Platforming vs. Writing

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    F.C. Tait

    I’m struggling with platforming.

    I quite like blogging, but hardly anyone reads my blog and I haven’t even got up to 20 subscribers over the year and a bit I’ve spent blogging. I don’t like social media (though I’ve been forcing myself to use Twitter). I can’t set up an email list because things like MailChimp always require an address and I won’t give them my home address and don’t have an alternative I can use instead.

    But I really like writing and want to be published someday.

    I’ve heard people say that having a good platform is just as important as having a good manuscript (so I’m doomed haha). But then recently a newly published author said she didn’t tell her publishers about her platform until after she had her book contract and was judged on writing alone.

    So, how important is platforming compared with writing? Could I just focus on polishing my writing rather then spending time on platforming, or is that a bad idea?

    R.M. Archer


    My suggestion for the blog would be to make pinnable images for all your blog posts (tedious, I know) and make yourself a Pinterest board for your blog (if you don’t have Pinterest yet, get one. It’s really helpful for writing as well as blogging). That one change in tack skyrocketed my blog traffic. It’s really, really tedious at first because you have to catch up all the blog posts you weren’t making images for (I started back in February and I still don’t have all of my images done because I’ve been procrastinating…), but it’s very worth it in the end. (Unfortunately all I can promise is traffic, not subscribers. XP) I’d suggest Pexels for stock images and I personally use Photoscape for editing, but I’ve heard Canva is good for editing and it has a template for Pinterest images, so that might be a good option particularly as you’re starting out. You can see what my pins look like here, and honestly the way I came up with the design was just to look at the pins that were working from the more famous bloggers I regularly pin and mimic patterns in what they did. (I think I looked at my writing tips board.)

    As for Mailchimp, I think I’ve just deleted the address code in the footer of my emails and it hasn’t fussed at me yet, so you might just try that.

    None of which actually answers the question of how important platforming is because I honestly don’t know. XP As a self-published author it definitely helps to have a good-sized platform (which I do not) because NONE of the marketing is done for me (aside from my mom sharing my Facebook posts when I’ve published a book, lol), but I don’t know how important it is or isn’t for a traditionally published author. So hopefully someone else has more insight on that. I hope the information I was able to provide is helpful. πŸ™‚

    I’m also going to add my own question here: What do people generally share/post on their writing social media? I have a Facebook page and Twitter, but I never know what to post on them or how often I should post so they generally just sit there “gathering dust,” so to speak. :/

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    Daeus Lamb

    @fctait First of all, let me just encourage you that God will provide for what he has planned for you. Either he will show you a way to build a large platform, or let you succeed without a platform, or fill you with joy and contentment while being a very small author.

    It is true that some traditional publishers will accept new authors who have no platform, but I am not sure how common or uncommon these are. You will need to have a good book pitch for sure and a great book. Even still, having a platform can only make things better.

    I encourage you to build a platform if you’re at all able. I personally believe the small security risk of putting your address out there is well worth it, but if you wish to avoid that security breach, I believe you can purchase a mail redirect address which (I believe) you can legally use in place of your real address.

    If you would like to build a platform blogging, I recommend you study it intensely. Marketing isΒ soΒ so easy to fail at. To get people to visit your blog will require lots of experimentation, trial and error, reading, studying, and maybe even some financial investment in top-notch training. Blogging is basically starting up your own business, so it isn’t a light matter.

    πŸ‘– 🐒🐒🐒🐒🐒

    F.C. Tait

    @r-m-archer I’ve already tried making a Pinterest board, and it doesn’t seem to have made much difference. I know it’s possible to not put an address on MailChimp emails or else make one up, but someone told me that’s illegal so I don’t really want to risk it, if that makes sense?

    I know platform building is more important for self-publishing (which is one of the reasons I’m leaning towards traditional publishing πŸ˜› ), but I’ve heard a lot of contradicting advice when it comes to platforming for traditional publishing. That’s why I’m confused :/

    As for social media accounts, most the ones I follow post small writing snippets and things about their projects or their writing lives. There are also things like hashtag games and challenges on Twitter where you answer certain questions or post a line for a particular theme and stuff like that. That’s my experience, anyway πŸ˜‰

    R.M. Archer

    @fctait Hmm. :/ (I didn’t know the address thing was illegal. O-o Oops.)

    Yeah, I’m afraid I’m not familiar with traditional publishing so I won’t be any help in that area. πŸ˜› Sorry.

    *nods* On Twitter I’ve been posting my progress on the Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 challenge each evening (although I’ve missed a few. :P), but I’m not sure what to post after that ends. And on Facebook I’m even more lost, lol. Most of the people following my Facebook page are readers, not writers, which makes things a bit trickier. I might start brainstorming again and see if I can come up with a working schedule for that kind of thing.

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    F.C. Tait

    @daeus-lamb Thanks for answering.

    The main reason I don’t want to use my real address is because of my parents, who tend to be slightly paranoid about things like that. It would take a lot of convincing for them to let me use their address, and since I move around so much theirs is my only stable address, if that makes sense.

    I don’t know if it would be worth buying a mail redirect address. I don’t want to make any financial investment just because I’ve put in so much work already with very little result, so I can’t help thinking it won’t be worth it.


    @fctait You should check out this article:Β https://thewritepractice.com/fiction-platform/

    a newly published author said she didn’t tell her publishers about her platform until after she had her book contract and was judged on writing alone.

    I don’t think this writer had it right. The platform is not the author’s blog; the platform is the author’s writing itself and the trust he/she gets from their audience. It’s not something you can “tell” people about, really. It’s just something you do or don’t have. Writing alone, however, IS bad. Connections in one form or another, like agents, successful authors, other aspiring authors, heck, this website, are necessary. In one form or another.

    So, how important is platforming compared with writing? Could I just focus on polishing my writing rather then spending time on platforming, or is that a bad idea?

    Your platform IS your writing. If you are writing and showing that writing to people, you are platforming. You don’t have to spend time writing a blog post to build your platform; you don’t have to spend time putting together emails to build your platform, because if no one knows about you or reads/likes your stories, email lists and blogs are useless. Without people actually reading your writing, no one will read your blog, follow you on social, subscribe to your email list…Without READERS, first and foremost, youΒ have no platform.Β You could have every form of social media, three blogs, two different email lists and thirty novels sitting on your computer, but if no one reads your writing, it doesn’t matter. You will have no platform, because those things are not your platform.

    The BEST thing you could ever do to build a platform is to WRITE, WRITE, and KEEP WRITING. Submit to magazines, submit articles to blogs, start your own blog (of stories), do book signings with your already published books, give away books (VERY important), maybe talk at libraries or other events, heck, read your stories to little kids at church or a library…Any form of writing, and getting out there in into the public, is what builds your platforms. I don’t think many people will go to an author’s social media page if they don’t know the author exists. Building a platform is building more than a social media following; you have to build an audience, and trust from that audience, before they would ever follow you on social or something like that. Besides, if you have an audience that likes your stories and trusts you to tell a good one, you won’t really need social media anyway.

    And this is SOOO important, and the article above touches on it as well:Β Writing about writing is not the same as writing stories. I’m not sure if you were going for this or not, but it’s just a warning.Β If you want to build your platform with a blog, doing a K.M. Weiland-type blog is NOT the way to go. If you want readers, write your writing, because attracting readers is what will build a platform. The difference between the two is like people looking to buy houses (readers, the important part) and people looking to buy tools (the writers). You are trying to attract readers, so WRITE YOUR STORIES. And DON’T STOP.

    Also, if you do want a new email address, you can go to this link:Β https://outlook.live.com/mail/?authRedirect=true

    Just click “Create New Account” and you’ll be good to go.

    Warning: PLEASE write down your password somewhere…I learned that the hard way. Clicking “Forgot Password on a Microsoft account isn’t like clicking it here. I learned that the hard way…I lost two accounts forever XD

    You can basically go back and create as many accounts as you want, so have at it.

    No one reads these anyway

    K.M. Small

    @fctait there are a lot of good thoughts here already, but I’ll add a bit more here:

    1) having a successful blog is a lot about finding your target audience and giving people something: encouragement, advice, great stories, etc. People take time out of their lives to read blogs, and they’re hoping it’s going to give them something in return. So perhaps figuring out what you’re giving people with your blog posts (writing up a mission statement is great for this) will help you get your blog going.

    2) that being said, I think mailing lists are a lot more important than blog followers. Blog followers come and go, but mailing list subscribers are people you can contact directly with updates on your writing, and if you can tell a publisher you have 1000+ people on your mailing list, they’ll likely be impressed. So if you could find a way to get mailchimp, I think that would really help your platform. Could you perhaps put a PO Box in the address? I also know some people who just put “Location” in there too, but I’m not sure how that works πŸ˜›

    3) Regarding social media, people follow accounts for the same reason they follow a blog: they get something. Yes, a lot of people do follow out of generosity, but the ones that keep coming back do so because they’re getting something of value. So I think a lot about having successful social media accounts is knowing what to give people so they keep coming back. And hopefully that thing you’re giving them is something you’re passionate about, so it’s a win-win. It is hard to do, but I’ve seen it’s really worth it for a lot of people. Personally, I’ve been cutting back on my social media accounts because they can be a bit of a time-suck and I have more loyal followers on my mailing list. But it is great for interacting with and meeting other people.

    And lastly, like Daeus said, if it’s God’s will that your novels are published, He will give you an audience in due time πŸ™‚

    I hope that helps πŸ™‚

    usually writing updates, inspiration, or humor. Something that goes with their “brand” and makes them stand out. I haven’t quite figured it out beyond that πŸ˜›

    ~ Khylie
    "Beauty will save the world." - Dostoevsky

    F.C. Tait

    @samuel That’s a really interesting article, thanks for sharing!

    I think what the writer meant was that the publishers didn’t count the number of people she was reaching.

    What I don’t understand is how publishers can judge your platform if it is your writing. Unless they would count the number of magazines you’ve been published in etc., what standard would they use? I imagine they don’t really care if I’ve been reading my book to my parents or something.

    F.C. Tait

    @morreafirebird thanks for answering! I think I need to give my blog some more thought.

    F.C. Tait

    Hey guys! I just wanted to say thanks for the great advice. πŸ™‚

    Amazingly, I got to meet two publishers today at a writing workshop! I had no idea they were going to be there and wasn’t even sure if I was going, so it was completely unforeseen. I got to talk to them about platforming. Thanks to them and to all your advice, I’ve rethought my blogging and social media and have a new plan I feel really positive about.

    Thanks again πŸ™‚

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