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 You see, I am to appear on my first panel as a writer, albeit unpublished, at a local small conference this month.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!