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