The Dreaded Author Platform

Last week at the Write-To-Publish conference, the one topic that kept coming up in conversations, panels, and workshops was AUTHOR PLATFORM. Yes, the hated p-word!

I explained again and again that publishing just ain’t what it used to be. Gone are the days when publishers were solely responsible for the marketing of a book.

Today’s audience is more segmented than it has ever been before. People have more options for their leisure time than ever before – 600 channels on television, movies on demand, video games and Wii, and then of course, the Internet. It’s harder than ever to attract people to books. The way to do it is increasingly through personal connection, and that means YOU, the author, making connections with your readers.

(This discussion applies mostly to non-fiction writers, but you novelists, take note. It will help you, too, if you want strong sales on your book.)

It has never been more crucial for authors to play a major part in marketing themselves, BUT it has never been easier. Where are readers hanging out these days? The Internet. That’s the best place for you to find readers for your books.

The Internet has leveled the playing field. With a well-written and compelling blog, you have the potential to build a significant platform. If you take the time to research website optimization and do everything recommended to build traffic on your blog, you can build a sizable audience in a matter of months. Then when you begin to use Twitter and Facebook strategically, you can grow your audience exponentially.

You can, and you must.

After the conference last week, and all the conversations I had with writers, editors and agents, I almost wanted to announce that I’d no longer accept queries from anyone who doesn’t already have a good solid head start on a platform. (I won’t draw such a clear line in the sand, but consider yourself informed.)

If you have major credentials, teach at a university or pastor a large church, make a living as a public speaker to large audiences, appear on national television regularly, publish stories in the New Yorker, or you’re a regular contributor in Esquire or the Washington Post (for example), then don’t worry about what I’m saying here.

But if NOT…. then you really need to show that you are willing and able to put the time and effort into marketing yourself and building a readership online. You’re competing with so many authors who already do this.

I DON’T want to see in your proposal, “I am willing to start a blog and join social networks to market myself.”

I DO want to see: “I’ve been blogging for a year, with my readership growing steadily. I use Facebook and Twitter to create relationships with potential future readers of my books, and to drive people back to my blog. I’m currently making contact through the blog and social networks with several hundred (or several thousand) people a day.”

You want to sell a book? Take this seriously. You don’t have to have a television show or be on the radio. You don’t have to be a celebrity. But you DO have to have a good book, AND you have to be able to sell it.

It doesn’t cost money. It doesn’t require special skills, besides the ones you already have: those of being a writer. What it DOES take is time. Marketing yourself as an author will cost you a serious investment of time.

Can you do it? Will you do it?

Is this dream worth it? You tell me.

P.S. Blog reader Jeanette Levellie sent this photo from the conference. It’s me, Jeanette, and Mary DeMuth.

  1. K.R Wilde says:

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  19. Marie Weymer says:

    Good post, thanks for the good read.

  20. Glynis says:

    >Air punching with joy! Two years ago I read a blog by an agent. I was about to start my life writing full time. I needed to learn so much and found the information – you must start a platform.
    I set up a blog and gained followers. As I got a little braver, I set up one with author in the title, this motivated me. I wrote on an article site getting myself known, I was found by an editor of a magazine in Cyprus(my new home),via that site. I wrote a couple of articles for the magazine and was approached to write for another. Twitter and Facebook are also part of my writing world now. A year ago I knew I was ready, I had support and via two blogs with 200 followers. I was published on paper in UK and Cyprus, I was published on the Internet, I was ready to start writing my first novel.
    This year I will take the step to find an agent, I will be able to show I have tried hard, met some incredible writers and am part of their world. That one blog post gave me courage and a platform. I hope I can do the same for another
    aspiring writer with mine.

    Thanks for another informative, positive post Rachelle.

  21. Rachelle says:

    >Falseaddress2,

    Cold sweat? You're kidding, right?

    No nervousness here. There will always be jobs for those who know how to help authors write the best books they can, sell them, and promote them.

    Sure you can self publish a book, and for many, that's a route I recommend. But roughly 90% of self-pubbed books are poorly edited, poorly designed (interior and exterior), and don't sell worth beans. So I don't think I'll be breaking out in a cold sweat anytime soon.

  22. falseadress2 says:

    >"Ok, Great Idea we will build a "platforms"
    and cultivate thousands of fans ready to buy our books. I just have one question , what the heck do we need you for? The same technology that enables self promotion also makes self publishing inceasingly easy…."

    -Editor breaks out in cold sweat gulps nervously tries to think of a witty response.-

  23. Rebecca Woodhead says:

    >Hurrah! I've been doing something right. Great post.

    I just posted a quiz on my blog about ways to approach Twitter when marketing books. You might find this interesting/amusing and I'd love to hear your thoughts. It links to a guest blog on another site which looks at the emerging netiquette for micro-blogging writers.

    http://frombrain2bookshelf.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-kind-of-twitterer-are-you-quiz-for.html

  24. Marcia C says:

    >Nonfiction is a broad category. I understand that you need to have a platform to sell a book about gardening or auto mechanics, but what about a biography? What about children's books? What about a nonfiction book that is story-like in format and is written to appeal to fiction readers? Do you need a platform for those?
    I've been published extensively, but most of it is local. I also have a blog, Facebook and Twitter, but this is mostly for fun, and much of centers on my hobbies and personal interests. And, like most writers, I struggle just to find the time to write.

  25. Ashley says:

    >I love this post! It's really given me a lot to think about AND a lot to aspire to–in building my platform, of course! So, thanks, Rachelle.

    I agree with a variety of opinions here. I've only been blogging for about 4 months now but I've been working on the beginner book of a series for over a year and a half. I wouldn't say I have the best author platform out there by any means, but I do have a degree in English, have been part of several critique groups and follow many author and agent blogs, as well as aspiring writer blogs. Through the world of blogging, I've become acquainted with several valuable CPs. From following author blogs in particular (especially ones who have a first book coming out soon), I've come to realize that sometimes gaining a platform is easier to do once the agent has been acquired and the first book set to publish. Some people won't take you seriously if you're just an *aspiring* writer, because for all they know, you could have a great concept but your writing is horrible.

    For instance, I think my concept will sell itself, especially with the proper marketing, and I'm more than willing to contribute. It's not enough to say, "I have this great concept about a disgraced socialite who is forced to recognize that her journey toward change must be swift and sincere"–my writing has to be up to par and I have to find an agent and all that in order to be taken seriously by my community and what little readership I've gained. And my problem with writer conferences and chapters is that most of them seem to be geared toward writers of romance, which I'm not. I seriously have a hard time fitting in. Romantic element? Eh, sort of. So which ones should I attend, assuming I can gather the funds to go to these things? These are daunting things to consider.

    Also, a question I've been pondering, since I'm not so sure who the best person is to answer it, is–would you say it's better to make a book trailer before or after you've secured an agent and/or publishing contract? Say I have great ideas to market my book before I've landed either of these things, should I do it? Or wait?

  26. Jeanette Levellie says:

    >Dear Rachelle:
    Thanks for posting the photo; it was sweet of you to let me take it, especially since it took seven tries on my silly camera!
    Jen

  27. Rachel Anne says:

    >Funny, I found this post via Mary DeMuth's Tweet. Proof that social networking does work…a simple mention and link to you and here I am: a new reader to your site.

    Just a thought, but there are writers who become bloggers to boost their readership, and there are bloggers who become writers because they have a readership. They've found their voice AND the people who already want to hear more. After blogging passionately for 3 years and building a great readership, I'm ready to launch into book form with (shaky) confidence. Blogging has done that for me because it has brought people who share in daily conversation with me…without being sold a product or book….and there is a trust level that happens when you aren't building a blog to sell a book. Blogs are about connecting with people, and whether you are an established author or not, your readers want to know YOU, not necessarily your product. I think knowing the line between tasteful self-promotion and gagging self-promotion is a good one to keep in mind. All that being said, I realize just how much more there is to learn…about everything.

    It feels good to be asked "when will you write your book??" by my blog readers. I know I've barely put my toe in the waters of publishing, but it makes the journey much more exciting than scary…less like chasing a fantasy and more like following a dream.

  28. Julie says:

    >I think my biggest challenge is that I have multiple personalities online – Facebook for family and friends from my hometown, a blog for writing, another for work, etc.
    I think melding it together would probably be a benefit in the long run, but it's kind of like having a party where two different groups of friends meet. It can be kind of awkward.

  29. Gina says:

    >Can I offer some help here? There are SO many things you can blog about. I have two blogs, a Facebook, and a LiveJournal, so I'll try to throw out a few tips. πŸ™‚

    You can blog about the day's news. Or an article you just read. Or anything at all that appeals to you and makes you think, "I'd like to jot something about that down but I don't want to write a whole article/essay on it." My latest LiveJournal entry is about a word that I liked in an Edith Wharton story!

    You can blog all about a favorite author — I have a blog devoted to Dickens, and there are blogs about Austen, Shakespeare, Poe, the Brontes, Wharton, etc. If you're a fiction writer, you can write "Web exclusive" short stories and blog them serially.

    You can blog about your personal life (within reason). You can blog about your faith. You can review books or movies or TV shows. You can talk about your hobbies. You can tell people what a writer's life is like. There are TONS of things you can blog about, and if you're a good enough writer, you can make anything worth reading.

    Take a look at James Lileks's blog: http://lileks.com/bleat/ . He talks about matchbooks and postcards and architecture and old movies and shopping and raising his daughter — basically whatever is on his mind that day. He's even blogged about "regrettable food." And he has a HUGE following, and his books have benefited enormously from it.

    Don't ever think of blogging as wasting time. If nothing else, it helps you work on your writing skills! I know it's helped mine.

    I know a lot of people can't get past the "Why would someone want to read mundane things on a blog?" part. But isn't taking the mundane and making something fascinating out of it what many of us writers try to do, anyway? You'll never have a better chance to hone that skill. And Facebook lets you do the same thing. You don't just have to write "Ate toast for breakfast." You can make a sort of mini-art form out of it. Facebook friends of mine are always telling me my status updates made them laugh. You don't have to be Bill Cosby, but you can challenge yourself to make status updates fun and interesting for people reading them.

    I hope this has been helpful. Maybe some temperaments are better suited to blogging and social networking than others. But I really think anyone can do it, and learn something from it.

  30. Goodie says:

    >This sounds really helpful and sensible, but as a writer fresh out of the gates with no published works, I am a bit stumped regarding what the CONTENT of these networking and blogging sites should be.

    Do people start to follow blogs that are simply the personal thoughts and experiences of the blogger? It seems to me that there are hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of blogs that are exactly that. When you are starting anew, how do you make yours stand out?

    If it's not the "personal thoughts and experiences" kind of blog that can be used to establish a platform, what else to write? I would include examples of my own work, short stories or whatnot, but I hear that having material available online can invalidate its publishability. So, one could post material they don't intend to get published, but if it is good enough to build a platform, wouldn't they want to publish it?

    Thought continues in this path, and thus I talk myself into a conundrum.

    What should a beginning writer with the aim of establishing a platform blog about?

  31. Liana Brooks says:

    >QUESTION:
    As a novelist, when do I start building a platform?

    I have a blog, but I'm not even querying yet. I'm probably a good year away from selling a novel, between editing, querying, and the actual sales.

    I was putting off things like Facebook and Twitter until after I had an agent. Is that too late?

  32. Paul Michael Murphy says:

    >I guess I'd like to see some data. Show me the sales figures of a non-famous blogger/facebooker/twitterer against the sales of an equally non-famous person who doesn't blog/facebook/twitter.

    I understand that famous people are going to sell more books. I'm not sure us regular Joes gain all that much by spending our time on social networking sites and building our blog readership instead of spending that time reading, learning the craft, researching, and writing actual books.

  33. Marla Taviano says:

    >I know you've done this before (at least I think so), but maybe some Friday you could let everyone leave their blog addy (w/short description), their facebook info and twitter name.

    I'd love the opportunity to easily connect with like-minded people, and I know there are hundreds lurking here at your blog. πŸ™‚

    I'll start just in case anyone is still reading through comments at this late hour. πŸ™‚

    http://www.marlataviano.com
    Marla Taviano on Facebook
    marlataviano on Twitter

    Off to follow @jeannieruesch right now!

    You're awesome, Rachelle.

  34. Anonymous says:

    >Hi Rachelle,

    How much does "real life" potential readership matter for those of us who are not famous? πŸ˜‰

    I'm not a pastor of a large church or a public speaker, and I'm NOT a celebrity (ha). But my fiction is based on my career, and several thousand regional folks know me by name because of my career–the same number you cited for internet followers/potential readers. Does that amount to a hill o'beans when it comes to platform?

  35. Dawn Maria says:

    >As a fiction writer, the platform thing bugs me. Part of it is that I don't want to be confined to any one form or genre. Having said that, rest assured, I have a blog, website and am now on Twitter.

    The trick is balancing promotion with creativity. I'm also searching for an agent, which a job itself. I haven't found the right ratio for myself yet. Twitter, etc. are addicting! Next week I head off to a writer's retreat for two weeks to work, so I'm going to unplug from all social networks, agent blogs and the like.

    Wish me luck, I have no idea how I'm going to do that!

  36. WhisperingWriter says:

    >Thank you for this.

    I'm in the process of writing a novel (I hope to finish by the summer but I have two loud kids who don't quite comprehend that Mommy needs quiet time to write) and I do have a blog, Twitter and Facebook. Oh, and MySpace to boot!

  37. Gina says:

    >Karin, you can adjust your privacy settings so that only you can see your photos.

  38. Karin says:

    >I'm honestly not sure why everyone fights this so much…in the last three months I've heard DOZENS of people talk about this (either in articles or at conferences). It seems to me that it might just be important…

    I started my blog a couple of years ago and I couldn't get my mom to check it. In the past few months I focused it and started reading other blogs – I'm up to 13 regular followers now πŸ™‚

    I'm also attending all of the professional women's organizations where I live so I can get my name and face out there.

    I have Facebook, but I'm wondering: how many people have a professional and personal Facebook account? I use mine primarily to see my niece and nephews across the country and I'm not so sure I want fans (I'll have them someday) being able to see them.

    Thoughts?

  39. Timothy Fish says:

    >How many is significant? Mike Hyatt puts significant at 500 to 1,000 unique blog readers per day. A few years ago, when I had more of an interest in SEO than anyone needs, I noticed that there are mega-churches with fewer visitors than that. The Internet, blogs, Twitter, FaceBook, all of that stuff, isn't a silver bullet. You can do it all, but unless you already have the means to build a platform, it isn't going to do you any good. Developing a reader base on the Internet and selling books are very similar.

  40. Megan@SortaCrunchy says:

    >I think that for writers new to the publication scene that the platform isn't so much a dreaded topic as it is a Big Question Mark. I've had a moderate amount of success as a blogger (well, for a "mommy blogger," I suppose), but it wasn't until you shared some wise counsel on what all a platform in parenting would encompass that I realized that a blog barely scratches the surface of the depth that needs to be created for the platform to speak to publishers.

    (Wow, that was a long sentence.)

    We have a blog, we tweet, we have a facebook group, but direction from you was what we needed to allow us to see opportunities that come our way as possible platform builders. Because of our discussion on platform, I had the courage to take over a website dedicated to parenting that has a far bigger readership than my "mommy blog" will probably ever have!

    Thank you again for meeting us where we are in the process. Posts such as this are incredibly helpful for those of us who have only recently begun to pursue the process of publication. So much work to do! Helpful encouragement from you and others in the know offer great motivation to stay after it.

  41. Rain Likely says:

    >I have a gardening blog, which is mostly pictures, and I joined Facebook when I retired to keep from becoming too isolated, but alot of this kind of social networking seems awfully ego centric to me. I honestly don't fell inclined to give the world frequent updates on my mundane activities.

    Not disputing the notion at all, and I am addicted to a number of amusing and interesting blogs, I just don't see MYSELF as interesting and amusing. Yet.

  42. Rachelle says:

    >Anon 1:33,

    You're right, having a good book comes first. If this is the only post of mine you've ever read, then yes, it would seem I'm putting the cart before the horse.

    But it has to be taken in context of everything else I write here. My main message always has been, and always will be, that YOUR BOOK is what matters first and foremost. Not how sparkling your query is, and not how big your platform is. As you are working on writing a great book, you can also be learning about platform, queries, and all the other necessities of publishing.

    If you'll notice, even in this post, I said, "you DO have to have a good book, AND you have to be able to sell it." I put "good book" first.

    You may want to take a look at my post for May 18, titled: First
    Things First, or Don't Put the Cart Before the Horese.

    You'll see that I address your concern quite specifically here.

  43. Anonymous says:

    >Seems to me you're putting the cart before the horse.

    A fiction writer first needs to write the best novel he/she can before ever investing their time in other activities.

    Once that's done (and they find an agent), they'll have time to develop a presence on the web. One that focuses on what they know for certain rather than what they only hope will be.

    After all, publication is a long way off and the internet makes things happen way faster than that.

  44. Marybeth Poppins says:

    >I've worked very hard on building my web presence. I think it is just as important as having a good book. I have a blog, twitter, facebook and my own personal website. I love to hear from people that enjoy reading my blog so much that they say "I can't wait to read your book." I laugh because most of them don't even know what the book is about. But that in itself tells me I'm doing my job and doing it right! Great Post Rachelle!

  45. Dara says:

    >I have a blog, Twitter and Facebook. I suppose I'm having trouble actually growing…guess it's time to research! At least it's something that I could probably have a slightly easier time doing rather than worrying about getting articles and short stories published (which I should probably focus on as well at some point…)

    Now I have something to research when I encounter a temporary burnout on writing my novels.

  46. Mary Cunningham says:

    >Great post! I've been blogging for 2 years and love it. I also tweet, facebook, etc.

    I loved what you said about leveling the playing field. Not-so-well-known authors can reach such a huge audience by having an online presence.

    Now, if some "old school" writers I know would just buy into it. (I can dream)

    Mary
    http://www.marycunninghambooks.com
    Discover the Magic in Cynthia's Attic!

  47. PatriciaW says:

    >My only question is what's a "sizable" audience for a fiction writer whose stories are not built upon newsworthy issues?

  48. Kristie says:

    >Been meaning re-evaluate optimization for my blog. Thanks for the reminder and the resources!

  49. Kristina says:

    >As always Rachelle, thank you. But here's what I wonder: How big a blog or website audience is big enough? Obviously, the bigger the better, but where is the line where you say to yourself: "That's just not enough traffic?"

  50. Amber Argyle-Smith says:

    >If you take the time to research website optimization and do everything recommended to build traffic on your blog, you can build a sizable audience in a matter of months. Then when you begin to use Twitter and Facebook strategically, you can grow your audience exponentially.

    Could you do a blog about how to do this?

  51. T. Anne says:

    >Love the picture! It's nice to see all of you, Jeanette is a prayer warrior and I'm sure over the moon right now!!!
    Thank you Rachelle for mentioning the fact our blogs are a part of building a platform. It's a relief to know it's more than just networking.

  52. Cheryl Barker says:

    >Rachelle, thanks for the tips on where to find help on building blog traffic. It helps to have your specific recommendations when there's so much stuff out there. Can be kind of overwhelming…

  53. Timothy Fish says:

    >Rachelle,

    I suspected you did, but I'm suggesting that you should go a step farther and drop the rest of us completely. Even leaving the door open far enough to say that you are only accepting queries from people who have started toward a platform is to invite us to send a query asking is this a big enough platform? Any platform that is really worth anything is probably so obvious that a query is unnessicary.

  54. Eric von Mizener says:

    >Blogs are truly shrinking the world. I found a link to my blog – with a thumbnail of Carol's and my wedding pic – on a Christian blog in Romania. Romania!

    Amazing.

  55. Laura Martone says:

    >Thanks, Rachelle. As a novelist, I find your "gentle" prodding more than inspiring. In the past few months, I've immersed myself in the world of Twitter and Facebook, and I've been visiting blogs daily – I've also begun a blog of my own about my publishing journey, and I'll soon be writing a blog for moon.com about U.S. travel, so I'm slowly putting myself "out there".

    It is time-consuming, and sometimes I wonder (okay, my husband wonders) if I shouldn't be writing (or revising my first novel) instead. But I sure have met a lot of wonderful writers already – and learned a lot, too – so I think it's time well spent.

    Still, I agree with Kim – these social networks can be addictive. πŸ™‚

  56. max says:

    >Excellent advice.

    Max Elliot Anderson

    Books For Boys Blog
    http://booksandboys.blogspot.com

  57. Jeannie Ruesch says:

    >This is such a terrific post and I hope every writer reads it, prints it out, commits it to memory. πŸ™‚

    Your statement, "I almost wanted to announce that I'd no longer accept queries from anyone who doesn't already have a good solid head start on a platform. (I won't draw such a clear line in the sand, but consider yourself informed.)" is huge. Even if you haven't drawn that line just yet, the line is in sight and being considered as an important step.

    I'm an author AND a marketing professional, and I know how important it is to put in the time. Believe me, I've seen the differences between those who do and those who don't directly reflected in their book sales. The internet is where people are…and it takes time to build up an audience, to make connections. And the important thing to remember is that NONE of this is going away. Facebook, Twitter, blogging. It's only going to become a bigger part of our society.

    I'm off to tweet about this post. πŸ™‚ @jeannieruesch

  58. katdish says:

    >Yes, yes, and yes.

    I couldn't agree more. I've found some that are reluctant to dive into the social media frenzy out of shyness, but once they take the plunge, they are quick studies.

    Besides, it's tons of fun and a great way to meet some very interesting people.

  59. Rachelle says:

    >Cheryl (and everyone else who probably has the same request):

    There are a thousand Internet gurus who constantly blog about topics like website optimization and how to build blog traffic. (Just Google "how to build blog traffic.") Even Mike Hyatt frequently blogs on technical topics like that. Because it's so well covered, I probably won't get into it, at least not anytime soon.

    I read Seth Godin, Guy Kawasaki, and I subscribe to the blog "Daily Blog Tips." Those are good places to get started. There are always links to more good information.

    Have fun!

  60. Cheryl Barker says:

    >Rachelle, you mentioned website optimization and doing everything recommended to build traffic on our blogs. Maybe those would be good topics for you to address here sometime. I know it would be helpful to me.

    Thanks as always for spurring us on!

  61. Rachelle says:

    >Timothy & Cecilia,
    Actually, "convincing people with platforms to write books" is something we (agents & editors) do all the time. That's the "proactive" part of acquisitions for us. Rather than always waiting for people to come to us, we spend a portion of our time going after the people we want. They may be speakers, bloggers, columnists, or celebrities of some type. If a person has a strong platform, it's likely someone in publishing is going to come after them.

  62. Angie Ledbetter says:

    >Arghhhhh! Please please don't make me tweet and do a FB. I'll be sucked into the networking aspects just like I have with blogging, and never have time to write.

    *digging in heels, but skidding toward acceptance. Ug.* πŸ™‚ Great post.

  63. Cecelia Dowdy says:

    >I mostly use my blog to market my books. My blog traffic is growing steadily, and last year at ACFW two editors knew me…not because of my published novels, it was because they'd visited my blog!

    Timothy Fish wrote:
    instead of trying to convince writers to build a platform, would not make more sense to convince those with a platform to write books?
    >>>I'm wondering how easy it would be to convince someone with a platform to write a book? What if they're speakers, but not writers? If they don't know how to write, then I guess this suggestion wouldn't work. BUT, I think it COULD work if a ghostwriter is being used, perhaps? I think if someone had a large platform, and wanted to write a book, they'd be doing it, pursuing their dream to see a book in print.

  64. Lynnda Ell says:

    >Thanks for the push, Rachelle. I started my blog last week. It is passionateforthegloryofgod.blogspot.com.

    I also have a question.

    Recently I watched a recording of a panel held at a conference for publishers earlier this year. Two of the authors had been blogging for years. They agreed on two ideas that caught my attention. The first comment they made was that the blogging world is very crowded, now. The second comment was that they recognized two types of blogs, destination blogs and content blogs and that there is always room for more content blogs.

    Now I am guessing that your blog, Rachelle, would certainly be classified as a content blog, but what would be described as a destination blog?

    Be blessed!

    Lynnda

  65. Kristen Torres-Toro says:

    >I honestly don't understand twitter. The main reason I don't have it is because I have the cheapest phone plan possible (ergo, no texting or internet capabilities). I'll just be accessing it from my computer like I do facebook, and the voice in my head that constantly hollers about simplifying my life and consolidating everything raises the volume whenever I spend more than a few seconds contemplating the word "tweet".

    But is my dream worth it? Most definitely. It looks like twitter is going on my active list of social frontiers to join!

    Thank you so much for this post, Rachelle. As a novelist, I'm thankful that this isn't as important as it is for nonfiction. But after reading so much on the importance of platform for fiction this past spring, I decided to take six months to a year and build a strong base before venturing any farther. The wait is practically excruciating, but at least it's busy–and I know it will be worth it!

    Now I just need to use Facebook more strategically, to keep building my platform, and oh yes, to finally get that elusive book contract…

  66. Kristen Torres-Toro says:

    >I honestly don't understand twitter. The main reason I don't have it is because I have the cheapest phone plan possible (ergo, no texting or internet capabilities). I'll just be accessing it from my computer like I do facebook, and the voice in my head that constantly hollers about simplifying my life and consolidating everything raises the volume whenever I spend more than a few seconds contemplating the word "tweet".

    But is my dream worth it? Most definitely. It looks like twitter is going on my active list of social frontiers to join!

    Thank you so much for this post, Rachelle. As a novelist, I'm thankful that this isn't as important as it is for nonfiction. But after reading so much on the importance of platform for fiction this past spring, I decided to take six months to a year and build a strong base before venturing any farther. The wait is practically excruciating, but at least it's busy–and I know it will be worth it!

    Now I just need to use Facebook more strategically, to keep building my platform, and oh yes, to finally get that elusive book contract…

  67. Patricia Raybon says:

    >Agree with all. Also, can't put my finger on it, but the social networking stuff seems to increase my overall writing output. Since I started on Facebook, I'm getting more writing done, in general. Something energizing about it!

  68. Kim Kasch says:

    >The one thing I have to watch out for: those social networks can be addictive.

    I used to think Twitter was an ADHD blog. But now I like it 'cause it's quick and EZ and you can get loads of info in no time.

  69. David A. Todd says:

    >Yes, I dread the author platform. It's one of those hurdles that seem to come every year and tell me I discovered my desire to write about a decade too late. But I'm working on it by giving up writing books and turning to freelancing for a while.

    I have hesitated to join Facebook because I have so little time in the day to write creatively. All social media are blocked at work, so I have only whatever time I can carve out from 6:00 PM to 11:00 PM, typically an hour any given evening, to do such things related to writing. Brain power remaining by that time is a factor.

    However, based on your recommendation Rachelle, I'll join Facebook and give it a try. I'll do so with my usual pesimism but will hope for the best. At least I can blog at work during breaks and the noon hour.

    DAT

  70. Sharon A. Lavy says:

    >Thank you Rachelle. Sometimes writers begin to think we are wasting out time on the social nets and blogging when we should be working on the great american novel.

    We need to be reminded that we need both.

  71. Chatty Kelly says:

    >Great photo.

    I have Twtiter & blog covered. I've been holding tightly to my facebook as a personal social network…but I guess it's time to remove the family photos and friend 100's of people in the writing industry. *sigh*

  72. Pam Halter says:

    >I joined Facebook last summer and have connected with lots of writers, editors and agents. It's fun, but I have to watch how much time I spend there. πŸ™‚

    Three weeks ago, I began a blog about Christians who write fantasy on the advice of my writer's group. If feels funny because I don't have a book contract yet, but I'm realizing the importance of building a network BEFORE this happens. I don't have a lot of readers yet, but I know I have to stick with it.

  73. Jen on the Edge says:

    >Well, okay then. I definitely have the blog (actually, blogS), Twitter, and Facebook covered. Thank you for the advice.

  74. Timothy Fish says:

    >Here’s a thought that won’t be popular among your readers, but in the interest of providing book readers with the best product and increasing sales in the publishing industry, instead of trying to convince writers to build a platform, would not make more sense to convince those with a platform to write books?

  75. Krista Phillips says:

    >I'm a novelist taking notes.*grin* I do understand the importance of a platform. It all makes complete sense, but what I struggle with as a novelist is how to do so without a book to sell. I'm with Jody, I really desire to have the personal connection with readers. Right now, I blog and try to make it half about my writing journey and the other half about life, all from a hopefully humorous perspective. I write romantic comedy, so it feels like a good blog fit for me. I want to invite not only other authors, but readers as well.

  76. Jody Hedlund says:

    >Love the picture! Jeanette is such an encourager!

    Whenever I read posts like this, I'm motivated to try even harder to build a platform! Even though I write fiction, I want to have a personal presence with readers. I've met a few authors who are very personal with a great web presence, and they're an excellent example for how we can genuinely connect with others via the internet.

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