Platform Building: How to Fail

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Image via CrunchBase

You got that coveted three-book deal with Penguin. You know that to ensure success, you have to build a platform, that is find potential customers. So you fire up your twitter feed, add people onto google+ and have exceeded one thousand friends on facebook. You set up HooteSuite, and you think you’re in business.

English: Google+ wordmark
English: Google+ wordmark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But you fail. Why? Maybe it’s because you:

  1. post the same feed to all your social networks, so those who are linked to you see the same message over and over and over again.
  2. highjack the feed with post after picture after re-post. Have you ever had a friend who constantly calls, texts, drops by? Can get tiring
  3. never respond to anyone else’s posts
  4. never show the personal side of your life–just your livelihood
Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...
Image via CrunchBase

Platform building isn’t about spamming the world. Until you’re Jerry Jenkins, Justin Beiber or Julia Roberts, no one will care that your latest YA romance about poltergeists has just been released, unless the reader is a fourteen-year-old girl who followed the Twilight saga. Maybe.

Case in point. I run this fabulous blog. When I check the traffic sources viewing it, I discover only people from facebook or from search engines read it. Never from other social media sites. With my twitter and google+ accounts, I do what I said not to do. I only post that I have a new blog up, and the end result is no traffic.

However, on facebook, I interact with my “friends.” I read the posts, laugh at the jokes and respond. Many of these people have become, if not real friends, more than just names. Those people visit the blog from time to time. And when I’m really lucky, share it.

Think smart about networking. Simply seeing your name scroll by will do nothing to build your platform.

What other things do we do that fail to build up our network?

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  1. Thank you, Heather. I agree, pushing our own work will never get us a sale. I've bought books from those I've had a connection with, but if one of my feeds gets spammed with self-promotion, I just hide the poster and then forget he/she exists.

    It is about humility and having something someone wants.

  2. Yes! The blogs I return to are the ones where the authors personally respond to comments. You can get lots of info from blogs, but feel no personal connection with the author, therefore, you don't care if you re-visit that blog or not. And AS authors, it's all about connecting with future readers, right? I ignore all those endless-loop twitter feeds praising and PUSHING their own books. But an interesting comment or insight about writing, or your book–those draw me in. Humility–it's a valuable key in this biz! Great post, Carol!

  3. Things do take time. I love facebook because I connect with people. The other two are strictly "work" related. I've loved getting to know you and your family and feeling like real friends.

  4. Thanks, Linda. I'm on the point in facebook to hide all the people who just clutter up my page with advertisements (essentially). They can be my twitter people because I haven't really gotten into that.

    But who on facebook would buy your books? Only those you've connected with. (and that's a generic you…not personal 🙂 )

  5. Joi, I love facebook and I try hard to interact with people there. I'm twitter handicapped and no one I really know is on google+. I wholeheartedly believe social networking only works when there's a connection with people. Thanks for commenting.

  6. Think smart. Love it. 🙂 I have a blog because it's what I'm 'supposed to do'. But, I love facebook. I hang out there far more than I should, and like you have made many great friends from there. So, I have an author page as well. It's growing slowly. Slowly but surely. These things take time, don't they?
    All the best as you write for His glory, Lucy

  7. Great post. I'm guilty of the multiple posts things…good idea not to be so thorough all the time!

  8. Thanks for the post! I'm working hard at building up my platform! Definitely gave me some things to consider. 🙂

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