Friday, 8 July 2011

Writer Platform or People Interacting?

Who are we aiming our blog posts at?

I read a lot of writers blogs particularly since I decided to start writing my own stuff and taking it seriously. There are some great blogs out there, full of resources and information, all of which can be sucked into my head and hopefully retained somewhere useful for later recollection.

These blogs are themed. That is, they are writing blogs. Discussions on the how to's and best working practices. They often present the idea that each writer must start and maintain their own platform before even attempting to get an agent. I have even read somewhere - I can't remember where so cant link to it - that New York publishers aren't supporting new authors anymore. They are saying that authors need to build their own brand and web presence. A brand which is you!

Now I read all this and I soak it all in like a big empty sponge, but then I start to stumble around a bit.

The whole point of having a platform is that you are putting yourself out there. People start to read your blog, connect with you on twitter and facebook and your platform is up and running right?

Well is it really if all you're doing is talking to fellow writers on writers blogs? Fellow writers aren't necessarily going to go out and buy your first book, but real people from real connections you've made online and not just because you've been told its a good idea to create a "writing" platform, may do.

Readers- the people you want to buy your books, the people who matter don't necessarily write. I read lots, but only started writing last year. You won't reach real people reading real books if you are only targeting writers. Maybe I've got this all wrong but it just seems like common sense to me.

Be yourself with people. People like that. Build up a genuine community of blog followers and maybe one day when that book is published, the friends you met along the way will give you a huge hand of encouragement.

And for my non writery blog followers. This blog was here before I decided to write and as you can see I blog about anything that affects me or I find interesting. This is me and my journey in various directions. At this point in time though, writing this novel is a major part of my life and I blog to have a reminder of where I have travelled and to interact with people.

Why do you blog?


  1. Well I do believe that writers are the biggest readers and buyers of books out there. That aside, I avoid blogs that are all "how-to" about writing. I like to get to know people online and if it's all academic all about writing, then it's harder to feel there's a real person behind the platform.

  2. I have one of those how-to type blogs (well, mainly, also lots of ramblong about books I like) and I started it to hook up with other writers (nobody in my real life is a writer) in what I thought would be like a huge Algonquin round table type situation. We'd discuss Ideas and schools of thought, help each other with plot issues, have the occasional duel and so forth.

    It was only after I started that I heard the term 'platform' and seeing the sense in it I have tried to reach a broader range of people, joining twitter and so on, but I'm not sure where the 'readers' are to be honest (I asked this same question on my blog recently).

    It's an interesting question that I think is worth looking at.


  3. I'm not very good at this 'platform' stuff. I write things about my writing, but I also write about other random things that occur to me. And music :)

    I do read 'how to' blogs, because I have a lot to learn, but I read a whole load more just because I like the content, not all of them by writers.

  4. You've raised a very valid point, Rebecca. 'How to' writing blogs can be great, if the blogger's goal is to attract other writers. Most of the visitors won't be interested in buying any books the blogger may write.

    My blog is geared toward romance readers (they may be writers too, or not at all). I blog about my writing - news and excerpts - and about romance in general. Mostly I just try to be myself.

  5. I agree with Karen. If all the writers in the blogosphere bought a copy of our latest book we'd be more than happy but it doesn't quite work like that. My belief (hope) is that if I get to know people over the Internet then my name will become familiar and that certainly can't be a bad thing... and in the meantime I'm writing and chatting with some lovely people. Blogging has got to be a win-win thing to do.

  6. You make good points here, Rebecca and I not that the connections we're making as writers is a matter of concern to all of us. Are we just spinning our wheels, chatting with each other, forming friendships while we wait for our books to sell? Or is there something else happening while the social interaction is going on?

    Since I got my Kindle, I'm buying books mostly by new indie authors. Mostly, it's because the books sound intriguing to me, so I think there is some value attached to knowing and interacting with other writers.

    I started blogging because of my writing. Had a website set up beforehand, but all the articles I was reading at the time said it was a good thing to do to start that platform we all talk about. Now, I continue because it does in fact give me some sort of reach as a writer and it gives potential readers an idea of who is behind the voice in the books I write. And then, there is the fact that I've met some really nice folks on the way.

    Be all and end all for me is that blogging and interacting gives me a voice I wouldn't have otherwise.

  7. I think it is a great mix of readers and writers that help me along. I am a member of Goodreads and connect with both there.

    I like to share a mix of writerly things on one blog and my life on another. I have two facebook accounts. One for writer friends and one for family and friends. This way I have a varied mix. I love getting to know my writer/reader friends on-line. I am actually more relaxed with my writer friends as I am not worrying about upsetting one friend or member of family with the wrong words.

    Platform building is how I see it.

  8. I think it's natural for writers to attract other writers, because writers are also readers... but...I've been trying to get my focus away from writing on my blog for some time. Even when I have guest authors, I try to get them to write about things other than writing, and focus on themes of their books or other topics (not that they listen to me, but I do try. LOL)

    I've decided to try to focus my blog on readers as well, and try to talk to and attract the kind of people I think my readers are - smart, with a sense of humour, who like a bit of imagination mixed in with their reality.

    So, unless I'm announcing a new release or squeeing over cover art (which I can't help but do!) I am avoiding talking about the mechanics of writing these days.

    I think you're spot on with your analysis.

  9. Hi Rebecca!

    Excellent point you've made here. Inf fact, it made me think about why I blog.

    I've since shied away from the how-to writing blogs, because really, one of the only ways to improve my writing, is by actually... writing.

    I blog because I like sharing my experiences and reflections on my creative journeys. Much like you, I suppose.

    I also like sharing things that inspire me. Hopefully, it will inspire others too. There is nothing more satisfying than hearing someone say that something I shared, inspired them.


  10. What an excellent post. I actually think about this frequently. When I come across a blog that presents nothing but tips and advice for writers, I will usually come back to it periodically to check in but I don't necessarily add it to my daily blog stop. Why? I like to learn about the person and make that connection you talked about. Voice is really important to me in blogs. I blog because it helps me connect with people, makes me feel less alone in the writing journey and makes sense of the irrational sometimes.

  11. This is a great post. I've found the whole platform building thing to be a bit overwhelming, and I question how to even go about it. I think you make a lot of great points here. I enjoy many writer blogs but I also love blogs that are about reading, hobbies, photography, daily life, etc. There's such a wide range of bloggers out there, it's amazing to me.

  12. I do a lot of blogging, but each has a theme/subject. I have one that's a dairy, one that's thoughts, one that keeps track of books/movies I consume, and one that I hope helps writers add injury realism to their work.

    And of course, my writing blog. At the moment, I really have that one as a way to connect with other writers to participate in a circle of accountability and support. It's nice to know I'm not alone. Once I'm actually published, I might start changing tone to attract readers, but as I do short stories it's not like I'll have books for sale up on Amazon. My audience will be the subscribers of a magazine.

    Regardless of eventual audience though, I know I want to have a similar tone, as if I was sitting in a coffee shop across from friend that I only see on occasion (mainly becuase I don't have a lovely blog schedule like you do). I like friends, I'd like to have more of them, be they readers or writers because those are the people who will support me in the long run.

  13. Karen - I tend to follow a mixture of blogs, those purely writing orientated and those that have posts relating to the person as well as the writer. I think it's about balance isn't it.

    Mooderino - That's the main thing I like about following people who are also interested in books and writing, it's the sharing of experience. (The round table) Blogging is a great place to do that.

    Sarah - I think by being out there, you have already started your platform :)

    Ranae - I love the writing blogs, there is a market for them - people like us, but yes, being myself is one of my main aims. It would be difficult to maintain a blog if you're only creating a persona.

    Rosalind - You're right. I love chatting to fellow bloggers. Whether they are the people who buy my book (If I can get it to that point) or not, they are the people I am sharing the journey with.

    J.L - I've found that since I've been blogging I have read more books by people I would never have particularly picked up and I have found that I have loved them. It's a great place to share and interact.

    Glynis - I really need to try and get on Goodreads more. I do like it as a platform and it is there specifically for people who like books. Thanks for the reminder!

    Thanks India - I do think we need to be ourselves through our blogs and I think people can tell if we are being dishonest and just being here to sell something. It's the great thing about blogging, there is room to say what you need to and you can't help but let some of yourself seep through, even if you didn't want to.

    Mieke - It's a spot on comment about how to improve your writing - by writing. I sometimes need to remind myself of that.

    Lindsay - It's a lonely process writing isn't it? It is what I like about the internet and social networking. Finding those who have the same interest and sharing those experiences.

    Julie- I think we just need to do what we are comfortable with don't we. It's the only way it will work.

    Jenny - That's is one thing I thought about - if I get published, creating something specifically for readers who are interested in my work, rather than this blog where I share the journey. It could take a lot of time up though!

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