Finding the Balance: Between Writing and Building an Author Platform

I’m one of those guilty of neglecting one aspect of my life when the other gets hectic. For instance, I ignore my friends when my job gets demanding, and stop exercising as long as my jeans fit. As a writer I unintentionally create an imbalance between writing and building a platform. Though some argue that writing is far more important than the platform itself, finding a balance between the two is critical. I know this post is directed to writers, but anyone else looking to start a career or a business can relate to this.

First of all, let’s talk about the importance of building a platform. When writing, you work your brain’s muscles to the limits to come up with a piece of art. However, after the creative work is done, writing becomes a business, and the writer becomes a businessman who needs to pitch and sell his creations. That is when building a platform comes in. It’s like creating a market to sell your product to.

Creating this market can be performed through several venues: blogs, twitter accounts, Facebook’s personal and fan pages… All are important and efficient. However, the most important of all is timing. For instance, if you wrote a novel (or developed a product), found yourself a decent publisher (or investor), your book hit the bookstores, then you decided to start building a platform, then you are a tad too late. Not that no one will buy your book if you arrive late; the thing, however, is that you need to build a lasting connection with your readers.

Purchasing a book, like any other purchasing decision, undergoes a certain cognitive process that transports the consumer from the point of awareness of his need to point of purchase and beyond. To arrive at the purchase point, the customer needs to believe that the probability that he will regret the purchase is minimal. That’s when their familiarity with the writer (or any other professional) comes in handy. Your customers need to trust and be familiar with who you are as a writer and a person before they put money out of their pockets into yours. “[Trust] plays a vital role in almost any commerce involving monetary transactions,” says Dan J. Kim in his paper Trust and Satisfaction, Two Stepping Stones for Successful E-Commerce.

Also, many publishers (as well as investors) examine the size of your platform before they sign a book deal with the writer. Not that any book had been rejected due to the size of an author’s platform (unlike many business deals that get rejected if the entrepreneur doesn’t have a solid market platform). A decent following, therefore, is a major advantage in the eyes of investors.

Now that you know a couple of important reasons why building a platform is important, let’s talk about the balance between creating and selling. First, I’m one of those guilty of neglecting my blog on several occasions, especially when I’m too busy with writing. However, I discovered that staying active on social media was easier than I thought.

In you free time, write a number of posts for the coming week or so, and place them in a folder. Sure you will have time to post them online during the afternoon. There are also features on WordPress that helps you schedule your posts to appear at a certain time. That way you can remain active even in your sleep! In fact, this post you’re reading was scheduled to appear on your timeline from the night before. This feature can also be applied using an application like Tweetdeck for Twitter.

It’s important to know that staying connected is not just about posting, it’s also about interacting with your audience. Mingle with my followers by reading their posts and commenting on them from time to time. It’s a way of showing that you care and of saying: You’re not just a prospect buyer to me. At the end of the day, people who genuinely care about you are the ones who would support you the most. So strive to build lasting relations with those around you — even virtually.

How do you maintain a balance between doing your business and building your business’s platform?

Connect with me on Twitter: @MissBenison

Heads up: I’m changing the domain name for the blog soon. So if my posts stop appearing on your home page, then you probably need to un-follow then re-follow the blog. This is going to cost me a lot of followers, but I think it’s worth it to take my blog to the next level. Meanwhile, you can subscribe to my blog via email and stay updated.

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23 thoughts on “Finding the Balance: Between Writing and Building an Author Platform”

  1. Carving time for social media and writing can be tough. I too tend to shy away from social media when I’m writing. I gave up twitter recently because I found it took up so much time. I will go back on there at some stage but between writing and blogging (and the other life which pays the bills) I find time can become scarce (o:

  2. The balance you are talking about is very important. Finding time for all the important aspects of life is a constant struggle.

  3. As I just finished the first edit on my first novel, this post was very timely. I’ve been trying, in between times, to figure out what I want to do for a website, but it fell by the wayside while I finished the edit on my book. Now, I find that with time on my hands, I’m looking at all of the neglected projects and am a tad flummoxed. One thing I do manage, however, is daily (or nearly daily) blog posts. Thank you for this insight.

  4. I guess many businesses – not only writers – forget about the need of an interconnected audience, following your blogs, social media or interacting in any other way. And then they can just be standing there waiting for customers…
    You wrote a nice reminder for people who forget about the essentials 🙂

    Good luck with the domain change!

  5. Thanks for the insight and advice–as I near the completion of my first novel, the next phase seems more daunting than any blank page ever felt.

  6. Excellent post! I try to balance the writing and social media as well. My goal is to blog once a week, and try to tweet at least once a day. I am slowly, s..l..o..w..l..y gaining an audience, so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and try to look into how I can improve myself in the future. I hope you don’t mind, I’ve linked your blog post on my website. If found a REALLY useful, step by step tutorial on starting your own blog that I wrote a post about, and added a link to your words of wisdom there.

  7. I’ve needed help with this for awhile. I’ve been very productive as I write the second draft of my novel. Unfortunately, I’m having a hard time finding time to keep my blog updated. For two years, I’ve sought to find the balance between building my platform and writing. So far, it seems like I can only do either or successfully.

    Now I know better! It’s a great idea to write my posts in advance and schedule them so I won’t have to worry about staying on track. That’s what I’ll do from now on. Thanks so much for your insight on this topic!

  8. Good perspective here — thanks. Unfortunately, these days, you have to be a marketer AND a writer. It can be quite overwhelming at times, can’t it? To be honest, I love to write and really don’t like to market so this is something I need to focus on this summer. Having blogged daily since December 2010, this has been a wonderful platform to share my book but apparently, I need to do more! So, this summer, one of my goals is to become “Social Media” savvy. We’ll see how THAT goes! 🙂 Thanks for your good words!

  9. There’s a lot of truth in what you say. Blogging can be time consuming, but it can also improve your writing skills and garner an audience at the same time.

  10. I focus on social media Monday-Thursday, for the most part, especially for WordPress. I noticed that Fridays are slower on views/responses. Plus, by Friday, I need a break. 🙂 I want to change my schedule to work on photography Monday-Thursday and work on writing Friday-Sunday. Oh, I try to exercise three times per week. Sometimes, I do, sometimes…not so much. 🙂

  11. I’m guilty of neglecting a lot of things too. Usually my writing is the first thing to go unfortunately. But I’m trying to change that as well.

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