When Is It Time to Start Building an Author Platform?

Original image via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of FEMA

Original image via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of FEMA

I spoke on Saturday here in Florida for the STAR folk in Melbourne, and I had a new writer comment that she couldn’t start building her platform because she had no finished books and nothing for sale. I don’t believe in Self-Help-Kitten-Glitter. I believe in hard work. But hard work needs a solid foundation or we’re no better than Skippy the Hamster running in his little wheel. We should strive to work smarter, not harder. That’s the WANA Way. WANAs also plan for success ;).

Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

Original image via Dan Derritt Flikr Creative Commons

Preparation

As writers, preparation encompasses a lot of things—craft books, classes, practice, workshops, writing, etc. Yet, today I’m going to narrow it to social media and author platforms. The day we decide to do this “writing thing” for real is the day we should begin building our platform. I cannot count the number of times authors have contacted me in frantic e-mails and said things like, “I have a book coming our next month and I need a platform.”

I’m Kristen Lamb not David Copperfield.

Tough Love First

Many of you have heard me say this, but it bears repeating. Screw aspiring. Aspiring is for pansies. Takes guts to be a writer. When we define ourselves as “aspiring writers” and not “professional writers” we can fail to do a lot of the early preparation that will be a foundation for a successful career.

Being a professional is a mind-set not a pay grade. Fail to plan and plan to fail.

A lot of new (pre-published) writers are hesitant to start building a brand an author platform because they don’t yet have anything for sale. Yet, strong platforms that are resistant to major technology shifts (*cough* MySpace*) and that have the capability to eventually drive book sales? Those don’t pop out of the ether. They take time to build.

Baby Steps are Steps

If we wait until we have a book deal or a published work for sale, we have to put far more energy into building a brand/platform, energy that is better served writing more books.

Think of it like losing weight. Say my high school reunion is coming and I’m fifty pounds overweight. I long to look my best when reuniting with my former peers. If I begin the year before the reunion making incremental changes and I slowly adopt steady, good habits, I can lose weight in plenty of time. I can cut out sodas, add in water and better foods, go for morning walks and lose 2-5 pounds a month and reach my goal.

But, there is always the option of waiting until three months before the reunion and having to hire a former drill sergeant to make me do cross-fit three hours a day. I can live off rabbit food or liquid diets to peel off the pounds. And sure, perhaps I could lose most of the weight, but is this a long-term lifestyle most of us can maintain unless we hold Jillain Michaels hostage in our basement?

When we begin building a platform early, we can make small steps over time that create a thriving community organically. We build slowly, creating deep roots. This makes it easier when the book is finally ready for sale, because we already have a thriving base of support. This takes off a lot of pressure and permits us to focus on writing more books. Also, we have regular healthy social media habits that are now simply part of daily life.

Having Nothing for Sale Can Be a Good Thing

When I started out on social media, I didn’t do it to sell anything. I knew I’d have books and even classes or consulting for sale at some point in the future, but just wasn’t there. Because I wasn’t trying to “sell” something, interactions felt far more natural and others probably were more comfortable in my presence because they knew if I was chatting with them, it was to chat and connect. They weren’t bracing for the awkward, “buy my book” pitch.

Thus, when we are new, this is a great way to make friends, network and create community with far less emotional pressure all around. Also, if people have been connecting with us for a period of time and been along for the journey? Many are eager to support us when that first book is finally ready, because they feel they’ve been part of the process.

There is NEVER a “Bad” Time to Build a Brand and Platform

platform2

Original image via Wikimedia Commons, courtesy of the US Navy

If you’re an author who’s published and has books for sale, you are fine. Just remember it will take some time for your platform to gather strength. This is why WANAs work together. We help one another, much like an Amish barn-raising. Together, we are stronger. Yes, we need to build a platform, but no one ever said we had to do it alone.

Yet, on the other side of this spectrum, don’t buy the lie that you can’t start building a platform until you’re published. Those who start as early as possible have major advantages. Social media is fantastic for pre-published writers because you can 1) network with other writers 2) learn the industry 3) learn to meet self-imposed deadlines.

Case in Point

I often talk about Piper Bayard and how her original book was a nightmare when she hired me to edit (back when I used to do that kind of work). While we were repairing her book, Piper listened to me about social media. She began to blog and learned to use Twitter. She whined a lot, but did it anyway :D.

*waves at Piper*

When she finally was picked up by a publisher, she was offered a far more favorable deal because she had a strong platform. Also, through networking on Twitter, Piper was able to meet big-time authors and befriend them (she had nothing for sale). Later, when it came time to find blurbs for her first book, she didn’t even have to ask. Authors she knew were already offering.

Her book Firelands has hit multiple best-seller lists, received rave AP reviews, and she now has a three-book deal. Much of this was possible because Piper adopted the attitude of a “professional” early and laid the groundwork for future success. She understood the business of the Digital Age Author involved more than merely writing a book.

Thus the answer to my question, “When is it time to start building an author platform?” The answer is NOW, no matter where you happen to be in your career. E-commerce is exploding as brick-and-mortar businesses are experiencing record contraction. Also, with social media, we have the ability to tap into emerging markets of eager readers and e-commerce is better suited to fill their demand for new books and good books.

My new book can help you, no matter where you are in your career or which publishing path you’ve chosen to take. You can even peruse this blog of all kinds of free advice. My sole goal is to help you succeed and realize your dreams.

What are your thoughts? Did you believe you needed a book before you started building a platform? Do you feel more at ease? Did you wait to the last minute and wish you’d done some things differently? What are your successes? War stories?

I LOVE hearing from you!

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

Since it was such a HUGE success and attendees loved it, I am rerunning the Your First Five Pages class SATURDAY EDITION. Use the WANA15 code for 15% off. Yes, editors REALLY can tell everything they need to know about your book in five pages or less. Here’s a peek into what we see and how to fix it. Not only will this information repair your first pages, it can help you understand deeper flaws in the rest of your manuscript.

My new social media book, Rise of the Machines–Human Authors in a Digital World is NOW AVAILABLE. Only $6.99.

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  1. #1 by Zach Payne (@ZachJPayne) on August 27, 2013 - 11:04 am

    Right now, I’m in that awkward position of being a new, unpublished writer, working on a manuscript, and figuring out how the hell to create a platform when I have nothing to hand. So this was a bit of help and encouragement in the right direction. Right now, I’m not even in a position to buy a domain name with my name, or any of the traditional stuff. Right now, I’ve a twitter and a brand new blogger blog, and a manuscript that needs lots of work. This answered some of my questions, and makes me feel better knowing that I’m not wrong for trying to build a foundation — that I’m not putting the horse in front of the carriage, so to speak.

    • #2 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 27, 2013 - 11:33 am

      Not at ALL. The earlier the better. Though I do recommend getting an author web site ASAP and blogging off of that. You OWN the content and the site can be upgraded later once you have books for sale. Go over to http://www.wanaintl.com and we have some really inexpensive starter packages to get you up and going for very little. Don’t do what I did. By the time I invested in an author web site, I had a thriving blog under the wrong name (warrior writers) and no way to put that on my web site without tanking my platform. I did all the dumb stuff so you don’t have to :D.

      • #3 by Oliver Gray on August 27, 2013 - 12:40 pm

        I’m curious about “already having a thriving blog under the ‘wrong’ name.” If I am the sole author of my blog, is it really such a drawback to have it under a URL that is different from my author page?

        Any thoughts/advice would be very helpful.

        Thanks!

      • #4 by Katya Pavlopoulos (@russiankatya) on August 28, 2013 - 9:46 am

        Could you *PRETTY PLEASE* elaborate on this ‘wrong name’ thing you mentioned? I’m an unpublished writer and I was just about to start registering my author blog when I saw this post. You see, I was planning to purchase a domain name that is not my name (more like ‘warrior writers’ kind of thing). My real name is foreign, long, and I doubt I’ll be able to market it well in fiction, but I don’t want to settle on a pseudonym until I have an agent who could advise me on this issue, because again I could pick a name that ends up being unmarketable.

        Will using a word/phrase other than my name in the URL cause me serious problems down the road?

        If you could enlighten me on this, I will love you forever (I promise!)

        • #5 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 28, 2013 - 12:22 pm

          Use the name that will be printed on your books. Yes, your name is long. Use a first initial and then your full last name (you will thank me later). We don’t have to be able to spell your name, just recognize it in a lineup. In the digital world, Google will happily correct us if we misspell your name, and, if you don’t believe me, google Janet Evanovitch. You’ll get back snarky red letters saying, “Did you MEAN Janet Evanovich?”

          That name no one has ever spelled correctly can be a tremendous asset in the new marketplace. EVERYTHING goes under your NAME. Focus=POWER. Get my new book for specifics on execution, but KEEP YOUR NAME!

          • #6 by Jason Gallagher on August 28, 2013 - 12:33 pm

            Thanks for answering Katya’s question. It basically answers my question too. It makes sense that you would “focus” or “consolidate” everything under your name.

          • #7 by Katya Pavlopoulos (@russiankatya) on August 28, 2013 - 7:14 pm

            Will keep my name, buying your new book! Ahh, you’ve no idea how helpful you’ve been already! (Well, maybe you do, after all you DO deal with anxious unpublished authors all the time)

  2. #8 by Shannon on August 27, 2013 - 11:15 am

    I have been reading your first book and trying to follow it, but this has not been easy. I have blog posts, but I ‘m afraid to post them because they haven’t been revised or had anyone read them for errors. No one has that much time to help me. I did leap and get the wordpress blog a few months ago so I have no more excuses. Do I just post these blogs essays? I still am not sure how to move forward! I will try to reread your book again. It was overwhelming the first time, but this is how I have gotten this far with one book close to publishing and several others in the works. Every time something is too much I back off for a bit, come back and then I’m not sure what the big deal was. Thank you for all your advise.

    • #9 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 27, 2013 - 11:30 am

      Get the new book. I studied blogging for almost three years before writing Rise of the Machines. There is a step-by-step guide to help you craft a blog that’s easy, fun and will be attractive to readers, not just other writers :D.

      • #10 by Shannon on August 27, 2013 - 12:35 pm

        Since I posted my comment I went to my blog, finished my About Me, put up a post I have been sitting on, and put up an avatar of a decent head shot of me in steampunk costume. The head shot has been one of my delays. So I can get a better one later, this will do for now! Before I was even done with all that I have three people who liked my post and one of those people following me! I will get your new book when we get paid, and read it all the way through without fear.

  3. #11 by Mara Valderran on August 27, 2013 - 11:18 am

    I didn’t even realize I was building a platform when I first ventured into the social media side of the writerly world last year, but I’m glad I did. I’ve made a lot of amazing friends and have the best support system a gal could dream of. When it came time for me to start booking my blog tour, I had the tour halfway booked on day one because I had already dealt with a lot of the people on my list of potential hosts. It’s made self-publishing a lot less scary to have so many people on your side. And Kristen’s book has helped loads too. =)

    • #12 by swiveltam on August 27, 2013 - 9:48 pm

      I’m sorry to sound dumb, but what’s a “blog tour.”

  4. #13 by Dave Higgins on August 27, 2013 - 11:26 am

    One of the biggest confusions I struggled through when reading about when to build a platform ( and possibly the biggest reason for people telling authors they should not build until they have something to sell) is that the term platform is not used as the same thing by each person. A writer needs two things from their interactions: a support network (e.g. existing authors to recommend a good editor) and an audience (people to buy the writing).

    A network is useful from the moment you start writing, so it is sensible to start building it while you are still working on the first draft of the first piece.

    An audience cannot buy your work until you have some to sell, so it is better to focus on having a product than building an audience.

    Once I started to see the advice in terms of one or the other of these, it made much more sense.

    • #14 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 27, 2013 - 11:29 am

      But you can cultivate the future audience. Platform is about how many people we “know” who are vested in us and our writing who can be mobilized when the time comes. If all we do is talk to other writers and industry professionals in those early years, we will have an inbred and weak platform. Social media can be used to connect with “regular people” which is code for “readers” :D. Make friends and connect with all kinds of people and they will love to say they knew you when once the book is ready for sale.

      • #15 by Dave Higgins on August 28, 2013 - 4:14 am

        I am not saying you cannot build an audience before you have a book: I am saying the two types of platform have different benefits, so have different cost-benefit profiles. If given a choice between devoting time to finishing a book and seeking out people to become readers, finishing the book is likely to give you a better return.

        It is probably moot for extroverts who might well be on many platforms all the time anyway, but I have encountered many introverts who are focusing on audience to the detriment of actually writing.

  5. #17 by Lelia Rose Foreman (@LeliaForeman) on August 27, 2013 - 11:29 am

    I look forward to reading Firelands. Of course your discussion about the book is why I looked it up on amazon. The discussion, reviews, and good price are why I bought it.

  6. #19 by Piper Bayard on August 27, 2013 - 11:44 am

    Thanks for the shout out. I seriously can’t recommend Rise of the Machines enough. You really know what you’re talking about. Thank you for sharing it. It’s been a wonderful ride as your guinea pig. :)

  7. #20 by Gry Ranfelt on August 27, 2013 - 11:44 am

    I thought I just needed some sort of TOPIC. Now, because of your advice about how to use word clouds, I have a concept :D I high one. And I can’t wait to implement it. But it needs polishing before I fully redo and rename my blog.
    I’m aweful at twitter, though. I don’t know how to work that!

  8. #21 by littlehousebytheferry on August 27, 2013 - 12:03 pm

    Excellent points. And it’s so true — networking is much easier and more comfortable when you aren’t selling anything (yet.) I’ve only been blogging for a few months, and it’s amazing how many unexpected and serendipitous connections I’ve made. Only problem is that blogging is easier and more entertaining some days than writing my novel, and I have to FORCE myself to actually write the thing for which I’m building a platform. :-)

  9. #22 by Elke Feuer on August 27, 2013 - 12:15 pm

    It’s never too early to start! As Kristen said, it builds good habits and prepares you for when you are published. There’s so much to do at that point, the last thing you need on your plate is building a platform too. I started two years before I published and still struggled to keep up.

    As Kristen said, Fail to plan and plan to fail.

  10. #23 by 100greatnovels on August 27, 2013 - 12:16 pm

    Thanks for this column Kristen. This is something I need help with. I will definitely look into your website packages.

  11. #24 by Heather on August 27, 2013 - 12:24 pm

    Hey. Is your book on Kobo yet? How about now? And I’m doing both. So, thanks for the encouragement.

  12. #25 by Kerry Gans on August 27, 2013 - 12:30 pm

    I was saying to my husband just last night that I am glad I am on social media now, when I have nothing to “sell”, because I am making connections with people as people, not as sales targets. It makes it more fun and more real, and an overall better experience. I am on the fence about starting a FB author page though–some people say it does no good to split your time and persona between a personal and author page, others say it’s important. I sort of feel like I would be duplicating a lot of posts if I did that–I very much keep my personal page to items that I would not mind fans/readers/professional contacts seeing. Anything more personal I use different channels.

  13. #26 by Cal on August 27, 2013 - 12:58 pm

    I’m reading Rise of the machines now. Is the first book just an older version?

    • #27 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 27, 2013 - 1:01 pm

      We Are Not Alone was my first book and is almost four years old. Rise of the Machines is the newest and the most useful.

  14. #28 by Alison Doherty on August 27, 2013 - 1:07 pm

    I started my platform two years ago (before I even had an idea for a novel). I knew I wanted to be a writer someday. I’ve amped up my presence in social media since making the switch from aspiring writer to professional writer. I still don’t have a book deal, but I’m happy I won’t have to start from scratch when I finally get there.

  15. #29 by katbiggie on August 27, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    I started building my platform before I ever realized I would be writing books. So I”m really glad to hear that for once, I’ve done something ahead of the game!

  16. #30 by Laurie Evans on August 27, 2013 - 1:16 pm

    I’ve also been on social media since I started writing, but with nothing to sell. I’ve had a lot of fun, made tons of friends, and I’ve learned a LOT. Almost four years ago, I began blogging, and studying how to market myself via my blog. That blog isn’t about writing/reading, but so glad I put in the time to learn. Now I can apply what I know to my author blog.

    Just got your new book, Kristen. Everyone needs to buy this book! It’s JAM-PACKED with info I haven’t seen consolidated like this. I’ve seen bits and pieces of advice for authors on social media here and there, but nothing all in one book like this. So, thanks, Kristen!

  17. #31 by Jason Gallagher on August 27, 2013 - 2:02 pm

    Dear Kristen,

    Your post today was very timely, as I had already decided I needed a platform, and I knew it needed to be done before publishing, so your post was a great reassurance. I have been debating and fretting over the how’s and what’s of the matter. I guess my biggest question and confusion right now is – do I write under my own name or a moniker? I don’t have anything to hide from my past or anything like that, but I do feel like there might be lots of “noise” out there from things I’ve written and unsuccessfully tried in the past. The idea of a moniker or pseudonym seems like a good way to start “fresh,” but also seems fake at the same time, and I’ve always been about being my authentic self in everything I do. If I use my own name, do I have to surrender my current “person” Facebook page to create an “author page” or can I have both?

    If I don’t use a moniker, then how do you create a distinct “identity” or “brand?” I imagine you need a good title for your blog or a theme, kinda like you have “We are not alone” or it appears you used to have Warrior Writers (I’m new to your stuff, so I am not fully familiar, just been glancing around.) How do I go about finding that one thing that can be used to identify my online brand? I want to commit to the “professional writer” goal, but it seems scary to pick a label now when I have more questions than answers about who I am as a writer, and what my “voice” (saw your great article about writer’s voice) will be. Yet, I intellectually and intuitively know it’s a good idea to have a good label that identifies your online presence and ties together your online “platform.” Thanks again for your great blog and tips.

  18. #32 by authorleannedyck on August 27, 2013 - 2:42 pm

    I didn’t wait. I started as soon as I could. As a result I now have a professional looking author website and a popular blog (over 140,000 page views). Because I started early the social network learning curve was fun instead of a nightmare. And now I enjoy promoting my fellow authors and sharig what I’ve learnt. In fact on Thursday, August 29th I will publish my article ‘How to build an author website’ on my blog (http://sweatercursed.blogspot.ca) and I’ll link back to this inspiring article, Kristen.

  19. #33 by Tasha Turner on August 27, 2013 - 2:46 pm

    I’ve just gifted a third copy of Rise of the Machines. I’m not done reading it but I have notes all over the 3 chapters I’ve gotten to.

    I’ve been on the ‘net since… Ummm over 15 years. I had no idea I was building platform/networking until ~2 years ago when I started writing a book with a friend and consulting with her publishing company at which point I realized that I needed a blog and discovered I had a network of both support for my writing and readers who are still bugging me about when it will be written.

    A mutual friend introduced me to you and your books and I found out there were proper terms for what I was doing and I learned all sorts of cool stuff to get even better at networking. Now I need to get back into blogging. Your new book is now on “must read” list for anyone asking my advice. Thanks for publishing it. :)

  20. #34 by saralitchfield on August 27, 2013 - 3:26 pm

    I loved your post the other day on being a professional rather than aspiring writer! And this post is very on-topic for me. I’m published in the academic space but pre-published in fiction, which is where I want to be! I’m creating an author platform by accident as I’ve recently started a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account (which still baffles me), partly in order to spread word about my editing business, which does have a website but as yet little traffic, but mostly to meet likeminded people. I hadn’t even thought about the concepts of ‘online presence’ and ‘platform’ before starting my journey into social media, but the more people I find to follow through my exploration of the digital world, such as you and Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Joe Konrath, the more conscious I become about how everything works and, hopefully, the more successful I’ll be! Thank you :)

    • #35 by swiveltam on August 27, 2013 - 9:51 pm

      I know what you mean. I forgot to mention how good it is so be told its okay to say, “I’m a writer.” Not I’m a substitute teacher and an “aspiring writer.” Well said!

  21. #36 by Heather Heyford on August 27, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    Another fab post! Thanks for the butt kick.

  22. #37 by Shea Ford on August 27, 2013 - 3:44 pm

    Working on all this as I go. My biggest problem other than not having a website (can’t spend the money), is being exposed to too much on social media. I get all worked up and it drives hubby crazy. For example, the whole Miley Cirus garbage yesterday. I didn’t even watch it, but I couldn’t seem to escape it if I wanted to be on facebook or twitter. :/

  23. #38 by Phillip McCollum on August 27, 2013 - 4:39 pm

    Great post. I’m glad I started blogging two years ago and making friends, because that’s how I plan to “push” my eventually published work… just sharing the news with all of my newfound pals and hoping some of them are interested in reading it.

  24. #39 by christineardigo on August 27, 2013 - 6:02 pm

    I suppose by biggest problem is what to write in the beginning? Why would people follow me?
    Hi i want to write a book please follow me.
    HI i started writing a book please follow me.
    Hi i have no idea what i’m doing but please give me your email address so you can keep reading these meaningless sad posts.
    What did you write in the beginning? I feel like i have nothing to offer anyone.

    • #40 by Nicole Montgomery on August 28, 2013 - 9:48 am

      Christine – I’ve read your posts – they are NOT meaningless and sad! They are informative, fun and inspirational (ok, I still won’t go skydiving, but I am getting in the little tiny airplane for a 5 hour flight on Friday).

      I forgot to add yummy, for the recipes.

      Just keep writing – you’re doing great.

      • #41 by christineardigo on August 28, 2013 - 4:03 pm

        Nicole! Thank you. Actually i started the nutrition webpage because i thought i had nothing to offer if i made an author webpage. Then i saw how Kristen started writer warriors and switched to her current blog and i thought: i am doing the same thing.
        I dont want to write nutrition books. i am currently writing (Editing) a contemporary romance but not sure how to make the jump now. Thank you Nicole, for your support and time! Glad to know someone is reading my webpage! Hee Hee. xoxo

    • #42 by pamelacreese on August 28, 2013 - 9:44 pm

      oh sweety! right there with you!
      Everyone makes it ‘sound’ so easy…write and they will come. WHY? I am betting they aren’t that interested in kids, school, my pets, my garden, or the zillion other everyday, boring things that are my life.
      Hang in there. There must be something that ties between us, our writing, and “real people” :)

      • #43 by christineardigo on August 28, 2013 - 11:21 pm

        Thank you! Maybe we can think of something to say together. I’m guessing you just write about your writing journey and eventually someone will pick up on it. Thats probably why you need to start 2 years before a book release! Ha ha!

        • #44 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 29, 2013 - 7:33 am

          Get my book, and not trying to hawk a book but $7 can save your life. You will burn out writing about your journey. My book teaches you how to blog to cultivate a readership for your BOOKS.

          • #45 by christineardigo on August 29, 2013 - 9:59 am

            Thank you Kristen. I will!

        • #46 by pamelacreese on August 29, 2013 - 10:18 am

          I really don’t write much about writing. Although I am interested to see what Kristen’s new book says about that.
          The closest I get is every week I post a ‘fantasy’ photo…something I think most fantasy lovers can relate to at some level. I love them. Hopefully someone else out there does too.

          • #47 by christineardigo on August 29, 2013 - 1:26 pm

            That sounds smart Pamela. What is your website? I will check it out!
            Here is mine. ChristineArdigo.com

  25. #48 by Tammy J Rizzo on August 27, 2013 - 8:05 pm

    Reblogged on poppycockpublishing.com with the following comment:

    Whether you are just beginning as a writer, or you are already an established author with a lucrative book contract and a shelf full of hardbound copies of your fifteenth NYT Best Seller, or you are anywhere in between, you’ve probably heard something about an ‘author platform’. Kristen Lamb is an acknowledged expert in building an author platform, especially for fiction authors.

    If you don’t think you know what an author platform is, check out the link below for some insight.

    If you do think you know what an author platform is, check out the link below for some more insight.

    If you think you don’t really need an author platform, check out the link below for some astonishing insight.

    If you think you can’t build your author platform until you have something to sell, check out the link below for some mind-blowing insight.

    If you think you have your author platform covered, check out the link below, anyway – it doesn’t take long and you might still find some insight.

    In any case, check out the link below. You won’t regret it.

  26. #49 by eacieri on August 27, 2013 - 8:06 pm

    More great advice. I read your posts every day. Thanks.

  27. #50 by swiveltam on August 27, 2013 - 9:46 pm

    Sooooo, again with the questions…If I have a finished manuscript, Can I talk about “when it’s published…” Can I promote the idea of the novel? People keep asking me where they can buy it, is this counter-productive? My blog is not about “writing” my blog exemplifies the kind of things you will find in the novel, vintage, swing dancing, cocktails, sewing, lifestyle. I also blog in a short, short story way with some and info way with another. Is this effective or am I barking up the wrong tree. BTW yours is the only “author” blog I have subscribed to, most bore the pants off me.

  28. #51 by Penelope Silvers on August 27, 2013 - 9:58 pm

    Hi Kristen,

    I started setting up my social media sites while working on my books. As I wrote, I continued talking with people and building my platform through many channels. I always looked at social media as a way to develop connections, and actually had fun doing it! That takes the pressure off, and when you set up your profile the right way, people are just naturally curious about you, and want to find out more about you and your books. You build up relationships, and then when you need help in promoting, you have a core group ready and willing.

  29. #52 by gabrielablandy on August 28, 2013 - 7:12 am

    This was such a useful post, David – I mean Kristen! After reading your book on blogging I realise how important a platform is – even before having something to sell. But, I was wondering if you thought it would be best to wait to finish a manuscript before approaching an agent?

    • #53 by Kerry Gans on August 28, 2013 - 7:49 am

      Agents will not usually look at a manuscript that is not finished. It must be as perfect as it can be. The ONLY time it is permissible to pitch an incomplete ms. is at a writer’s conference pitch session (because they realize not everyone’s ms. will be done by the conference date). But even then, if they like the pitch, they will tell you to complete the ms. and then send it to them when it’s done.

  30. #55 by CL on August 28, 2013 - 9:00 am

    This is super encouraging! Thanks so much! :D

  31. #56 by pamelacreese on August 28, 2013 - 9:53 pm

    Thanks for another inspiring entry.
    I have a website, not that I think anyone EVER has seen it. I have it linked to my Live Journal blog. Is that the correct order or am I supposed to blog “on” my web page? That confuses me, I admit.

    As so many others have mentioned, this introvert really does not see “how” I am supposed to get anyone interested in my blog, much less my web page. How to connect the dots so people who would maybe someday read my fantasy novels when what I know about is so…NOT fantasy related. Not even remotely interesting!
    What about those of us who are not ‘fun’ and humorous like you? Who are not experts in anything? I know lots of things about lots of things but not everything about anything, LOL.

    I have ordered your new book (I did read the first one some time ago, and while I have helped several friends build blogs and web pages that neatly mesh their interests and their writing….without ever pushing a book :)…I have no idea how to do the same for fantasy) I hope it will help me figure out the elusive answers to these and other questions.

    Bless you. You do know how to always keep us coming back for more.

  32. #57 by dewberrywood on August 29, 2013 - 4:46 pm

    Thank you! A veritable revelation and inspiration. Made me smile. It’s amazing how much a few words can transform someone’s life. What a fantastic woman you are!

  33. #58 by Charmaine Clancy on August 29, 2013 - 5:41 pm

    Yes. I’m trying to express this to my father, who has completed 3 novels and still doesn’t see the purpose of ‘blogging’.

    • #59 by Author Kristen Lamb on August 29, 2013 - 6:07 pm

      He doesn’t need to blog. Only if he wants to sell those novels, LOL :D.

  34. #60 by Jill on September 2, 2013 - 1:19 pm

    Good post and timely. I wonder how (if?) it applies to the true newbie. I’m in the newly-writing stage after losing my feet on my writing trails for a long while. I’ve been reading various craft books, taking a course, and am trying to figure out what writing category and genre I wish to focus on (I’ve a lot to learn and still trying to find my own voice). So I’m very “new”. I don’t know a whole lot about social media, but I thought a basic free wordpress blog couldn’t hurt (just to be able to connect with other writers maybe, talk about books? life?…not sure, really…but just with a general title – not a name). Would that be okay? I’d almost rather get just a small, free basic blog so I can blog a few months before figuring out exactly what I want to talk about it or whatever. Thoughts? Thanks. I found you through an article on the Huffington Post by the way. This looks like a great site, though a lot of this is far too much for me to take in at once. Step by step :)

    (Oh, I also wonder about email accounts. Do you think one separate email should be attached to a blog/submissions, etc and should it have your full name or close to it? Gmail or other best? I just wonder if one ought to keep a different email for family/friends than one related to writing contacts, or no? Too complicated?
    Sorry if these are very silly, “overthinking” questions. I tend to that a lot!).

    • #61 by Author Kristen Lamb on September 2, 2013 - 3:58 pm

      I did what you are suggesting and suddenly a blog went viral. I am stuck with this “free” “warrior writers” site because I don’t want to lose my following in a move. My blog is limited and redirected by my web site. Double the pain. So if you want to so this writing thing for real, get a web site. You will thank me later. Also, if you commit money, you are more likely to stay serious. Best of luck and fabulous to see you here!

    • #62 by swiveltam on September 2, 2013 - 4:17 pm

      What about trying out blogging on Wana Tribe? They have an area there. Not sure of the traffic, but i like it because I feel I have the freedom to just put stuff out there about “writing.” My website blog is support for the novel and my writer-ly musings just don’t fit. It’s an idea and a FUN community :) Listen to Kristen though, get the website and get your domain name NOW. Don’t wait.

      • #63 by Jill on September 2, 2013 - 7:04 pm

        Hmm….thanks….but I’m not sure what you mean by “website” vs. blog…I assume you mean get a blog where you pay for the domain and it is “self-hosted” (no idea what that means, I just hear it floating around). And I assume you are saying the URL should be your name (I do notice many agented or unagented authors with blogs though have a url unrelated to their name at all…or they have a blog and a website — getting the website only after being agented or further into the writing world). I’m just afraid to put my name out there or pay for a website when I don’t know what to talk about (yet) and might (likely will) screw up and post poor posts or something too silly (like occasional recipes) etc and then have that attachment to my name ongoing …versus “feeling it out” and exploring my voice/where I belong for a while on a free wordpress blog.
        Lots to think about…but I also don’t want to think too hard and whatever I do I’d almost rather just sign up for it in one day and jump in versus agonize over making it perfect in appearance/title/etc.

        • #64 by swiveltam on September 2, 2013 - 7:26 pm

          Here’s a link to Wana Tribe. http://wanatribe.com It’s an online writing community which has a place for a blog, if you want to get your feet wet? Kristen is the expert. I just have a website, a yet to be published novel and am having a lot of fun on Wana Tribe :) If I can figure out how “friend” people on there, I will friend you ;)

  35. #65 by DJBlackmore on September 8, 2013 - 7:09 am

    thanks for the advice. Guess I’m moving in the right direction.

  36. #66 by Raani York on September 17, 2013 - 5:30 pm

    Thank you so much Kristen for this post. It tells me, that my instinct wasn’t so wrong after all. :-) thanks so much for the advice. I figure I’m on the right path.

  37. #67 by napow27 on November 6, 2013 - 8:46 pm

    Thanks for the advice. Not all authors are versed on the platform tango and great authors like yourself help point us in the right direction. I re-posted this on WordPress and twitter. :)

    I do have a question, I am posting on twitter, updating my bio, I placed photos on both and added blogs to wordpress, and I am not getting the follows or the messages from people, what else should I do to increase my following?

    • #68 by Author Kristen Lamb on November 6, 2013 - 8:48 pm

      Adjust your content. We have to post what people want to read. If you’re a novelist, you want to be writing about what interests your readers. I give you a step-by-step in my book. Tagging and understanding search engines and how they work helps a LOT, too.

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