Platforms are for diving into the unending abyss…
James and I have been discussing platforms, marketing and all sorts of hair pulling topics. You can read some of his reactions in Art of Blogging. I’ve actually been having this similar discussion with others. James suggested I blog about it since he felt I knew what I was doing. I hesitated because I’m trying to leave it free for each to make up his or her mind about what marketing strategies work for them. These are some of my thoughts on the subject though. I don’t want to come off as discouraging or even hypocritical.
So, what is it you expect to get from your platform? If you’re the little guy and expect to sell books…hang it up and put up a static website. Don’t blog.
If you spend hours each week to post once or every day and expect a return on investment to be people gathering to buy or read your book…you will be sorely disappointed.
Visitors come to your blog for entertainment or information they were seeking. Usually it’s free.
The platform push is due to already celebrities writing books. They already have a following. Publishers competing in today’s market see how well these writers are doing with their sales and encourage every writer to have a platform and promote their book.
Platforms don’t really work for us little people. Go to my followers and you’ll see one or two “fans”, several writer friends, and the rest are people who want me to buy their book or visit their blog.
Go to twitter and oh gosh, nothing but writers selling books to each other. Facebook is even worse despite what groups promise.
For the little writer, platforms are for support. Not much else. They’re for connecting to a very few people.
I think that connection is well worth whatever I put into this platform or any of my platforms.
Unless I become a household name, I don’t expect to sell books via my platforms. Even high demand authors don’t sell their works through their sites at mind bending rates.
If you want to sell books via platforms do some research on click through rates. They’re depressing. Then go a step further and do research on conversion rates. It’s where browsers are turned into buyers. After clicking through links and reading over blurbs, checking out covers…one in one thousand decides to buy a book.
I have around 1400 followers. Of those maybe a dozen are friends. I interact with them. Of the 1400, I am guessing maybe 8 will purchase my stories. At most. I might get two reviews from those purchases. That is 8 more than I probably would have had without the blog. However, think how much time I have put into this blog, in e-mails, facebooking, tweeting or whatever. I’m worth more than that or so my paycheck job thinks so.
I’m perfectly fine with this because I have quickly shed the delusion that platforms and followers equal book sales.
So, as writers, we have to decide what the ROI is for platforms. How much time and effort we are willing to give these medias?
I say establish them. All of them. Sign up.
Pick a few favorites and be yourself. Don’t try to sell your book. Allow others to try to sell it in moderation. Try talking about things other than writing. Try to make genuine connections and have fun. No schedules.
Engage as much as you’re able with out hurting your priorities. Reaching out gains support and can possibly gain a new reader. Engaging doesn’t mean promoting your book unsolicited. It’s the equivalent of a telemarketing call and we all love those.
Make it obvious if someone comes for a lookie that you have a book for sale. Don’t make people dig to find out you are an author or have books.
If you write under different names will it benefit or hurt you to have separate platforms? I personally plan on having everything under one blog. And that happens to be a person who excels at compartmentalization talking.
I don’t consider this blog my platform anymore. It’s my blog. I happen to enjoy writing and reading along with lots of other things. I’ll blog about what makes me happy.
My motivation and ROI comes from my connections. I love the interactions I have with other writers and readers here. I don’t expect any of them to buy one of my stories.
Going into blogging with this mindset leaves me free. I don’t put pressure on myself to come up with specific content.
Another ROI is I am easier to find so one day when someone googles me, they can find me.
What the blog platform gives me:
- connections to others for support
- connections to others who will possibly talk about my stories
- connection with others who will possibly talk about my blog posts
- connections with others who have nothing to do with writing or publishing. All work and no play burns Winter out.
- Makes me easier to find which I feel is the best way to market for new authors. Be easier to find.
- Should I change my mind, it’s here. I’ve practiced. I can pick it up with out a lot of hassle.
When it comes time for the stories to start coming out, sure I’ll blog about it. Not because I really expect people to buy, but because it is something I’m excited about and I will want to share that.
Since I’ve added Bella to the mix that is my life, I’ve had a huge reduction in available time. My blogging and interactions have suffered. I’m here, just spread a bit thinner.
Doing the research I’ve done over the past two months has really helped me prioritize things.
I’m a pseudo-mom. I’m a girlfriend. I’m a daughter. I’m a reader. I’m a writer. I am a career person. I do the laundry and cook meals. I’m a blogger from time to time.
Now to finish up my five year plan…and if you want to CONNECT with me…talk to me, pick my brain, ask questions…feel free to follow me. Tell me about your platform experiences. I’m eager to learn what seems to work effectively.