Monday, May 16, 2011

Interview with Platform Building Extraordinaire Rachael Harrie - Part Dos

Having a good Monday yet?  Well it's about to get waaaaay better because as promised, I bring you Part Two of Rachael Harrie's interview on platform building.  If you missed part one, check it out here.  The stuff is to die for!  Seriously...

PART TWO         
DB: How important do you think it is to build a platform before you are a published author? 

RH: This is one of those questions to which there is no right answer. These days, I think it is very important to begin building a platform early. But at the same time, it’s just one factor that agents and editors will take into account when considering whether to take on your work. Many writers have still gotten an agent and had their books published even though they did not have a platform.
Having said that, I think it will become so much harder to begin building your platform after you sign on with an agent or publish your first book. It takes a lot of time and commitment to successfully build your platform, and I think unagented writers who don’t have deadlines and obligations to their agent are in a better position to spare that time to start with.

DB: All terrific points! 
Often times the idea of platform building is hard for beginning writers to wrap their brain around.   Can you give those struggling with this concept a basic step-by-step idea of how to start?

RH: Building a platform will work differently for each person. I think the most important question is: what are you comfortable doing? You need to decide which social media you want to focus on, and (more importantly) which social media you have the time to commit to. Some people find Twitter suits their needs/preferences the most, others Facebook, and others blogging. I prefer blogging over everything, though I do have a Twitter account and am on Facebook and LinkedIn. But I don’t operate equally in all of these forms of social media.
My next advice would be, don’t spread yourself too thin. You don’t have to be fantastic at each of these forms of social media, but I think you do need to be “good” at one of them (at least).

Once you’ve decided which avenue of platform-building to pursue, you need to set up your platform. Create your blog, or your Twitter account, or your Facebook page, and make sure you personalize it to you. Try to steer away from the templates/backgrounds/banners that are provided to you at the start – it’s very easy to download your own and it makes a huge difference. This is something even those who already have their platform can think about.

Make sure you’re accessible and that your personality shines through, both on your “platform” and in your travels around the blogosphere, so people start to get an idea of who you are. If people don’t know anything about you, it’s much harder for them to connect with you.
In the writing community, a good thing to remember is the saying: “It’s not all about you.” People can tell when your only interest is in promoting yourself or selling your books. Do what you can to support others, and be genuinely interested in them and in helping them to build their platforms, and they’ll do the same to you.

Also very important to realize – it takes a lot of time and commitment to build a platform. You will only get out what you put in. So if you want lots of comments on every post, for example, you need to get out into the blogosphere and comment heaps on other peoples’ posts. You can’t just “do it and they will come,” unfortunately, it just doesn’t work that way.
DB: It is hard but hard!
Where will your platform building go from here?  Do you have any future plans that may be exciting for your audience?

RH: I can only hope it will go onwards and upwards. I’m expecting my Third Writer's Crusade in August to be rather big (*grins*), and I’ll be running at least one Crusade per year thereafter. I’ve also just announced an initiative I’m starting on Rach Writes… - Beta Match. It will start on Monday June 6 and is intended to help people find critique partners and beta readers. I have some further plans along those lines, which I’ll be announcing in coming months as well. Very exciting!

DB: I can't wait!  Seriously:)

Clearly you have a great start up for a blog presence.  Have you ever thought about how you might grow it by taking your platform out into the world?
RH: Thanks J At the moment I’m content with remaining in the writing community. But who knows what I’ll come up with in the future *grins*.

DB: Are there any last parting words of advice you’d like to leave us with before you go?
RH: Be yourself when you blog/tweet etc. People can sense if you’re being “fake”

Remember that behind every little follower icon or avatar is a real person. Don’t take them for granted, and treat everyone as you would treat them in real life. Sometimes it’s as simple as thanking them for a favor they do for you, or checking to see if they’re ok if you come across an emotional blog post or tweet.

And, of course, when you’re platform-building, you’ll get out what you put in.
DB: Rach, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy life to visit me:)  You are pure awesomeness!!

RH: Thanks again for having me, it’s been fun!
Rachael has been kind enough to give back to the blogosphere writing community in a BIG BLOGOTHON I will be having in July.  Yep, it's my first and I'm biting my nails to the nubs from the excitement!  I can't wait to give you the deets so come back and check in.  I'm pretty sure you won't be sorry:)

In other blogfest news:  Here are a couple I am joining in that you might like...

and I don't even know what this one is about, but the picture looks so dang cool I've got to join in!

Until next time...
Keep writing.  Keep learning. 


Rachael Harrie said...

"Pure awesomeness" - <3 :)

I hope I've given your readers a little food for thought Deana. Can't wait for the Choose Your Own Adventure Bloghop either - keep your eye out for my entry ;)



Deana said...

That's right Rach, tried and true:)

I will be looking for that post...

Donna McDine said...

Terrific post! Thanks for the tips.

Children’s Author
Write What Inspires You Blog
The Golden Pathway Story book Blog
Donna M. McDine’s Website

Book Lover said...

Thanks for the Great tips!

Deana said...

Thanks Donna and Mandie...sweet words!