7:00 AM


Today there is much talk about how authors need to build their own platforms. One needs to get their name out there and build a fan base, before their work hits the shelves. Luckily, the internet makes this a heck of a lot easier than it would have been in the past.

You might think social networking is all about finding old friends from high school or playing Farmville, but it can be so much more. With sites like Myspace (does anyone still use that?) and Facebook, not only can you join groups of other writers (published and not), you can create your own fan pages. Your friends, old and new, can "like" you, recommend you to others, follow your work, see when things are due out and if you have any appearances. It allows them a place to question your work and let them know how much you appreciate their support. 

Blogging is another way to get yourself out there, BUT just writing the posts is not enough. You need to use the other social networking sites to get the word out there so people will come read your blog. That Facebook fan page you made? Be sure to post the link there. The writing group you've joined? Let them know! I bet they have some great informative posts for you to check out as well.  On that blog page, you can set up applications to make it easier for your followers to know when you post (although you should try to post on a fairly frequent basis). Also you can help promote other aspiring writers and those who have already gotten their work on the shelves. On occasion, they will return the favor and link to you as well. That's a whole new group of readers who can find your work!

Then there's the whole Twitter phenomena. My friends totally don't understand Twitter and what a big help it can be. They jokingly ask "Oh, did Weird Al just tweet?" when ever my phone chirps. Yes. Twitter is only for Weird Al fans. *rolls eyes*  Twitter has been the best networking tool I've come across. It gives you access to all sorts of people in the business: published authors, aspiring authors, publishers, editors, agents, writing contests, fans, hashtags for writing, editing and chats about the industry.  It's allowed me to ask questions of some of my favorite authors, and get responses (*swoon*). It's allowed me to be a part of some important discussions with people in the industry, to help me understand how things work and why things get rejected. Those chats have definitely helped me know what NOT to do when sending queries. Not only am I getting important information to help me in my quest to get published, but others are reading my questions and statements as well. It leads them to follow me, thus helping me build that fan base. I would never have over 300 followers if I didn't participate. Some of those followers have become friends and mentors. It's a win win situation and one I think every aspiring writer should take advantage of.

There are tons of other posts out there on building a platform. Here are some others for you to peruse:

How to build an author platform with social networking
10 tips for writers
3 Easy Ways a Writer Can Build a Solid Platform

How have you gone about building your platform? Have you used methods other than those posted here? How did it work for you?


Jaxbee said...

Oooops, sorry MBee, I appear to have commented at the wrong blog! See comment on your Egotistical post - it's not going to make sense to anyone else! Will try to move it...

Nathan Lowell said...

I've been thinking a lot about the difference between new media and old media when it comes to building platforms. Unfortunately I think a lot of people are using old media mindsets to try to build new media platforms.

I wrote about it over on amwriting.org recently.

I think you're right to focus on your fan base. They are your platform. Do you have a different blog for them? Are you using tools like Google Analytics to track your traffic there?

MBee said...

I have a fan page on Facebook where I post links to the blog and the work in progress I post over on my Tumblr page. I think Facebook is easy for a lot of people to navigate so they can post stuff to my wall or join in on my discussions, etc.

I have to look more into Google Analytics. I have Google set to tell me when people other people mention me, but it doesn't to work so well.

I am a member of amwriting.org as well! I'll go check out your post. Thanks for the comments!

Nathan Lowell said...

Google Alerts work pretty well *if* you can get specific enough to avoid false hits - and provided you're talked about in places where Google looks relatively frequently.

There are three "Nathan Lowell"s that confuse my searches but I have one with each of my titles and my last name so when those kick me a notice, I'm pretty sure what I'm seeing. I think the alerts have gotten more useful as my digital footprint has expanded.