Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.
QUESTION: Part 1: Are you building your author platform? Part 2: IF you are, how are you doing it?
Lisa J. Jackson: I’ve been building my author platform for a while now. I use the pseudonym Lisa Haselton for all my fiction. I started on MySpace with an author page, but that has since gone by way of the dinosaur. Right now I have a Facebook author page and a blog that get my name out there. Also, I use my pseudonym in my role as chat moderator at The Writer’s Chatroom to also build name recognition. I currently have short stories published; no novels yet, but it’s never too early to start building the platform!
Deborah Lee Luskin: My author platform is secondary to my first love, which is writing. I publish about five essays a month: two are broadcast on Vermont Public Radio, two appear on this blog, and one appears in our local, independent, newspaper. These are a great way to reach and build an audience between novels, which I complete with much lesser frequency! I’m also on Facebook, with a page for myself and for my published novel, Into the Wilderness, and I have a wonderful webpage, which averages 50+ hits/day – which adds up to more people than I know. I have plans to update the website, to consolidate my Facebook pages, to learn how to tweet – and when it becomes imperative, I will. For now, it’s more important I just keep writing.
Julie Hennrikus: I have a Facebook page, and I use Twitter. A lot. I also have a blog (which I am terrible about keeping up with, but I try). And, of course, I am here. This year I am the President of Sisters in Crime New England, and I just joined Mystery Writers of America. All of these add to my platform, as does the rest of my life. I use social media for my StageSource life, and for Sisters in Crime, so it is all part of the practice. My social media mix is that you should tweet, share/like 80% for and about other people. 20% for yourself. So a lot of building a platform is being part of a community, and paying it forward for the day when I am (please please please) releasing a novel.
Wendy Thomas: It’s so important to build your platform. It’s one of the first things any agent is going to ask you about when you submit a manuscript. Basically your platform should answer the question of why you are qualified to write what you write. It also answers the secondary question of “how many people could potentially buy your work?”
To be qualified in writing means that you have to get your name out there in your field and it has to be out there often. To accomplish this I’m on Twitter, Facebook, and write for several blogs. I write for newspapers, magazines, have been featured on TV and on radio. I teach classes and give presentations. I try to comment on others blogs in the same genre as mine (quite honestly, that’s my weakest link simply due to time constraints.) I also send out press releases to local publications when I have something that is newsworthy.
At one point I was spending about 2 hours a day just on building my platform, I don’t have to allocate that much time anymore, but that’s only because I spent the time building up a solid foundation. Like it or not, part of writing is selling your expertise to the world and the only way to do that is to market your work.
Jamie Wallace: I have not yet begun to build a platform as a fiction author, but I have put a lot of time and effort into building my platform as a marketing writer. Like Wendy, I write regularly for multiple blogs (mine as well as collaborative sites) and have guest posted on others. I have been interviewed on podcasts, presented and co-presented webinars, given in-person trainings and talks, and spoken on industry panels. I am also very engaged in social media, primarily Twitter. (Facebook, for me, is all about being social (not about business), and although it’s making some strides, LinkedIn is still a bit too stodgy for me.) In the world of my “day job,” I can trace almost all of my current work back to social media interactions. For instance, I met a woman several years ago while taking an online course about white paper writing. A year or so later, she referred me to an agency who then hired me for a project and has since hired me for about a dozen more. In another case, a friend who I originally met in that same online class gave me the heads up on an alert from a writing mentor who was going to be in town and was inviting people to join him for brunch. Both my friend and I showed up (and had a wonderful time). During the event, I connected with the woman sitting to my right. She and I have become great friends and she constantly refers work to me.
If you’d like to read more about my thoughts on this topic, you can check out my four-part series on building the writer’s platform. You may also like Building Your Social Network from Scratch. Good luck!