I interviewed Maria Ribas of Stonesong and we got very nerdy (and practical!) about what writers and bloggers really need to know about platform. You can find helpful (and some delicious!) posts from Maria at Cooks & Books. She has great posts for authors (and readers) as well as recipes. She and I share a mutual love for talking about building a writer platform and utilizing the online tools we have to connect with readers.
Some of my favorite posts from Cooks & Books:
How to Connect with Your Audience (with free workbook)
Healthy Pantry Pasta Salad (Aren't her pictures GORGEOUS?)
Publishers are really looking for some quantification that the writer will be able to move a lot of books down the road. If you don't already have an email list, start that right away. You want to be able to directly contact your people to tell them about the book.
Authors often feel like marketing and platform building are icky self-promotion. Reframe the discussion and start making those connections NOW, before you also have a book to promote. Think of platform as a way to share and to help people. It's how you can offer people something they want or need.
The best piece of advice she would give is to get out there and talk to people and overcome the hesitancy to make connections and share your work with others. You want to start this as soon as possible, not when you are about to have a book come out. Work through the fears of "marketing" and reaching out to other people about your book. It takes time to get comfortable with this idea of getting out in front of people.
You don't need to have an audience in order to get a fiction book deal, but you need to be building your platform if you want long-term success. Plenty of people get a fiction book deal with no social media accounts, while on the non-fiction side, it's very competitive in that area and you need to have a strong platform there. It doesn't have to only be online, but that is a crucial place. A lot of authors also do speaking engagements or teach classes and have an in-person connection.
If you aren't in my Create If Writing community, join us to share inspiration, ask questions, and talk to other writers and bloggers about building an authentic platform!
After listening to the interview (and thinking about my interview with Joanna Penn on Indie Publishing), are you more interested in traditional or indie publishing? Leave a comment below! I'd love to hear YOUR perspective!