The Writer’s Platform
What is a Writer’s Platform?
If you think of it as a physical thing, a platform is a raised area, like a stage, which would put someone above the crowd to be viewed by everyone at once. Online, it’s a central point to attract fans and future readers to one location to get to know you as a person and what you’re up to in the world of writing. From there, you can direct them to other points of interest that are a part of your platform.
Usually a blog is the center of a Writer’s Platform; a place where a writer can share articles and ideas about the writing and publishing industry, projects they are currently working on, and general knowledge of “who you are” and “what makes you tick.”
You provide links that lead people to other social media sites, as part of your platform to see photos, further articles, and give your readers a chance to actually interact with you on a regular basis. The more a reader gets to know you as a person, the more they will be interested in buying your books and telling others about you.
The number of social media sites to have depends on what kind of presence you want online and how much time you have to spend at each place. The more sites you use, the more time will be required of you, so don’t spread yourself too thin.
What’s Involved in Making a Writer’s Platform?
As we stated previously, a blog is a good focus. A lot of writers that I know use WordPress.com for their blog posts but you don’t have to join it because we do. There are a variety of places where you can set up a blog. Just make sure that you post regularly and commit to doing it.
There are a few that make blogs posts daily, some weekly, and others monthly. I chose weekly as I don’t have enough time to write daily, since I have a job to make a living. I wouldn’t recommend monthly as a lot of your followers may lose interest awaiting your next post.
In addition to the blog, having a presence on Facebook will help establish who the REAL you is. An author page on Facebook would also help and there you can post updates concerning your writing as well as excerpts from upcoming projects. Individual profile pages only allow a maximum of 5000 friends whereas a page gives you millions. It depends on how many people you expect to follow you.
On Twitter you can post, or rather, tweet things as a writer would. With the limited amount of characters allowed per tweet, this is where you want to focus more on your life as a writer as opposed to the fact that you and your “peeps” are hanging out at the mall. You can provide story updates like: “Finished first draft, now comes the editing” or “I can’t believe I had to kill off Ol’ Doc Bradley, I may cry for days”.
You can find a lot of fellow writers on Twitter and find out what they have to say, make comments, and ‘Retweet their Tweets’ so they will show up in your feeds. More writers prefer to be on Twitter as it encourages people to come to the point whether asking a question or making a comment about what you just said.
Creating a YouTube channel has its advantages for writers, as they can post trailers they’ve designed for their books. Or, they can upload videos of themselves talking about their writing process and giving writing tips about what’s worked for them and what hasn’t. You can also save a collection of your favorite songs/videos to show people what you listen to while writing or you can show people what a soundtrack for your latest novel would look like if it were turned into a movie.
**NOTE: In regards to all of these accounts, I would highly recommend that you use your name or pen name for both your screen name and online handle. Remember, you want people to find you, the writer, not Lovehandles46.
Do I Need a Writer’s Platform?
In a word, yes! With the creation of self-published sites, where you can do the publishing yourself, a writer’s platform is very necessary to get the word out that you are an author and you have books to be read.
Social media has become huge in the last ten years or so and without a presence online, it’s impossible to let people know who you are. Even if you are publishing the traditional route, you can’t expect them to do all promoting for you and your book.
You’ll want to make the effort to establish an online presence, and you can then decide how often you post and make comments. Remember, once your book has been out for several months, or even years, a publishing company will not promote you as often as you’d like.
When Should I Create My Platform?
This question has been debated for quite some time, and I’m surprised that there are people still asking it. My advice is to create your platform long before the first book is published. You want people to get to know “you”, the author, first. That way when you book is ready for purchase; you’ll already have a line of people ready to buy when it becomes available.
A Final Word
Even if your book is already out, don’t despair about the writer’s platform. Get one together and get the word out! Make sure you focus as much on yourself as you do your book. Personally, I’d rather have fans of me who will buy my books, then fans of my books. There is a difference especially if you write a series. Once your series is over, fans of your books may not follow you to your next novel or series. They may just sit back and hope you will put out more books based on the series. I want people to be fans of me and read everything I write regardless on the genre.