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Saturday, February 02, 2013

One Plank At A Time

I often wonder if this whole platform hulabaloo is all it’s cracked up to be. It takes a fair amount of time and effort, and while for the most part it’s fun, doggone if sometimes it doesn’t turn into drudgery. Tweet this. Update the ol’ Facebook status. Here a pin, there a pin. See if you can manage a link to so-and-so.

Is building a platform really worth the trouble? I came across a statistic that said you must get your name in front of a prospective reader at least 7 times before they’ll be familiar enough with you to buy your book. Is that a bunch of malarkey or what?

Nope. It’s true. Every last bit of it. Getting your name out there will attract attention you can’t even begin to imagine.

Case in point: within the past few weeks, I’ve had an editor from a major publishing house contact me because they’d stumbled across my blog and liked my style. Several days later, a New York publicist dropped me an email because she’d seen my reviews and wondered if I’d consider writing a few for their authors.

Whoda thunk?

All this to say that building a platform does take time, but if you stick with it long enough, it will pay off. Where to start building? Great question. Here are some basic places to begin…

Linked In

Book Clubs
Librarians (get to know them)
Book store managers (increasingly harder to find but valuable)
Hobby Groups (example: The Jane Austen Society would be a great place for a historical writer to hang out)
Community Ed Classes, as in teaching one

Don’t panic. I’m not saying you need to rush out and get involved in all these venues. If you did, you’d never have time to write, and then what’s the point of a platform?

Pick one or two and then dive in. Don’t worry about popularity at this stage of the game. Just be consistent. And don’t wait until you’ve got a new release, a contract in hand, or even finished your manuscript. It’s never too soon to start. Authentic platforms take time.

Unless, of course, you’re buddy-buddy with Oprah.

Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas…professionally, however, for the past 10 years. Her latest release, UNDERCURRENT, is available by Risen Books. You can find her at: Writer Off the or on TwitterFacebook, or 


  1. The good news is that it's much easier to do now than ever before. I've got my iPad, iPhone, Droid (work phone, everyone should have 2 smart phones), laptop, and desktop. My Google Reader is on all devices, I can access facebook, twitter, and Google+ from any of them, any time, anywhere. I can even set it up so that I post in one place and it's automatically posted in three others. Use the technology. It will save your sanity!

  2. It's so funny--I can recognize your "voice" on these Novel Rocket posts before I read down and verify that it's YOU writing, Michelle! How fun with the editor stumbling across your blog--nice to know they do troll around some. Yes, I do hope that most peeps in the CBA will recognize my name at some point or another, with my incessant poking around and commenting on blogs and tweeting writer posts, etc. But the best part is making those PERSONAL connections with writer and reader friends through our "sprawling" platformks. Peeps like you, Michelle!

    1. And yeah, platformKs. Watch out for those.

    2. Yeah, those platformks are a killer. It's okay, you're among friends. We politely turn a blind eye to each other's typos. Except I guess I didn't, but only because you pointed it out first.

  3. Oh honey, don't even go there. Platformks is a big enough topic for a whole other post!

    And you, Heather, are getting your name out there. I've seen it pop up in my own trawling around.


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