Excising That Demon Named Doubt!

"What's the point of social media and building an author platform if you aren't published yet?" the girl in the third row said as she lowered her hand.

Heat climbed from my chest, up my neck, warming my cheeks. I cast a quick sidelong glance to my fellow panel members and could not think of a response. The audience watched me with growing skepticism. Many began to fidget. I wanted to sink into the floor.

This was the star attraction in my recent nightmares...as in, just last night. You see, I am to appear on my first panel as a writer, albeit unpublished, at a local small conference this month. I will be talking about building an author platform.

And I. Am. Terrified.

So I thought I'd excise this fear plaguing me and use you, my dear bloggy followers, to show myself that I can actually answer this question and do it well. *grin*

So what is the point of social media before you are published? Why bother wasting good time that you could be working on your manuscript?

The answer is simple really. It takes time to build an online following. Lots of time. If you can put yourself out there, build your 'brand', your followers will buy your book because they like you. When they read your well written book, they will then love your writing as well.

So what is an author platform? A platform is how well known you are...everywhere. It is your resume. It is your 'brand'. You are your brand.

An online platform is a large piece of that. If you can put yourself out there, make people like you for you, then they are going to want you to do well. Because they like you, they'll be curious of what you write. You'll have reached them on a personal level. The more people you can reach, the more books you are likely to sell, and the more attention you'll garner from a publisher.

Publishers want authors who have done much of the publicity themselves. Gone are the days when they would coach you through what to do. In this fast paced market, you are expected to figure it out on your own. And if  you don't? Well, you probably won't do so well. Publishers just do not have the money or time to do it for  you. With online publishing, a book is hot for a short time before it better produce numbers or disappear. Sad, but true.

If you can show a publisher that you are serious about making it, that you are willing to spend time on building your public image and have it ready to go when they are considering extending you that contract, then when the time comes for a publisher to choose between you and the poor Joe/Jane with work equally as good, but no platform...well, you can see where I am going with this. *wink*

Yes, writing a good book is extremely important! But if you don't have a platform with which to promote said good work, then you may find that publishers just pass you over for someone who has both.

Building a platform before you are published IS important. So take that, little doubting demon inside my dreams. I am so not afraid of you...


I would like to share with those attending my panel session the blog hops and challenges that will be coming up this last half of the year. I need your help, bloggy friends. IF you know of a blog hop or challenge, please leave the name of it and a link in the comments below. THANKS!


Elise Fallson said…
Oh, great post! And I'm sure you'll do fine on the panel. Wish I could attend the conference, I'm so jealous! You'll have to let us know how it went. (:

I agree that building a platform is important in getting your name out there and promoting your future book. But, I've found it to be so much more. I've discovered the writing community to be incredibly supportive and generous. Not only that, but I've learned so much and have grown as a writer thanks to the help and advice I've received from the many talented writers/bloggers I've 'met' online. In short they are AWESOME! (:

Participating in blogfests also helps build your platform and challenges your writing skills. Writing is a very lonely journey but the online writing community is there to help you get through periods of doubt if you need.

Ok, I better stop now before I clog up your comment box (: Good luck at the conference and have FUN!!!
michelle said…
Hi Sabrina. My first time here. I found you through Elise, and she has expressed it perfectly... the online community rocks!
Enjoy the conference!
Bess Weatherby said…
Great answer.

You know, it really is such a shame that writers now have to promote themselves. The world is asking the most insecure, introspective people to SELL. And not just sell anything. Sell themselves. Oi. Cruel, cruelty.

But it looks like you are doing a fine job of it :) Good luck at the panel!
Morgan said…
Sabrina, I seriously adore you. Looooove this post. Love it. You're so spot on... and besides, it's fun. We get to connect with other awesome people that are just as crazy as we are ;)
Cortney Pearson said…
This is so true! It really is important to have an online presence! Good luck at the panel! :D
Michael Di Gesu said…
Hi, Sabrina,

Such an "in tune" post. We all need a presence but not just for that "perfect" agent, but to learn, contribute, and make long lasting friends in one of THE most amazing communities out there. Ours.

Good luck.

Now as far as blog hops etc. The best person to know for this is Alex J. Cavanaugh.( http://alexjcavanaugh.blogspot.com/ ) He always has lists of what's happening around the blogosphere. AND he is the kindest and most helpful guy.

Also Donna Hole ( http://donnahole.blogspot.com/) is an AMAZING Lady and one you should know. She is also a good fountain of information.
Sabrina A. Fish said…
Thank you all for the words of encouragement! I do love my bloggy family.
Ashley Rachelle said…
This is very applicable to aspiring models as well ;)

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