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.
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…
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 Leash, www.mmgriep.com or on Twitter, Facebook, or