At the last writers’ workshop, I attended all the presenters stressed all day long that it was necessary to have a social network platform in place a year before you publish your book. Of course, the first question to ask is “What the devil is a writer’s platform.” Always willing to embarrass myself with questions if I don’t know something, I asked, “What is a writer’s platform.” I heard it was a compilation of ways to market myself and market my book. By the time I had the list, I was already overwhelmed.
Putting the Advice into Action
I took the advice to heart and began to investigate the potential mediums I was going to include in my marketing platform. My first step was to get a blog going. I’ve had a blog before so I didn’t think this would be too hard. I changed from my last blog and went with blogger this time. Aliceplouchardstelzer.blogspot.com. I find it very easy to manage but maybe lacking in design styling. I will work on that later.
Adding a Facebook Fan Page
I was already on Facebook so I thought setting up a fan page would be an easy way to start. Wrong! I listened to webinars, read informational blogs, took a dozen photos of myself and then fought with my computer to get the photos on the fan page. My fan page was finally up (facebook.com/aliceplouchardstelzer.writer) but then to add to the frustration I had to have 25 people “like” my new page to get rid of the string of numbers that Facebook has added to the page name. I’m not particularly pleased with the look of it but at this juncture, it will have to do. I pestered people for a week to “like” me. Finally, I passed the 25 and could move on to another challenge.
Twitter Was Next
Twitter was not that annoying. I opened an account, (twitter.com/acscwp) looked at it a few times, and thought, “This does not make any sense.” It was too busy for me in the beginning. I didn’t know where to start. Then, someone sent me a message and when I figured out how to answer it, the system began to make sense. I got brave and tweeted a couple of times. Then I got a message that someone was following me. I searched for them and after reading their profile, I decided to follow them. Now I was on the Twitter road.
I have found other writers, marketers with lots of platform information, publishers and self-publishers to follow. In just a few weeks, I have almost 200 followers and I am following almost 300. The good thing about Twitter is that I have learned how to automate my tweets so I do not need to be on Twitter to make things happen. Some of my tweets are being retreeted so my reach is increasing. You have to be careful with this and not just tweet automatically. The whole point is to build relationships for future business. The 140-character limitation is difficult but a great writing lesson in being succinct.
Now on to LinkedIn
I also ventured into LinkedIn (LinkedIn.com/alice-stelzer) and I joined some writer groups that have brought me a steady stream of emails. My frustration with it has been that when I find someone that I would want to connect with I have to have their emails to send a request to connect with them. It means going to each profile and finding their email and I am usually too busy right at that moment so I put it off. Consequently, I have not, yet, added to my connections. That will come though. With the additional space that Twitter doesn’t allow, I do find it very easy to get into conversations on LinkedIn.
My next step is Google+, about which I have already participated in one webinar. I still have Triberr and Foursquare to figure out. We’ll see.
I learned that if I try to keep this entire social media going every day I will NEVER get my book written! It has put me behind on my research schedule already. Social media is always changing and if you let it, it can be very overwhelming. I have set my schedule of blogging once a week, and devoting an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening to the others. When my book is written, I can increase that.
I would love to hear from other writers who are dealing with this platform building challenge.