Tuesday, January 18, 2011

5 things About Building A Blog Platform

You see the word "Platform" everywhere in the writing community. It's everywhere you turn. And let's face it, you're curious about it or else you wouldn't be reading this right now. Here are five things I've learned about building a platform since I started the journey to become published.



1. There are mixed thoughts about the absolute need for a platform by an unknown writer. Many agents only look at the platform (in most cases a blog) when they are genuinely interested in the story that was submitted to them. So, first things first. Perfect the writing and story before spending oodles of time building a blog, because the writing will speak for itself regardless if you have a blog or not.



2. It's really hard to gain followers on your blog if you are only talking about yourself and your unpublished work. So until you are a published author (or even an agented writer) hold off on filling your blog with JUST your own work. Do some book reviews in the genre you read. This will allow you to get to know others, and gain blog followers with common goals and tastes as yourself, thus creating that "built-in" audience publishers like to see when thinking about buying your book.





3. It won't hurt to tie in a well written blog at the bottom of your queries to agents, as long as your blog focuses on writing. I once heard an agent say (yes this was from a conference) she checks out all blogs on the queries she's even remotely interested in. She also went on state that if the writing is dark, or high fantasy, she gets turned off if the blog has a ton of kitties or babies on it. So the lesson there is to match your blog with your writing style. I'm not saying turn your blog into a goth dream or anything, but maybe just limit the cutesy pictures if it doesn't match your writing style.



4. Should you pay someone to overhaul your blog and buy a domain name? No. At least, I don't think it's necessary. But if you want to do it just for the fun of it, then I say go for it, because having a blog that you can be proud of is pretty fun. I just made the leap myself to a professional blog makeover (second one on the link). I was hovering around 430 followers so I thought why not. I'm on there a ton doing posts and just wanted something pretty to look at. Lame, I know. But my old blog design didn't stop publishers from sending me advanced reader copies (ARCs), so don't feel like it's a necessary step.


5. Be yourself. I know this is something you've heard since you were a baby still in diapers, but it's true. People will like you. Let your personality come through, whether it be in your novel, blog post, or a simple comment. 






11 comments:

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I've always wondered about the importance of blogs and platform pre-agent. So, wonderful post.

Tracey Neithercott said...

Great post. I just launched a blog and I think the most I get out of it so far is just becoming part of the YA community.

Annie McElfresh said...

Thanks for checking it out guys! Glad you found it helpful! :D

Megan said...

I think it's sometimes easy for unpublished authors (myself included) to fall into the trap of taking their writing frustrations out on their blog. Blog entries are so much easier to write than an entire novel. I completely agree that writers need to make their writing good first before spending all of their time writing a blog. After all, what good is a platform if you have nothing to sell?

Jessica Peter said...

I had been struggling with the "platform" idea and where my blog was going, until I just decided I would post on the things I like (my blog theme is creativity), but make it interesting to others too.

Because I've gotten rid of the drive to do things FOR others, I'm enjoying posting more, I'm posting more regularly, AND because it is interesting and more regular, my number of followers is slowly but steadily increasing.

Annie McElfresh said...

Megan- exactly! :D

Jessica- sounds like your blog is on its way! :D Congrats!

shariwrites said...

Totally agree with this. If you do it right, blogs can be a big help. It not....

Just joined OPWFT and thought I'd check out some blogs.

Annie McElfresh said...

Hey Shari! Welcome!! :D Thanks for checking us out!

Demitria said...

Great tips...I do wish I started my blog earlier.

New follower...

demitrialunetta.blogspot.com

DebraD. said...

Great post and advice, Annie! And I sooo agree---your blog really needs to reflect YOU as a writer/person to really have an impact on readers.

Also,um, posts.

*cuddles poor, neglected blog*

Krista Ashe said...

Great post, Annie! And your new blog looks awesome!!