From Sarah, With Joy

Writer querying two novels and some other word babies. I tend to effervesce.

New post every Monday

Monday, September 1, 2014

How To Use Your Hobbies To Build Your Author Platform

An "author platform" is at once an urgent and ambiguous term. We hear all the time about how important it is, and how building a marketing and publicity platform is second only in importance to the writing itself. We must write the most and the best that we can, but then we must find people to read that writing.

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?

Write on!

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SUBMISSION OPPORTUNITIES:
  • 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 ReviewLittle 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

SPOTLIGHT:

14 comments:

  1. Plus...my hobbies make me happy. :) Great tips and thanks for the links.
    Edge of Your Seat Stories

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    1. Exactly :) Fun and productive. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. Thanks for all these great suggestions, Sarah. Right now I am twirling in the maelstrom of preparing for my daughter's October wedding, so I will have a few posts on that. My hobbies are sewing and knitting (plus reading - so I've gotten into doing book reviews now and then). Will have to think how to incorporate those!

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    1. Oh boy, wedding prep! I can imagine the chaos :) I think sewing and knitting pics and how-to's would be FAB! Also book reviews are awesome :)

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  3. First of all, that puppy picture is absolutely precious. And second of all, I love the idea of writing how-to's for fun and variety. I'll have to try it sometime. :)

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    1. Hee hee :) Puppies :D You find the best stuff on tumblr. Let me know if you do any of those how-to's!

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  4. Some great ideas here, I had never thought of the hobby aspect of promotion. Thanks for visiting my blog and your encouraging words.

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    1. Thank you so much! I enjoyed reading your blog. I hope these ideas help and make promotion a little easier for you!

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  5. Some really helpful tips here! Thanks for sharing and for visiting my blog! :)

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope these tips help :)

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  6. Oh, I love how you have all those submission opportunities! I'll tweet them out.

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    1. Oh wonderful! Thank you! I try to have new ones every week.

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  7. I write blogs and articles for a variety of marketing firms and your points are in line with what they advise small business owners to do to get the word out about their own businesses. Guest blogging, marketing through social media, etc. is all essential. For me, author appearances make me miserable so I've chosen to do a lot of work online. I'll do the events because it's a part of it, but you'll never see me spending every weekend sitting at book fairs or schlepping around to bookstores.

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    1. Oh interesting! If these are similar to points recommended for small businesses, hopefully that means we're on the right track ;) I have never done an author event before, so I can't speak from experience, but for me personally I think they would be fun. But definitely not as manageable and consistent as all the awesome and fun online possibilities.

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I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

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