Pen to the Page: The Launching Platform

 
 
 
Welcome back to Pen to the Page!  
Did they say platform?
I mean, really…a website, Facebook, Twitter? What, a BLOG? Have they lost their mind? What in the world is a platform? I’m not even published yet! I don’t need one of those, do I? I never thought I’d need to be a social butterfly just to write a book.
The minute I heard the word platform, I panicked. I’ve never even finished a manuscript! How was I going to afford one of those? What did one even entail? Overwhelmed, I almost threw in the towel then I thrust my chin out and said, “I’ll figure this out even if I have to teach myself.”
I checked the platforms of various authors, Christian and non-Christian alike. I discovered features common to the majority of authors and those consistent with Christian writers. I noted various characteristics I liked and disliked and incorporated some ideas. I also learned the positive and negative aspects of The Launching Platform along the way.
First things first, let’s look at the structure of the platform. (This is strictly my opinion, limited as it is.)
The platform’s base is the website. Free website services exist on the web as well as webmaster sites. Personally, I use a free service called Webnode and I design my own website. While this allows for control of the site and the cost is zero, it’s a lot of work. I incorporated features such as a blog, news, photos, excerpts, reviews, as well as a bio. The website is linked to all other tiers of my platform.
What other tiers, you ask?
Well, I mentioned a blog. If you’re reading this, you may already know I write a weekly blog which I post on my website and on Blogger. (Yes, in addition to writing my books and other postings on my website.) Blogger is free but other sources exist as well. Good news? Connection with other writers and readers! Bad news? You HAVE to write it every week. No slacking. Your readers expect it. Don’t let them down. (Even if you think they aren’t reading it. Check your statistics.) NOTE: Set a schedule and stick to it… weekly, monthly, whatever…just be faithful. A blog is a way that your readers can get to know you.
Facebook Author/Writer Page… not a profile. A profile requires a person to request to be your friend. A page doesn’t. A page is public, a profile generally is limited to friends unless you deem it to be public. A reader may ’Like’ your Facebook page and comment on it without obtaining your permission to be your friend. Good and bad? Facebook is a social network and an avenue to contact a lot of people. It’s also high maintenance. You get out of it what you put into it. If you have time to post a lot, you’ll get a lot of views and hence, a lot of responses. If you don’t, you won’t.
Twitter! Another social avenue to promote your website, blogs and keep in contact with readers and fellow writers. The difference with Twitter is that all posts are public. ‘Followers’ see my posts and those similar to their own. The key to Twitter is the almighty hashtag (#). After a post, a small topic word preceded by this powerful symbol links it to others in the category, spreading it throughout the Twitter universe. For example, I write a message with a link to my blog of the week and end it with #blog. My post is now linked to the all the blogs in the Twitter world! Pretty awesome, eh? Bad side of this coin? The same as Facebook. You don’t use it, you lose any potential benefits.
Other social media…Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, Myspace, these other sites exist for the platform as well. In addition, Goodreads, and links to other important sites such ACFW may be something you wish to add. Show your reader what’s important to you and why.
What’s the key to a stable platform? One word…communication. Every tier should communicate with the others or at least point the reader back to them in some way. All links should lead to the base, your website. The website is your home and it should never be neglected. Take care of your home, clean house, paint the walls, hang new pictures every once in a while and let your readers know what you’re up to.
Well, do you have a platform? Why should you even care?
I think of my platform as my writing home. I choose which windows to open to let the readers, publishers, and agents see different slices of my soul.
My website, Renee’s Library, denotes my love for reading. Like the library, I’ve designed it as a resource for my readers. They can find my bio, blogs, reviews, pictures, news and events, and contact information. I strive to keep information on the site up-to-date and fresh. After all, I may be unpublished, but I’m still writing!   
My blog’s title is Renee’s Inspirational Moments and I discuss a topic that impacts a Christian’s life each week from the trenches, so to speak. This little tidbit is posted on Blogger and my website and reflects my spiritual walk with Christ. This faith is a vital part of my writing as well.
My links are important to the reader. Goodreads, ACFW, Facebook, Twitter… They show who I am and how I can be contacted.
So, I may not be published but I’m writing a book or two. I’m writing a blog and maintaining a website. Throw in a blogsite, Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter! Sooner or later, someone may be able to take over and help me out but until then I’ll keep plugging away.
Until my launching platform can evolve…that is, until I can fly as a published author.
In Christ,
Renee


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