As a writer who has any intention of publishing, you’re always told that you need a platform. Not a week goes by when you don’t hear from someone extolling the virtues of blogging or getting involved in social media. You also hear from people who say you need to post two or three times a week to make an impact.
Maybe this is true, but I suspect it really depends on what you’re using the blog for. If it’s your livelihood, a strand of your business, then, yes, you need to be posting two, three or maybe more times a week. However, for a novelist, your strategy will be very different.
When I first set out with this blog, it was because I knew at some point I would need a platform. However, it was never my biggest priority.
The reason for this is clear – I’m a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes.
I knew when I was setting up the blog that I was building a platform, but not by shouting ‘buy my book’, by sharing my experiences and advice to help others. As a writer, spending time on blogging and social media is a great way to make contacts, but it should never be your number one priority.
You must always remember that writing your books, novellas or short stories must come first. There’s no point in setting up a platform if it’s going to distract you from finishing anything. You need to have something to promote or experience to talk about but if you’re not getting along with the work you intend to publish then a blog becomes a moot point.
My blog will form part of my marketing strategy for self-publishing later this year. I’ve started to blog more regularly in the last three or four months, but I wouldn’t hesitate to change my schedule if I needed to focus on my writing. In fact, I took a break of more than a year while I was self-editing my first book. Book Two is now going through the stages of self-editing and I need to keep pushing on with that. This means that big chunks of time – Saturdays and Sundays, for example – must be used for that and not preparing posts for the blog (as I’m doing now). Instead I’ll be using any spare time I have in the week for drafting and posting to the blog.
So it’s a case of balance and, as I’m a writer who blogs, writing will always be the priority and the blog can take a back seat if necessary. It’s important to remember to set your priorities at an achievable level. Yes, I want to grow my readership on the blog but it’s only one part of my platform. My 570 Twitter followers will also form part of my marketing strategy and I’ll be trying to build my presence there as well.
But most importantly I won’t give up writing time for the blog. Writing has to be my priority if I’m to go ahead with publishing. After all, if I’ve got nothing to sell, then my platform becomes a waste of time.
So, I’ll always be a writer who blogs, and not a blogger who writes.
What about you? Do you have a blog? Does it take priority over your writing, or do you have a way to squeeze in both? Start the discussion in the comments below.