What is a Writer’s Platform? 10 Tips for a Writing Portfolio
First, you must learn what a writer’s platform is. Then, you must use these tips for building your online writing portfolio – because a writer’s platform will help you get published and increase book sales! These tips are for writers who want to reach more readers and show publishers their skill.
Before the tips, a quip:
“What I had that others didn’t was a capacity for sticking to it.” ~ Doris Lessing.
If you want to be a published, fellow scribes, you need to persevere…and stand on a solid writing platform…
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Your writing platform is how well you’re known — how big an audience you have. Oprah, for instance, has a massive writing platform…and I have an itsy bitsy one. Since a writer’s platform can make or break your chances of selling a book proposal or manuscript to a publisher or literary agent, you need to know how to build your writing portfolio…
What is a Writer’s Platform and How Does it Help?
Your writing platform is a tool you use to promote yourself and sell your writing. To build a strong writing platform, you need to be an entrepreneur and marketing guru with established followers. It’s a tall order – but take heart! In our modern technological age, it’s possible and not too difficult to do.
Your writing platform proves your ability as a writer to promote and sell your book on a national or international level, which drives book sales. It provides a measure of security to the publisher and acts as a vehicle to promote your book and you, the writer.
Some writing and publishing experts say not having a writing platform is an automatic death sentence to an article query or book proposal. If you don’t have a writing platform, you won’t get published. According to Frishman and Spizman’s book Author 101 Bestselling Book Proposals: The Insider’s Guide to Selling Your Work, building your writing platform is not only necessary, it’s essential.
10 Tips for Building a Writing Platform or Portfolio
Create a website or blog that represents your work as a writer
Create your own website with blogs, forums, newsletters, and photos. If you don’t have a website, don’t worry! It’s easy and effective to start a writing blog. To promote your website and yourself as a writer/blogger, use social media, such as Twitter for writers, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
Write or blog for established websites
If you’re not blogging or writing for an e-zine or online organization, it’s time to start! I write for Suite101, and I love it. It doesn’t pay as much as About.com (who I don’t write for but really wanted to for awhile) but…every bit of income and exposure counts! To learn more, read Is Suite101 Worthwhile for Writers?
Create your niche
Figure out what your specialty or niche is, then build your writing platform around that. For example, I love love love “quips and tips”, created six “Quips and Tips” blogs. I’m also a health and wellness writer. It’s easier to build a writer’s platform or portfolio if writers have specialties.
Promote your niche by giving talks
Give talks about your specialty in schools, churches, libraries, local groups, etc. Personally, I’d rather give myself a Brazilian wax than than give talks about writing. I love to talk about writing and blogging with people, but I don’t want to teach it.
Teach about writing, or about your writing specialty
Teaching workshops or classes is a great way to expand your platform — especially if you teach sessions at writers’ conferences, where publishers and editors can see you in action!
Create products that advertise your writing business
Some bloggers make and sell their own t-shirts, mugs, pens, etc. This is can be a creative way to “market your brand” (which is another way of saying “build your writer’s platform”).
Hang out in forums and online communities
Taking time to participate in online communities and forums can increase your writing platform. Make sure you offer thoughtful comments and helpful information — don’t just spam your stuff. Take this tip a step further by reading 6 Ways to Promote Your Book for Free.
Give it away for free
Sell or donate magazine articles or bits of your book to magazines, newspapers, or newsletters. Writing for free can be a great way to build your writing platform.
Add research to your writing portfolio
Conduct focus groups or send out surveys to convince publishers that your idea has merit and will sell. This will build your writing platform by giving you tangible support.
Ask for a commitment
Ask an organization to commit to buying a hundred or so copies of your published book – and include their letter of commitment with your book proposal.
The idea behind creating a writer’s platform is to get your name and writing out there as much as possible! Publicity begets publicity, writing begets writing, getting published begets getting published, books beget books…
For more tips on building your writing portfolio, read Get Known Before The Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform.
For more platform-building tips, read Twitter for Writers – How Tweets Help Writing Careers.
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Fellow scribes, what are your tips for creating a writer’s platform? I welcome you below!