Building an Author’s Platform

I participated in another killer writer’s group today, where we discussed the importance of building a platform for yourself as an author BEFORE you’re ready to publish. 

Why wait until you FINALLY finish that eighth revised draft of your darling, baby novel to establish who you are as a writer, who you want your audience to be, how you want to reach the world with your work? Like any worth project, this platform will happen in stages, not all at once. So start well before you begin attempting to “sell yourself” to any agent, publishing house, or niche of online ebook readers.

So, what are the steps? I am a total amateur, but here are a few of the ideas I gleaned from today’s meeting. Anyone have any other ideas? Resources? Promises you don’t intend to keep?

1.  Start a blog for your professional Writing Persona: Even you don’t intend your blog to be a major part of your future writing life, blogging can be a major step in establishing an online profile which is separate from your personal Facebook or Twitter feed. This is not the place to share about the sweater you knit for your cat or the hilarious hijinks of your toddler. This is where you write. And you talk about writing. 

2. Build an online portfolio: Want writing in general, not just novel-writing, to be a part of your lifestyle and income? A portfolio is an absolutely necessary first step in getting hired for almost any freelance position. I found an excellent resource for building said portfolio here.

3.  Need material for a portfolio? Seek out opportunities (even free ones) with local magazines, newspapers, and newsletters, as well as organizations from your network. Look for one of the million journals online that’s open to submissions and submit your work. Put it out there and get something printed or posted online by a third party. Of course, if you want to publish anything later, keep that on file. Once published, even online, many things can’t be published again.

4. Write your Author Autobiography: Know who you are as a writer. This is an entity separate from who you are. This is your Voice, your intended Audience, your Mission and Raison d’écrire (reason to write). Be able to introduce yourself and your work, on the spot, in two sentences or less, to any publisher or agent.

5.  Attend writer’s conferences, retreats, festivals, etc. Network, network, network. Meeting agents and publishers in person gives you a much better chance at making an impression than almost anything else. Then, when they see your awesome website and portfolio online, they’ll have a face to place with the name.

6.  Ready to publish? Develop a log line, synopsis, and query letter. Then edit them each about a hundred times. These three things are an absolutely necessary first step before sending your book out to publishers.

7.  Got your query letter? Research about 50 agents to submit it to. Expect 49 of those letters to be rejected or ignored. If you get 50 rejections, then revise, get feedback, and go again.


That’s what I’ve got so far. New Writer’s Blog? Check!


What else am I missing?


Can you tell me?

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