if we want to be successful at publishing our work, then we need an author platform. Yes, this is true. Publishers expect writers to have a platform. In fact, it seems, the platform may supersede writing quality. After all, a publisher can fix our writing much easier than they can build up our author platform.
A common example of building an author platform is blogging. At one time blogging was held up as an essential requirement if a writer wanted to land a publishing deal. I think this has moderated somewhat in the past couple of years, but there are still many voices saying that writers need a blog if they hope to find success.
So, do you need to blog to build your author platform?
Since I am a blogger, it may surprise you to hear me say the answer is no. As a writer, you do not need a blog.
If logging will distract you from writing, then don’t blog.
If blogging is something you dread, then you shouldn’t do it.
If blogging will rob you of joy or suck the life out of you, then you shouldn’t do it.
Don’t let someone guilt you into blogging if you don’t want to do it. Readers will know your heart’s not in it, and they won’t follow you. When this happens your blogging accomplishes nothing. However…
If you like to blog, then maybe you should.
If blogging serves as a creative outlet, then go ahead and pursue it.
If you enjoy connecting with readers through your blog, then blog away.
A couple of years ago, I gave a presentation about blogging at a writer’s conference. A few months later I ran into someone who heard my presentation, and she was quick to thank me.
She said because of my talk she decided not to blog. I was devastated and felt I had failed her. But she was quick to clarify. She said that in listening to me, she realized she didn’t want to blog but felt she was supposed to. My words gave her the freedom to say, “No,” and she was grateful for it.
If blogging is a burden, you shouldn’t do it. Focus on writing first, and worry about the platform later.
But there are hundreds of other social media platforms to consider. While some platforms are obscure, others garner much more attention.
Though some of these social media outposts are worthy of consideration, my varying degrees of involvement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest already takes up too much of my time. So, I’ll not add a fifth to the mix.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Perhaps another social media platform works for you better or more effectively connects with your audience. Then maybe you should be there in place of one of the above options.
What other social media platforms do you use? What do you like about them?
Please include a link to your pages so others can find you there.