Recently a fellow writer mocked me for my writer's platform. He declared that he preferred “a direct approach” as he was "old school". By this, I assume he intends on sending out millions of queries without any prior marketing. I attempted to tell him that this is the way it is done now but I am not sure he understood entirely. Well, I am writing this post now in dedication of this writer in hope that it may enlighten him. If it doesn't, then hopefully this will give some of you other writers (and readers) out there an idea about why we need a writer's platform.
Wondering what a 'writer's platform' is? Basically, it is how writers promote themselves and their work to the world. How can we expect to sell our work if no one knows about us? Publishers also love authors who appear willing to market themselves. A writer's platform, nowadays, can consist of social media (such as Twitter and Facebook), a website, blog such as this, and public speaking. These are mostly internet based, a valuable tool that was not available back in the 'old days'. They are easily created and maintained if you're willing to put in a little time. So why not start?
Social media is the easiest way to promote yourself. I recommend this as a first step in forming your writer's platform. There are many different sites available, just a few of these being:
From my own experience, Twitter is an extraordinary tool for a writer. Masses of writers can connect on this site by 'tweeting' short comments. They can promote their book and themselves, their blogs and websites, and publicize events they may be attending or even speaking at. If they are 'retweeted' (RT) then greater numbers may see the tweet. In the very short time I have had Twitter I have gained 110 followers and my website has had the most views it has had since I created it. On top of being a great marketing tool, Twitter allows you to chat with, and obtain great tips, from other writers.
Facebook is another useful tool if a little more effort than Twitter. By creating a Facebook page for yourself you can begin collecting 'Likes'. Spending a little time each day to post something on the page allows your followers to get a peek at who you are as a person. I have found that a Facebook page, unlike Twitter, is more about connecting with your potential readers. Most of your posts must have entertainment value and give a little insight about your personality. I post funny pictures (mostly with cats in them) and inspirational quotes. Do post some information about your writing however or the purpose of the page will be lost. I post the odd drawing and description of my characters and links to my blog and website.
LinkedIn is a website used for professional networking. You can join groups where writers collaborate. They create 'Discussions' where they may ask questions and receive feedback from other writers. It can be a useful and informative tool. There is also the opportunity to link back to your work and share it with others.
The above three websites are the only social media sites I actively participate in at this time but I have found them to be extremely useful tools.
An author's website, unlike social media sites, is a place where writers can truly shine. We can post excerpts of our projects, samples, images, and links. We can speak about ourselves in greater detail than on social media sites. We can also talk about our plans for the future including upcoming books. This is also where readers can find our contact info. This is the ultimate collection of information on you as writer and your work.
Blog Well the blog is possibly to hardest to maintain (I'm saying this after only writing three posts? Ha!). It takes time, and effort, to keep updating with regular posts. You need your blog to sound professional or you could lose readers rather than gain them. This means grammar and spelling also matter. You need to come up with ideas to write about in your blog. Who would you like to read it? I hope to connect with more writers and potential readers with my blog. Therefore, I have chosen to give writing tips based on my own experience and share selected life stories to give readers more insight into the sort of person I am. Blogs don't just work as a marketing tool however, they are also personally satisfying. When you click the 'Publish' button you find yourself letting out a breath you didn't realize you were holding. You feel proud to be a writer. Writing regular posts also stimulates your creative muse by forcing you to think of subjects to write about. It keeps your mind churning over the information and memories in your brain bank. Every writer knows that the more you write
(and read) the better your writing becomes. Think of a blog as training yourself to be the best writer you can be.
"Ehem… " Public speaking isn't for everyone (it isn't for me). However, although I have yet to enter this (frightening) territory, I do know that this may be how to get your face known as well as your name. You can pitch your writing, meet other writers face to face, make friends and maybe gather new fans as well.
Hopefully this has given some of you an idea about the 'behind the scenes' work of a writer. We don't just sit back and type (or scribble) out a book. If you are not convinced, well I did what I could.
So, until next time…. SCARLETT OFFLINE! *click*
Writers, what does your platform involve? Feel free to post links in the comments section below!
Other blog posts about writer's platforms:
Building A Writer's Platform – Karen Woodward - http://blog.karenwoodward.org/p/building-writers-platform.html
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Writer's Tale
Scarlett Van Dijk
Writer of young adult, fantasy series, the Sky Stone series, poetry and short stories.
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