Platform, platform, platform.
You want to get published? Build a platform.
You want an agent? Build a platform.
You want a contract? Build a platform.
You get the idea. It was platform this and platform that.
But what did it really mean?
It actually could mean a lot of things, but I think a platform is best summed up as a means of building an audience and communicating with them. Your platform could revolve around your Facebook or Twitter account. It could be a blog about you, or a blog about your writing. It could be a podcast. It could be a convention or speaking circuit.
In other words, it doesn’t really matter which method you choose for communicating with your audience and building your platform, but it is important that you have something in place to accomplish that.
If you look at me, for instance, I’ve got a little bit of everything. An author site, this writing blog, an ezine, and accounts on most of the popular social media sites, which you can follow by clicking on the icons on the top-right corner.
All of these things are great for building specific parts of an author platform. Some might work for you, while others might not. I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary to have an active account for everything, because there is just so many out there. And with social media platforms, it seems like a new one pops up every five minutes.
In this post, however, I’d like to focus on something a little different than the various social media sites out there. I’d like to look at blogging. Specifically, blogging for authors.
Why should I have an author blog? Or SHOULD I have an author blog?
Let me start by saying something that might seem strange to you: I don’t have an author blog. I have a website (which you should totally check out at www.jasonbougger.com) which links to my publications, social media profiles, and provides some basic information about who I am and what I write. And while it is built on WordPress, for the most part it not a blog.
“So Jason, if you don’t have an author blog, then what in the devil am I reading right now?”
To which I reply, “You’re reading a post on Write Good Books, my blog for new and aspiring writers.”
And that is the difference between what I’m doing here and an author blog. This blog is not about me or my writing. While I do occasionally talk about myself like narcissistic teen spending every waking second taking selfies, this site doesn’t exist to promote myself as an author or my own writing. It exists to help new writers learn the lessons I’ve learned in the last six years writing and (in theory) make a couple of bucks in advertising.
Uh, that doesn’t answer the question…
Okay, should you have an author blog. It really depends on what you want to accomplish. An author blog exists for one purpose and one purpose only: To promote yourself as an author. Or to put it another way: to sell your books. Now you’re thinking, “well, I don’t really have any books…” but that’s okay. Your author blog can sell your future books as you use it to build your audience before you have any actual product to sell.
So if you’re hoping to reach an audience of readers or potential readers, then an author blog can be a great tool for you.
And here’s the thing: While you are blogging with the goal of self-promotion, you don’t have to be blatant and annoying about it. Don’t be all “Hey look at me, am a writer-person!”
Instead, talk about yourself. Talk about your family. And most importantly, talk about your writing. Share your struggles as you work out your plot points. Share your daily word count goals. Find things that can help readers relate to you, and even better, LIKE you. When you’ve got a loyal audience, they’ll buy your books, especially if you have that audience before your grand release party.
On think I’d personally recommend against for new writers and bloggers is to post the type of stuff that might turn a new audience away. Don’t be negative. Don’t be jealous. Don’t preach politics. Discuss politics? Maybe, but be careful; as soon as you start preaching at me, you’ve lost me as a follower.
I think the most important thing is to be real. Act like a friend to your readers and they’ll respond in kind.
But what about me?
Yeah, what about me? Well here’s my deal. Write Good Books really started out as a blog posted on www.jasonbougger.com. As I continued to post and the theme of the blog began to tilt more toward the craft of writing (instead of my writing) I began to realize that my target audience was not potential fans of my fiction, but other writers at or around my experience level.
It was then that I decided to kill the author blog (but don’t worry, you can still find my witty comments and link shares on my Facebook page) and reboot the “writing tips” blog as a project separate from my own writing. And I really have no regrets about it. Write Good Books is nearly a year old and I’ve been pretty happy with the way it’s developed. We’ve got some fun stuff planned for 2016, and there will be plenty about that in the next couple of weeks.
But enough about me. What about you? What type of author page or blog do you have? Or what type do you plan to build?