The 7 Week Itch: Creating Your Platform

ImageI feel like this is a fairly predictable and therefore unimaginative subject, butI have something to admit, that probably isn’t that surprising. I’m not just blogging because I like books, and I like writing, and I like Alee, and I like etc. The blog was actually born, in my mind, out of more mundane, perhaps crafty, purposes. A mixture of wanting to learn wordpress for work and feeling the need to create a “platform” so that I can brand myself and some day be a super successful writer and not have to worry about amassing skills to put on the fifth line of my resume. I put “platform” in quotation because what did this mean to me besides a piece of jargon that gets thrown around blogs like this one. Did I expect to stand on the blog for success, not depend on my ideas, hard work, and writing skills? Do I still?

It was this desire, along with the fact that I like books, and I like writing , and I like Alee, that precipitated my initial conversations with Alee that lead to this blog. We had a period of planning. Then we started. And it has been more fun, and easier to fit into my schedule, then I could have imagined.

But 7 weeks in the doubts began to whisper in my ear: Am I creating my platform? Am I writing with a purpose or using this a diary? The answer in this post is unfortunately clear to me. It was these doubts, just whispers not declarative statements, that attracted me to Jane Friedman‘s webinar from Writer’s Digest Tutorials on building an author platform through blogging. Some things she said made me feel better. A lot of things made me feel worse. Mostly, I decided to see where this takes me and try and figure it out once we’ve put more time into. I thought I’d share some, not all because everyone should watch it themselves, of the things that she said that stand out in my memory.

  • It’s important to find a clear focus or a niche and not stray from it. Set yourself up as an expert.
  • It generally takes 6 to 12 months to figure out what that focus should be. (Whew!)
  • Don’t blog about your writing process or publishing. Instead review books, interview authors, write about subject matter that relates to your book. Provide your audience with curated content, links, books, ideas that it would have taken them longer to find on their own.
  • Make all posts about the benefit to the reader. Include numbers. Write how-to’s. Don’t use your blog as a diary. (oops!) Include regular series.
  • Agents want at least 10,000 unique monthly viewers before they look at your blog as a significant asset.
  • You must be entertaining or informative. Both is even better.

So many more things were covered in the webinar, which you can purchase here. I know it’s $$$ so another great resource is this article on their website today. As for my doubts, I think I will take Jane’s advice and wait to see how this project evolves over the year before worrying about brands and platforms and etc.