Around cyberland writers are busy building their platforms. They’re working at gaining name recognition, support, followers, and ultimately readers. I personally think writers who are taking the time to build a web presence are wise. Sure, we can look at examples of successful authors who don’t mingle online, but most of them became popular in the days before the social media revolution.
No matter our publishing choice (traditional or self e-book), there are millions of books and authors clamoring for attention. If we want to give our books an advantage, a growing web presence can help.
Kristen Lamb had a recent post in which she emphasized the importance of writers working together to help each other build their brands. Her post was titled, T.E.A.M.—Together Everyone Achieves More. She said: “Everyone does a little for everyone else and then everyone sees success . . . When we plug in with a team, we multiply efforts exponentially. . . If we focus on serving our teammates, they will do the same. Together everyone achieves more.”
Whether we call our online community our tribe, team, friends, or whatever, the fact is, when we’re networking with other writers online, we have the opportunity to help each other build our platforms. The efforts through facebook and twitter really do multiply exponentially. There is a snowball effect that’s hard to measure.
But . . . we can labor to build an online platform and then just as easily lose it. I’ve seen plenty of authors work hard at gaining followers, start hype over a new release, and generate a lot of support from fellow writers. Then, in the end, they fizzle out of cyberland.
Jill Domschott mentioned this phenomenon in a recent comment: “I watched an intriguing experiment unfold not too long ago. I saw a very young female blogger boost her blog and twitter followers by hitting on and following every blog she found. After she worked at this for months, had a few thousand followers, she self-published her novel, and many of her blog followers helped her market the book by reviewing it, etc. etc. But her book was amateurish, and so the hype soon died down. The numbers said she was successful, until the truth bore itself out. She was not offering a quality product.”
We can do ALL we possibly can to build an online platform, but the efforts won’t do us much good unless we’re building on a solid foundation to begin with. And what is that foundation?
Of course, we all know the answer. We MUST have a book that resonates with readers. Plain and simple.
As Jill said, the truth will bear itself out. We pour out incredible amounts of time and energy into networking and building our online presence. But it will be a big waste of time if we don’t spend as much, if not moretime, honing our writing skills, writing book after book, and taking our craft to a continually higher level.
The best way to build an online platform that will last is to become a better writer. Deliver the goods. Give our supporters something they can truly be proud to review and promote. Provide our team with a book they can genuinely get behind and be excited to share with their followers.
Ultimately, a lasting brand is built upon a solidly crafted, well-told story. That’s the kind of platform that will survive the test of time and continue to grow.
What do you think? Have you seen authors work hard at enlarging a platform but fail to deliver on their books? Are you building your online presence on a solid foundation? Are you spending enough time working on your writing so that you'll have a platform that will last?