Note: This article can apply to ANYONE just starting a business, not just writers, who would like to understand more about platform building. Just replace writer / author with your profession.
Platform building is not something we writers want to hear about AGAIN. Honestly, we all really just want to write books, publish them, and then crack open bottles of wine to celebrate. Next, we wait. And wait. And wait. What are we waiting for? We’re waiting for the readers to come of course, isn’t everyone? No. Some people have readers before they even come out with a book flocking to their Amazon pages or Author websites to buy. Some people do not have to build a fan base after they’ve published a book, tweet until their fingers ache, or spam their family and friends on Facebook. Some people seem to just have thousands of readers already lined up at the gate. The question is: How?
Social Media is about building relationships and since most people won’t take the time to invest in someone they don’t know or that they’ve never heard of, this is where a platform comes in.
I haven’t been blogging long but I know there is much conversation on this topic. As I continue my own journey with strengthening my own platform, what I hope to share is not something that merely regurgitates what you’ve already heard. In fact, I don’t have a gazillion blog followers or social media pals and perhaps that’s what makes what I am about to tell you so simple. Sometimes having less helps you to see things in a more simplistic light. In short, we don’t have to over-intellectualize the writing, publishing, and blogging process.
Networking or bonding as I like to call it, with other bloggers has empowered my writing experience a great deal. By empowering I do not mean that my vision has changed, that I’ve compromised my integrity, or that my writing is different. By empowering I just mean the increase in the people I’ve reached or been able to influence with my words and the people who have influenced me by providing the tools I needed that I didn’t even know existed when I first started writing. I’ve met people all around the world and gained valuable insight into writing and the Independent Publishing Industry without even leaving my house.
That said, I understand blogging to be one form of platform building I believe all aspiring authors should embrace before writing their book. It is not, however, the only thing that we can do.
A lot of people think of a platform as just one or two things but it’s really all-encompassing and if you think about it in these simple terms it’ll be easier to understand and what is understood can be processed and put into action. Platform building is everything that you do. It’s speaking, social networking, blogging, writing articles for publication, radio shows, podcasting, and videos. It is anything and everything you can do to increase your visibility and your reach and that is all platform building is about:
Visibility + Reach = Platform
How visible are you and how far is your reach? By reach, I mean the length of your influence. How far does what you do travel, how hard are you willing to work to get the word out to those beyond your immediate community, or how dedicated can you be toward stepping outside of your comfort zones?
When you tweet something for example and people retweet you to their followers, you’ve just extended your reach. When you attend a live event and someone takes a picture of you with your books and post it to their Facebook Page, you’ve just extended your reach. I once walked into a UPS Store and sparked up a conversation with a woman there. I gave her my business card and she followed me on Facebook. I’ve just extended my reach, making myself visible to another person who will go on to repost my content to her friends and followers, making me visible to other people. Next thing you know, you have new friend requests and people interested in you. You’ve just become more visible and you’ve just extended your reach.
When you blog and people share your content, follow you online, and meet up with you at an event is all the same thing. Platform building is everything that you do that introduces you to people beyond your immediate circle. That’s your reach and that, in its simplest form, is platform building.
It’s not one or two things, it’s everything, born from a combination of Visibility + Reach. It is encompassing of everything that you do. As a result of a strong platform, you increase your influence, authority, and credibility as an author or blogger. As a result of this credibility, when you come out with a book, people will buy it. Why? Because social media is about building relationships and you have done that. You are no longer the stranger bringing a book into the world. People know who you are now and will support your work because they are familiar with your style, persona, beliefs, and passion.
Extract from an Amazon review of Stella: Beyond the Coloured Line :-
Yecheilyah Ysrayl discusses a sometimes uncomfortable conversation and reality. The character Stella carries both the burden and freedoms of racial diversities making her story a reality check for some and a hard truth for others. These intriguing stories will most definitely play out like they are on a big screen in your mind, allowing you to want more to relate to Stella as a friend, sister and or Mother, and for some she already is. Eloquently written these books allow you to experience a time where you could have had to live beyond the colored line. May the story of Stella’s hardships and successes continue. These are truly wonderfully written and captivating stories. Great read for those of all ages.
About the author:
A native of Chicago IL, Ysrayl is a Historical Fiction Author, Blogger, and Poet. Founder of Literary Korner Publishing, LK Pub. Writer’s Workshop and The PBS Blog, Yecheilyah’s most recent and notable work is The Stella Trilogy. As an artist, EC seeks to create work that promotes healthy research into the true cultural identity, laws, customs and traditions of the African American for self-revolution and advancement. In addition, to release all people from the limited ways in which we tend to think and to feel. Ysrayl and her husband now reside in the Shreveport, LA area where she is putting the finishing touches on her novel in progress. Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book 1) is due for release in 2017.
Writers Workshop 2017