Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Lorena Knapp: 5 Must-Learn Lessons to a Building Successful Author Platform


You've heard about the importance of building your online platform as a writer. You may have dabbled a bit with a Facebook page or creating a blog or website but you've been meaning to do more (or get started!) but you feel overwhelmed. You don't know where to focus your time and energy. Let's start with what we know about platform building:

1. Bigger Platform = Bigger Readership

Joanna Penn's blog, The Creative Penn, was named one of the Write to Done's Top Ten Blogs for Writers for the past three years. She has this to say about the importance of building a readership:
Getting a book published does NOT equate to readership. You must cultivate a readership every day of your life, and you start TODAY. Your readers will not be interested in reading just one book; they will be interested in everything and anything you do—and that includes interacting with you online. Audience development doesn’t happen overnight (or even in 6 months or a year)—and it’s a process that continues for as long as you want to have a readership. It shouldn’t be delayed, postponed, or discounted for one minute. 

2. Start Now

The biggest mistake writers make in terms of marketing and publicity for their book is starting too late.
 It is never too early or too late to start building your platform as a writer. 

3. Don’t Fear the Tech

Two reasons that people often cite for not doing something is fear of failure and not knowing how to do something. For a non-techie person, creating an online home can feel overwhelming. There are more and more tools available to help simplify the technical aspects of building a blog or website. You don't need to be an expert- you just need a commitment to get started. 

4. Design Matters

The number one reason people leave a website is a problem with the designWe need architects, plumbers and electricians (and sometimes even interior designers) to create a home that makes us feel comfortable and welcome. The same is true for your online home. A theme provides this for your blog or website. We are influenced by writers we love and often emulate their style. Adopt the techniques of successful bloggers and useful websites you spend time perusing.  

5. Schedule Platform Building Time

Just as we must schedule time to write, we must also schedule time to develop our platform. Anne Lamott encourages us to write word by word. Set up a structure to build your readership follower by follower. 

Starting later this month (Feb. 18), I’ll be leading a series of workshops designed to help guide you through the process of creating your online home. Each week a short mini-lesson will be offered ranging from blogging tips and techniques to twittering like a pro. The remainder of the class will be used as lab time to work on building your platform during which I’ll be available to offer feedback and suggestions as well as technical assistance. You'll have the time, resources, and support needed to create a welcoming and inviting online home that promotes your work as a writer. Click here to register


Lorena Knapp is a medivac helicopter pilot. She uses her time between flights to write and build her platform. Prior to flying she was a public school teacher in the Anchorage School District. She’s been published in Alaska Magazine and blogs at BigStateBigLife.com.

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