Saturday, 17 September 2011

RESOURCES FOR ONLINE PLATFORM-BUILDING

Today I'm speaking at the Society of Authors conference in Edinburgh. My topic is Building an Online Platform and I will first be explaining to the audience that in forty minutes it is impossible to say even a decent fraction of what they need to know, and therefore that I will be putting a small resource list on my blog.

So, here it is! It is only supposed to be a starting point for beginners and to follow on from what I will have said in my talk, but do feel free to add things in the comments.

My own resources
On this blog – on the list of "topics" (righthand menu, beneath "Latest Posts") select "Platforms and pre-publication". You'll find a load of posts there. But, for more coherence I recommend:
Write to be Published – contains info on why/how to build platform/network
and
Tweet Right – The Sensible Person’s Guide to Twitter

Blogging
Get started with Wordpress: en.wordpress.com/ (the home page has examples)
Get started with Blogger: blogger.com
How to blog (fairly technical) 
Wife in the North’s Top Ten blogging tips

Authors who blog - a tiny starting point to see the variety:
Anne Rooney, Stroppy Author - provides technical info re contracts:  
Talli Roland - chatty and friendly. Has built huge goodwill and following purely through being charming and lovely.
Essie Fox, the Virtual Victorian - historical novelist providing historical resource:  

Jake Wallis Simons - often hilarious, a very engaging way to self-promote. Great example of what a novelist can do to create an interesting blog. But must be done well - poor humour is worse than no humour.
Jen Campbell – bookseller who got a book deal from her blog (based on the strand "Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops") but is also an aspiring fiction writer who now has an agent because of the blog.

Collaborative blogs:

General platform-building tips
Business Insider - businessinsider.com/author-platform-building-checklist-2011-5
Alan Rinzler - this post includes some different aspects, such as media and public-speaking

I know my regular blog readers will come up with more useful resources. Meanwhile, as I said today, no one should ever panic about this stuff. It can seem overwhleming at first. Let your platform grow, keep it true to your own personality and allow it to adapt to circumstance. Don't try to do everything; just focus on one or two or three aspects of a platform that you feel you can manage.

But the most important thing to remember is this: it is about networking and community, not shouting about yourself. Be generous to others and people will be generous to you. 

10 comments:

Carole Anne Carr said...

Would have loved to be there. Wish there was a group in my area. Carole.

JO said...

I know we need to be doing all this, but is there any time left to write? Twitter is fun; I'm growing to love blogging - but also need time (and headspace) to get the book in the best possible shape.

Nicola Morgan said...

Jo, one of the things I said was that we have to leave time for writing, but the thing is that increasingly a platform is necessary and publishers are demanding it more and more. The fact is that if you have a platform, you will sell more books, so publishers and authors can't afford to ignore it. However, I completely agree that you need to focus on the book first.

In any case, all you're really needing to do is make contacts, learn from them, and engage with people who give good advice, and you're doing that! It does not (as I said in my talk) necessarily involve having your own blog etc.

M Louise Kelly said...

Thanks for the follow-up info. I had a long standing commitment yesterday and couldn't go either, but Carole Anne and others might be interested that there are ways of catching up on what happened via the platforms Nicola was talking about.

I just made pages of 'conference notes' for my own future use by looking at the tweets people kindly did on the day. There is an archive of them at http://t.co/ISJY45NC . Possibly even more useful and easy to navigate is the list of them that Ali George has compiled using CoverItLive. You can get to it via her blog http://12books12months.com/2011/09/17/society-of-authors-conference/

It's amazing that's she's done this, and she wasn't at the conference either!

I also think that this raises an interesting issue about on-line material being free etc. I didn't pay to go to this conference and yet i've got a full set of notes from it free... Has that done the Society of Authors a disservice? I don't think so. It's given me such a great impression of the society of authors as an organisation that as soon as i'm eligible for membership i'm going to join - and i'm sure i won't be the only one. And rather than make me feel i was glad i'd not bothered shelling out to go, I really felt i'd have loved to have been there, to meet such an interesting bunch of people and socialise/shmooze/laugh with them. It also left me with a really good feeling about those who took the time to tweet. Thanks.

Nicola Morgan said...

Louise - wow, that's an interesting thing Ali George (nearly wrote Ali G...) did. Thanks for the link.

You are completely right that it doesn't do any of us a disservie because it was by no means even 10% percent of what was said. And the twitter feed is useful for all the reasons you give.

Marsha said...

Aw! You've just made me grin, Nicola. Thank you so much for the shout-out, and for your kind words!

Sue Sedgwick said...

Well, I decided on impulse to start a blog a couple of months ago. I don't know why, I suddenly thought "Why don't I see if I could do that?" and I'm amazed how easy it's been. I've found 'Blogging for Dummies' a help but actually I think I could have managed without it. I use blogspot. I'm reading more blogs as well now, and feeling my way into the space. As for it getting in the way of my book writing, I don't think it does. I'm a firm believer in keeping the writing wheels oiled (sorry for the dumb metaphor): I think the more you write, the more you write. I'm a total convert, and I'm all set up for when I get that deal ... Witter - sorry, Twitter - next, perhaps?

Sue Sedgwick said...

Well, I decided on impulse to start a blog a couple of months ago. I don't know why, I suddenly thought "Why don't I see if I could do that?" and I'm amazed how easy it's been. I've found 'Blogging for Dummies' a help but actually I think I could have managed without it. I use blogspot. I'm reading more blogs as well now, and feeling my way into the space. As for it getting in the way of my book writing, I don't think it does. I'm a firm believer in keeping the writing wheels oiled (sorry for the dumb metaphor): I think the more you write, the more you write. I'm a total convert, and I'm all set up for when I get that deal ... Witter - sorry, Twitter - next, perhaps?

Sue Sedgwick said...

PS Apologies for the double post. Not sure how that happened.

Dan Holloway said...

Many of you know it already, but I've been writing a column called What Not to Tweet on social media and marketing (of the non-aggressive kind) for writers in Words With Jam magazine for a couple of years now (www.wordswithjam.co.uk). The magazine is available in print but there are superb free pdfs as well, and although my column probably isn't up to much, there's lots of fabulous stuff in the rest of the mag