By Ane Mulligan
Everyone hates the word platform. But stay with me here. If you’re a writer, you need one. These days, only the top 10% or less of writers have people who do all the marketing for them. Let’s face it, the rest of us have to market. And you have to have a sphere of influence to market to. So here are some things you can do.
1. Plan to spend an hour each day on building a platform.
Think of it as pre-published marketing. You may as well get used to it; once you do get a contract, you’ll be spending hours marketing. That’s in addition to writing the next book.
Editors look for online presence. Besides your website or blog, you want a large Internet footprint. Spend time commenting on blogs. Each time you leave a comment or publish a blog entry, you leave a Google stamp of your name.
2. Find something no one else is doing. When I first started writing, not much was online about how author’s got published. Interviews were in print magazines, and no one blogged about their writing journey. In 2005, Gina Holmes, founded Novel Rocket. She soon brought me (and Jessica Dotta) on board so we had fresh articles every day. The rest is history.
3. What can you do to make yours unique? Combine interviews with a favorite hobby or charity. Have you wanted to fund a home for retired cloggers? Perhaps you love Olympic curling. Find novels that have athletes in them and interview the author. Do you raise bees? Feature a video from The Sting. The point is to integrate your hobby, other job, and/or passion into your blog to draw another segment of the market. You’ll have a built-in fan base when your debut novel releases.
4. Set how often you’ll blog and keep to it. Best is every day, but if that won’t happen go for once a week or partner with a few other writers. Find authors in your genre and start a genre blog.
Author Michelle Griep does short blog posts Monday through Thursday. On Friday she does a vlog (video blog post). Her blog, Writer off the Leash, is informative and her wry humor shines through.
5. If you can join with other writers, it splits the workload. We split the work between three of us when we started Novel Journey. We posted new interviews each day. Then, we added teaching posts by authors we had previously interviewed but who had new novels to promote. Now, we have a regular crew of 29 and our own writing contest.
6. Network and trade links with other writers. Join a professional writers organization like ACFW or RWA. Offer to swap posts with other members, do guest posts, and even ask what they’d like to see on your blog. The more links to your blog, the higher your Google ranking.
7. Social Media. Choose two or three and be active. Concentrate on the ones your target audience uses. Do your research.
So get creative and get busy so when your book is completed, you’ll have your marketing platform in place.
Ane Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She’s a novelist, playwright, and humor columnist. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband, chef son, and two dogs of Biblical proportion. Her debut release is Chapel Springs Revival.