Building a Writing Platform

Celebrities, political figures, athletes, and movie stars all have a built-in platform.  What is a platform?  It is a method or tool to promote yourself, your business, your brand, your book, etc.  These people are fortunate in that they do not need to spend much effort to gain an audience.  They already have an audience.   For the rest of us trying to sell a product or, for us writers, trying to sell our books, we do not have that built-in platform.  Unless we are authors with name recognition whose names alone can sell books such as Stephen King, John Grisham, Stephenie Meyer, we must put forth effort to get our works out there to potential readers and build a following. 

For writers, the people in the know in the writing and publishing industry suggest you need to have a writing platform in order to get published, especially if you are a first-time author or thinking of having your book published.  Don’t get discouraged though.  The unpublished author doesn’t have to have a book already published to build a writing platform. You could begin building your writing platform before your book is published by posting your short stories on your website or blog to gain feedback from your readers, or you could submit articles and book reviews to magazines, to online websites, or to local or national newspapers and be sure to include your bio and a link to your website or blog so that readers can read more of your work.  There are several more ways to build a writing platform if you are an unpublished writer.  Consider these options.

  • Create a blog or website on your writing.  Post information of interest to your visitors who may become your readers and potential buyers of your book once it is published.
  • Write articles for popular blogs on the Internet.  Agree to host a guest blog on a popular blog site.  If you write something of interest, readers will click over to your blog site from you bio link.  
  • Build your writing platform around your writing specialty.  Write about what you know and love to draw readers in and keep them coming back to your blog or website.
  • Give book readings or talks that relate to your writing specialty to groups in your community.
  • Offer to teach writing classes or host a writing workshop in your community.  Offer these opportunities online to reach a wider audience.
  • Share your knowledge in online forums, blogs, websites, newspapers, and magazines as a way to build your writing platform.
  • Offer a short story or an article for free to newspapers and magazines in return for publicity.
  • Offer to give a presentation to organizations that relate to your specialty in return for their purchasing a certain number of your books. 

These methods can help you gain a following, and that is what you need to build a writing platform.  The writing platform will help generate interest in your writing, and once your book is published, it will help drive book sales.  Publishers will be more inclined to consider your book proposals if they know you have a following of readers who will buy your book once it is published.  You may be able to reach a national or even an international audience for sales for your book.   So for the unpublished writer, there is no time like the present to get to work on your writing platform.

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About Katrina Parker Williams

Katrina Parker Williams teaches English composition and grammar at a community college. She is a Barton College graduate with a B.S. in Communications and a Masters of Education in English from East Carolina University. She is also the author of a fictional novel titled Liquor House Music. Her works have appeared in Charlotte Viewpoint, Muscadine Lines, Usadeepsouth, and on the Wilson Community College website. Her writings have recently been published at The Saints’ Placenta and All Things Girl and is forthcoming in Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Muscadine Lines.
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