Monday, March 18, 2013

Writers Need a Platform


If writers only had to write, life would be simple (huge sigh). 

Marketing is an integral part of the life of writers.  You probably think I’m referring to promoting sales of a published book.  No!  The marketing starts long before that. 

It often takes more than a riveting, well-written novel to get the attention of agents and publishers.  First, writers have to prove an undying commitment and passion for writing.  Publishers are wary of retirees who have always dreamed of writing a novel.  More than likely that’s the only book they have in them. 

That was a huge learning curve for me after I’d finished my first novel.  I thought it would be a simple matter of sending a query letter and following up with the full manuscript.  Mind you, that does happen but not always.  The industry is looking for prolific writers with a proven record of accomplishment.

Writers need a platform.  Initially, I had no idea what that meant.  It was spelled out to me this way:  If an agent receives a query that looks promising, or receives two queries and must choose one, the first order of business is to Google the writers' names.  Whoever has the most online presence will get the call.  Hmmm, online presence. 

Picture me sitting at my desk with a completed manuscript at my elbow, a manuscript that my beta readers have given a boisterous thumbs up, only to realize that I have just begun.  Following the advice of established authors, I joined a writing group.  Best move ever!  Members of the writing group suggested, among other things, that I write and submit short stories.  Actually, they insisted.  And begin a second novel, they said.  The common element in all the advice I received was ‘Keep Writing!’

A newly published author (it took him ten years to see his book in print) insisted that I would never be published unless I maintained an active blog.  So, in addition to writing and submitting short stories, and starting a new novel, I began the seemingly arduous task of establishing a blog.  Forget ‘seemingly arduous’, I practically pulled my hair out and I’m still experiencing technical difficulties.  Ugh!  I’ll talk about blogging in the next post.

At this point, the average retired individual with only one book and no interest in writing another would have tired of this game and taken up golf.  Maybe that’s the point of all this.  Only the die-hards reach the finish line.

In addition to the blog, I established a Facebook page.  The last couple of blog posts covered the Facebook aspect of online presence or ‘platform’. 

There are terrific online writers’ groups and some that are genre specific.  I belong to a Crime Fiction group that I joined with enthusiasm before realizing that it was a springboard for self-promotion with very little meaningful discussion.

I’ve been following an informative writers’ blog for a couple of years http://writerunboxed.com/ and recently joined their writers’ community on Facebook.  Their rules about self-promotion enable writers to interact in an informative and productive manner.  A definite plus! 

If you are a writer, maybe some of the advice I received will help you on your journey to becoming established.  It’s not enough to spin a good story, you have to have a solid foundation.  Writers need a platform. 

4 comments:

  1. How true all this is Phyllis, I would never have ventured into social media if it hadn't been for my books, but it has been extremely worthwhile. Plus I have made so many friends. Met up with a couple in London the other day, which was delightful.

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    1. Pauline, I'd often heard that it's about the journey. Now, I understand what that means. Thanks so much for taking time from your whirlwind schedule to drop by The Write Break! I wish you continued success.

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  2. Hi Phyllis,
    Good blog on Writers Platform. I have had a blog for almost two years and I find it does help me develop a platform. It sold a few copies of my ebook, Web of Guilt, A Chicago Story.
    But the main thing my blog did was through all the replies to my blog stories, I acquired a substantial email list, which helps in marketing your books.
    You need to build a FANBASE!
    Keep up the good work.
    Your Friend,
    Writer Dave

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Dave. Writers need to do everything they can to create greater visibility and recognition.

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