In another article (Writer’s Platform? Where to find yours), I offered this equation to sum up the components that go into a writer’s platform: Writer’s Platform = W (writing) + V (visibility) + N (personal & professional networks)
I mentioned, too, that I was in the rudimentary stages of developing my N component. With so many N possibilities out there – Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Goodreads etc.- it can be a confusing and taxing process. Which N is most important? Where should you devote time and energy? How do you integrate different components?
Fortunately, help is available. Here are three resources that I’ve used and would recommend to anyone who is striving to develop a cohesive writer’s platform with a strong N presence:
The February 2015 issue of Writer’s Digest has a number of articles devoted to the topic of social networking. Among the most helpful: Get in Good With Goodreads by Michael J. Sullivan (how to tap into the world’s largest online reader hub to grow your audience) and Your Author Website 101 by Jane Friedman (everything from buying a domain name to building an effective website). Another very useful article – Success Stories in Self-Promotion by Jessica Strawser and Tiffany Luckey – profiles 7 authors who ran successful promotional campaigns that pushed their self-published books onto bestseller lists. Methods vary proving that one-size does not fit all when it comes to networking, but clever ideas abound in this article and, best of all, they’re free for the taking.
Blogging for Writers: How Authors & Writers Build Successful Blogs by Robin Houghton (Ilex, 2014 is a colorful, well designed, and easily navigated book. Framed around the premise that blogging is a powerful marketing tool and a worthy addition to any writer’s platform, Houghton lays out the key elements for building a credible blogsite that will attract readers. Fortunately for technically challenged individuals like myself, Houghton strips away the jargon and shows step-by-step how to set up and use the free features of WordPress and Blogger as well as their paid-for options. Lots of vibrant, successful blogsites are given as examples.
Melding the components of a writer’s platform together is made easier with Carole Jelen and Michael McCallister’s Build Your Author Platform: A Literary Agent’s Guide to Growing Your Audience in 14 Steps (BenBella Books, 2014). Although each chapter focuses on separate aspects – using Facebook, harnessing Twitter, fostering connections through LinkedIn, strengthening your exposure through blogs and so on – Jelen & McCallister tie the individual pieces together, giving readers a cohesive picture of how the parts support one another. For newbies like me, simple step-by-step instructions, lots of examples, and flurries of screenshots make what could be overwhelming, palatable and practical instead.