Building A Writer Platform
I know that I’m not the only writer who struggles with keeping a blog regularly updated. It shouldn’t be this hard. It’s writing. It’s what I do. Yet, here I am typing out this crap mere hours before the series finale of Game of Thrones. Oh, the pain of building a writer platform.
I’ve spent a lot of time on Pinterest this past week, looking for blogging tips and social media tips. It’s important to establish a routine, yes. It’s hard now, but it’s only going to be more difficult when I go back to my retail job in under a year. These Pinterest posts, though? Not helping.
I Just Want To Build A REAL Platform!
Honestly, I’m really sick of click-bait content that hypes success like a formula (and I’ve written about this before). Look up “lifestyle blog tips” and it’s a bunch of rehashed advice on monetizing content, driving traffic, growing my email list and mastering SEO optimization and Google search result rankings.
First, I don’t understand any of that.
Second, all this stuff makes me feel like I’m a dumb idiot nerd in high school again.
Reading about these new things always stresses me out. I don’t wanna figure out how to use a new app right now. I’m just an emerging author trying to build a decent writer platform. I just want a little nudge in the right direction. A little pat on the back. I want to start small and sensible.
So, here’s my real plan for Author Lifestyle Blog Platform Domination. I mean, this list is just for me, but maybe it’ll help you? Like, I’m not gonna pretend to be some master that makes $698 a month off affiliate posts or anything. I’m just like you. I’m starting out. I just want people to like me. So I’m making myself some rules:
Maintain a Writing Routine
First thing’s first, if I’m gonna be a writer, then writing’s what I’ve gotta do. So, as I mentioned in last week’s post, my goal is to write 500 words OR edit for at least an hour every day. I want to say No Exceptions, but I already made an exception last week because of all the baby farts.
No matter! I’m human and I can make excuses from time to time. The whole point is getting back on the bike, and I did eventually manage to do that. I wrote a couple of sex scenes for my new story while falling asleep in bed.
Maintain a Regular Blog Posting Schedule
So my plan was to post a “personal” or “foundation” sort of blog on a Monday, and then a smaller post on a Thursday. That already hasn’t worked, so I’m doing more of a Tuesday/Friday kind of thing? Then I missed last Friday’s post so I’m looking at a post a week sort of scenario. Who knows how long I’m gonna manage to hold that up?
One of the things that many of the lifestyle bloggers suggest is actually planning blog posts and scheduling them in advance. I do plan on getting myself into that kind of routine, but routines are hard to establish in the first place. And there’s no way in hell that I’m gonna shell out money for somebody’s blog planning printouts until I know for sure that I can manage to churn out a thought-provoking self-absorbed post every week in conjunction will all the fiction writing I plan to do.
That said, I know that I can do it. I won NaNoWriMo once and statistics prove that it takes about one month to establish a routine. The real question is whether or not the ambition is there. Only time’s gonna tell.
Maintain A Social Media Schedule
I’ve been quite shit at maintaining my Facebook author page, though the blog post updates are helping. My Twitter is virtually a ghost town. (I’m trying to be witty again, but it’s hard to maintain that wit up to Twitter’s pace, man.) I’m decent with Instagram. It’s not hard to keep up with the one-post-a-day formula but sometimes I forget.
I’m not even gonna think about Pinterest right now. Apparently, Pinterest can generate a lot of traffic if you’re creating the write blog titles and create the right graphics and repin the right stuff. What bugs me most about social media is following this magic “formula” that achieve success. Not only is the formula stressful, but it’s also aggressive and manipulative and lacks all creativity.
Maybe it’s not the best “get rich quick” formula to make a post a day about stuff that is honest and that I care about, but that’s what I’m gonna do. I need honest followers, and then when posting once a day on my chosen platforms gets daunting, then maybe I’ll consider that post scheduling app.
Send My Novel Out
So clearly the key to a proper “writer platform” is having a platform to stand on. Clearly that platform is my writing. I still need to finish editing my debut novel so I can send it to that literary agent that contacted me last April. I hope he still remembers me. I hope I won’t be too late.
My novel is a psychological horror/thriller. I don’t want to say that it’ll be “the next Gone Girl” (because everyone says that) but I really want it to be the next Gone Girl. The beta reader response to my second draft was hella good. One of my readers (and lovely writer friend!), Sarah Read, told me that my novel was “going to punch husbands in the fucking face” and I will never not smile when I read that. It’s the beta reader feedback that keeps me going.
Start A Patreon
This would literally be just so I could earn some money so I can write more and hopefully work my real job on a more part-time basis. Ideally, I would love to be a full-time writer. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I do love that Patreon exists to artists can achieve those full-time dreams while also connecting in a personal way with their fans.
At this point, I’m wary about what sort of “perks” I could offer. I still need to do some research as to how other authors have successfully utilized Patreon as a source of income. I’m not about to start perusing this path until I can meet my prior goals, but if you are a fan of my writing and might consider sending me money to help me do what I love, I would appreciate hearing from you.
Am I Missing Anything?
How do I build myself a lifeboat in the ocean of yacht-living lifestyle bloggers? If you’re a writer with some experience with building a writer platform, feel free to share some advice.
If you’re a reader of mine, let me know what keeps you coming back here. Is it the mom stuff, the writer stuff, or the hybrid of mom-writer-shopping-addict lifestyle that keeps you coming back? Or maybe you just like hot stories with literary chops like I used to write. Is that it? What kind of Patreon perks would you pay a buck a month for?
last year's girl
So I’m somewhere between writer and lifestyle blogger, but social media scheduling is actually a godsend. I’m not feeling too well this week, so once I got some paid music journalism work done and a bit of admin on my freelance day yesterday, I could see blogging far enough. But having some scheduled social media shares means it doesn’t look as though I’ve done nothing.
As for what keeps me coming back… well, I do love when you write about your writing process but it’s really just that I find you really interesting and love your style! It’s that personal connection that draws me to most of my favourite bloggers, I guess. I suspect that’s no help at all though…
Rebeccalast year’s girl
I think a personal connection is really important. It’s what I find lacking in many blogs, is that blunt honesty. These days it’s mostly about affiliate links and shit. I miss the early 00’s when you really felt like you connected with people.
I like the mom posts personally, since I’m not a writer, a fair amount of this went over my head, but the rules you set for yourself nudge at me to do something similar to actually make art again.
I come because of your honesty and humour, and because I always enjoy your posts. Obviously I enjoy your writing stuff, but also the hybrid of other stuff, because it’s what makes you relatable and gives your blog soul. Who wants to live on a yacht anyway? 😊