Creating an Author Platform

author platform start
Minimalist Landscape No. 10, watercolor, 24″x36″, Priscilla Bettis

The good thing about starting from zero as a newbie writer and building an author platform is I get to choose where and how I want to express myself. It’s like starting with a painter’s minimalist landscape, empty and not populated by houses or people (a dark landscape of course . . . because there will be ghosts and banshees and stuff). Where do I want to put houses, and more important, where do I want to put the cemetery and the haunted mansion?

“Do not confuse social media followers with customers.” -Chuck Wendig

Twitter? Nah. Facebook? Not my cup of tea. Besides, did you know that only about 6% of your FB friends see your posts? ( That doesn’t sound like a very effective means of reaching people. Notice I said “reaching people” and not “reaching potential readers.” Author Chuck Wendig ( cautions writers not to confuse social media followers with customers. Point taken.

How about Goodreads?

Reaching people through blogging, now that’s more my style, especially since I enjoy visiting other writerly blogs, but is having a blog enough? I poked around, looking at what other horror writers do. So many authors are on Goodreads. They interact with fans and join in on discussion groups. There are things about Goodreads that leave me puzzled. (A political discussion group on a book website? What for?) But mostly, the site makes sense:

readers and authors getting together.

I quickly created a Goodreads account and signed up for the Literary Horror discussion group plus requested access to the Literary Darkness group. (You have to get permission to join some of the groups.)

The idea, of course, is if when I get published, I can move from Goodreads “reader membership” to “author membership.”

Wendig also says to get outside your home and meet people, and not just other writers.

I’m going to a neighborhood party tomorrow where I will no doubt meet people. I say that counts as a means of populating my writerly landscape!

36 thoughts on “Creating an Author Platform

  1. It sounds like you have realistic expectations. I researched a lot before I started blogging and before I self-published. I don’t think I get any sales from Twitter or Facebook, but I connect with other authors. Most of my readers come from Goodreads. I love that site, except it’s kind of annoying now how it has to be linked up to Amazon accounts. My Kindle app is more fussy now.

    Good luck with your publishing journey!

    Keep smiling,

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that Goodreads can be a great way for authors and readers to interact if it is done right. A lot of authors use the site as a way to spam potential readers. It has happened to me so much that I will no longer accept friend requests from any author I haven’t previously interacted with.

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  3. A couple of great tips – thanks – especially the one about Goodreads. I receive their emails as a reader but had no idea on how you can connect there. I’m a new writer like you Priscilla —different genre. So I’m enjoying following your journey. Early days for me but I’ve got my domain at least. Still looking for the angle. Happy writing or maybe I should wish you Scary writing!


  4. Thank you for your kind words. Hmm, from your feminine dresses in the background of your Avatar, and your pink sweater, I’m going to guess your genre is romance?? (“Scary writing,” haha!) Happy writing back at you, Charlotte!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, this is a 9 year old photo from when I first opened our boutique (among other things I painted clothes). My genre comes under women’s fiction (dysfunctional relationships, complications and intrigues) 🙂

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  5. I haven’t done much on the Goodreads front I must admit. I’ve got the Twitter, FB, linked in and blog thing going okay (probably not going to reach those customers, but I’ve got friends and contacts). As for going OUTSIDE to to meet people… *shudder*. As a horror writer I’d think you’d be all anti going out… think of the terrors out there!
    Monsters, murderers and worse… small talk 😳

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha, “small talk,” yes, you’re right, but I’m forcing myself outside my comfort zone! Plus, our little neighborhood get-togethers help build a sense of community which is good for everyone. Thanks for commenting, Jessica!

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  6. I never got into Facebook or Twitter, and fell into Pinterest by accident looking for images while writing SWCF, but it’s more of a distraction than anything now. I post reviews on Goodreads, but haven’t taken the time to figure out how to really work the site. I find it rather labyrinthine. It is useful for getting an idea what a book is like before committing to reading it. Good luck with the platform building!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Labyrinthine”! That’s exactly how it felt when I was wandering through GR yesterday. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. I assume it’ll get easier with time. Thanks for commenting, Audrey!

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  7. “there will be ghosts and banshees and stuff” LOL! made me laugh BUT so true! 🙂

    I love how you landscape looks already You had me at cemetery and the haunted mansion?

    I like socializing in the bookish community. With very few exceptions it’s a very supportive community but I wouldn’t say I LOVE social media. I’m definitely not a Facebook person and I’m beginning to think I don’t enjoy Twitter as much as I thought. I’m though trying to be more engaged with GR and bookstagram. I find those two platforms very positive!

    And Chuck is totally right! I know that many of my bookish friends, I would even say my dearest don’t even read the genres I write 🙂

    I would love to eventually meet some potential readers but, for a shy introvert like me, the community has been a way to overcome many challenges. What I love most about my platform is meeting people like you that keep me inspired and motivated 🙂

    You are TOTALLY right about the importance of staying connected with “real life” I have a post coming up the first week of February about that. And I’m super excited (and utterly terrified) about the writers meetup I joined. As a Non-Native English writer I’m extremely, painfully shy and anxious to mingle with native English writers. But one good thing is, most humans are good and accepting. 🙂


    1. I’m looking forward to your post in February about being connected in real life.

      I can’t tell when you’re chatting in comments that you are a non-native English writer. I bet it comes through, though, as a STRENGTH, in your fiction writing voice.

      Thanks for commenting, Daniela!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. There’s so much useful advice here (followers not customers struck a chord!). I especially like the prompt to get out and meet people in real life, which is something I actively pursue. I spend so much time working on my own and connecting electronically with people that it would be easy to lose touch with what’s actually going on in the world, rather than the ‘reality’ that is portrayed online.


  9. Wishing you lots of luck building your platform. As a book blogger, I’ve found the community to be a really rewarding place to be a part of and I love being able to interact with authors. I hope networking online and offline opens many doors for you and your writing!

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  10. This is such a good point to bring up – social followers do not equal subscribers. I’ve was working hard on building my social platforms, when growing a community within one appropriate network with actual fellow readers and writers is a much better use of time. Here on WordPress, for example, I can find a more suitable audience to share with.
    Great points, Priscilla!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ama. I agree. Besides, even more important than a platform is having a good product, so the first thing I did when I got up this morning (okay, the second thing because coffee was first) was write! Thanks for commenting.:-)


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