This raises two questions. First, how do we most successfully build that author platform, and second, how do we do it most efficiently, taking as little time as possible from the writing. One of the best answers I've come up with is to use aspects of our lives already in place. Kill two birds with one stone.
Use our hobbies.
I believe using our hobbies can both provide a way for us to build our author platforms, and a way for us to do it efficiently.
Here's a few ways I think we can do that.
1. Source for social media content: With smart phones, high quality pictures of basically anything are immediately shareable. And visual content is the king of modern social media. We writers typically think of posting stuff about writing on social media, but occasionally getting fun or quirky or personal can work wonders. And we want more than just our fellow writers in our audience, right? (Though our fellow writers are also incredibly important and valuable members of that audience.) So while you're out in your garden, or fixing a car, or painting, or playing guitar or chasing tornadoes or whatever it is you do, take a picture and share it. You might bring a smile to some faces.
2. Source for article ideas: Part of building a writer platform is being varied in our writing projects and gigs. Most of us write novels, but to build a platform we can add short stories, poetry, essays, scripts, and, of course, magazine articles. So if you do hair or make birthday cards or garden, that is the perfect place to start for magazine article topics. There are quite literally magazines on any topic. And here is a great place to start.
3. How-to tutorials: Tutorials are some of the most clickable and shareable content on the web, and if you have a special area of expertise, take advantage of it! Even if you have a writing blog, I don't think its bad to add a little variety to it once in a while. You can make a tutorial about planting tomatoes or sketching a dragon or making a frame out of an old book cover. I think these kind of posts will bring new readers to your audience. And don't forget to post a link on Pinterest. How-to's do particularly well over there.
4. Joining communities: Writers often reference author-specific communities, and those can be incredibly valuable. Other writers can be our mentors, guides, and biggest supporters. But if we're building a platform, and working to grow our audience, we would do best to expand to other groups as well. And this is where our hobbies can come in to play. Join an online gardening forum or gaming group. If you're interested in learning photography, maybe check out some community classes. Audition for a play at a local theater. These are all great opportunities to build your platform and grow your network. While talking with awesome people and making friends :)
5. Point of collaboration: So far we've mostly been talking about ways to incorporate our own hobbies into our platform building. But I think we can also build our author platforms by partnering up with others and utilizing their hobbies. For example, if you're not a photographer but have a friend who is, you could invite them to guest post on your blog about how to take great cover photos. Or perhaps you've always wanted to try your hand at writing songs, but aren't a musician. Maybe collaborate with a friend who plays the guitar, and another friend who likes to make music videos. I think in terms of building platform, two heads are definitely better than one.
What do you think? Are there other ways we can use our hobbies to help build our author platform?
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- Death Where the Nights Are Long: Death Where the Nights are Long is an anthology of writing about the idea and experience of death in extreme lattitudes. Due Nov. 1
- Chicken Soup for the Soul-Thanks to my Mom: We are collecting stories of thanks written by sons and daughters of all ages about their moms and stepmoms. Tell us what your mom has done for you and why you are grateful to her. Due Sep. 30
- Brickplight: Brickplight exists to promote the exploration of unique identities through daring poetry. Due Oct. 25
- Glassworks Magazine: Glassworks Magazine, a journal of literature and art publishing digitally and in print, seeks poetry, fiction, nonfiction, craft essays, art/photography, and new media (video, audio, multi-modal, etc.) for upcoming issues. Due Dec. 15
- Little Patuxent Review: Little Patuxent Review is accepting submissions of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and artwork for the Winter 2015 Food issue. How many tongues can you access through the language of food? How many minutes could you commune with a family at a foreign table, supported with the language of food? Due Nov. 1
- How to Become A Lean Mean Writing Machine (Kristen Lamb's blog)
- How I Got Over My Author Complex And Became A "Real" Writer (Make A Living Writing)
- Blogging and Social Media Tips For Writers (Social Media Just For Writers)
- The Dozen New Digital Rules Authors Need to Know (Writer Unboxed)