Building a Writer’s Platform: Is it as Hard as it Seems?

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So I’ve been reading a lot about creating a writer’s platform lately. You know, so that when I eventually try to publish my book there will actually be people who care about me and want to read it… Or so they say. But the more I read the more find myself pulling away from the seemingly daunting task. Even if i had all the time in the world it seems like building a successful platform would be impossible, except for those crazy blog/youtube/Instagram sensations who are obviously just aliens masquerading as humans. But I’m not an alien, and I don’t have all the time in the world. In fact, I am currently at war with the clock. My to do list for any given day goes something like this: 

  • Wake up at 6am (except for the days my body just won’t wake up until 7 or 8).
  • Work on book until 10am.
  • Scramble to finish homework before class.
  • Class from 11am-3pm.
  • After class plan social media posts for Unbound, the University of Oregon Literary Arts Magazine I work for (which is actually really cool! We publish UO students art, fiction, and poetry. You can check it out here: Unbound).
  • Do homework.
  • Play with/feed my animals (2 cats, 1 dog, and 1 fish. I don’t really play with the fish but he knows some tricks. He can jump out of his bowl to grab a piece of food off my finger!).
  • Freak out that I’m graduating college in a month and still have no idea what I’m going to do for “real life”.
  • Plan posts for my personal social media outlets (blog, twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram).

Except by the time I’m done with everything else I’ve had to do during the day the whole platform building thing kind of goes out the window. Really?! You want me to write a blog post now? And I have to connect with people on LinkIn and Twitter and other blogs? Can’t I just watch a movie and go to bed?

No. Not if you want to build an awesome platform and make lasting connections. Which I do. I’m an all or nothing person, which makes it great when I want to wake up early every morning to work on my book and there are tangible successes and a goal in sight. But when my all or nothing attitude gets directed at something like a diet, or platform building, it goes great for a week or two, and then it fizzles out. Maybe because I’m not seeing direct enough results, or there isn’t a clear goal in sight. Or because I’ve given up something else in my life to support the current object of my all or nothing affection. (Right now I’ve given up exercise time to work on my book. At least I walk to class and all around campus all day, right? Right??) So with the whole platform building thing I decided to rein myself in. If I set little goals for myself  I think it will be easier for me to slowly and steadily make posting to the blog, connecting with people on other blogs, twitter, LinkedIn ect. a habit. So without further adieu, here are my initial weekly goals (which I think are totally reasonable for anyone trying to build a platform):

  1. Write at least one blog post a week.
  2. Find at least one blog I like and post a comment in the comments section. It has to be relevant, engaging, ect. (this is part of the making connections bit of platform building).
  3. Post something to twitter every other day. This can be an original post or an engaging retweet (apparently I think everything needs to be engaging…).
  4. Once a week spend time finding other writers, literary agents, book people (meaning people who love books, work with books, publish books, review books ect.) on twitter and follow them. This can include favoriting interesting material of theirs and tweeting at them.
  5. Every two weeks comment on a LinkIn group post or create a new and interesting topic. My current topic is on naming fictional places and you can look at all the great response I’ve gotten HERE.
  6. Post pictures to Instagram/Facebook of my daily life. Because I totally have one… 

And here are some of my big goals:

  1. Buy a website/domain name. (I’m not entirely sure how to go about doing this or what information would go on the website at this point so I’m hanging back on this one).
  2. Create an Author Facebook page.
  3. Finish my book, get an agent, and get published! (Or get rejected over and over again and start writing a new book, this is probably the more realistic outcome).
  4. Get a job? Make money somehow? We’ll see… It’s all still so far in the future. Just kidding, it’s in a month. Yay for college graduation!

So what do you guys think about platform building? Have I missed any key points? Do you have any tips on how to make it easier or more effective? Now I’m off to connect with people, happy platform building everyone! 

 

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