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September 19, 2012

            It’s not enough to just write and get published. You have to have some kind of platform if you’re a non-fiction writer. If you write fiction, you at least need a web site. As a fiction writer, it doesn’t hurt to have some kind of platform either. I write mainly fiction, at least where novels are concerned, yet I chose to develop a platform as many of my co-authors have done.

            What does that mean? An author can have a passive web site. You can build a nice fancy web presence, slap a bunch of info on it about your books and let it go until the next book comes out. People can come across it, read it, move on. There’s no motivation to come back unless they’re checking to see if a new book is coming out. Your hits are going to be generated either by fans hitting it for the first time, or for a revisit it to see if there’s news of a new book. If you are a best-selling author, well… you’l have a huge amount of hits and nothing to worry about. You can do close to nothing with your web site and you’re guaranteed massive hits with fans coming in for any little tidbit you or your publicity agent wants to throw at them.

            Okay, let’s get serous now. If you’re reading this, I’ll almost bet you’re not one of those best-selling authors. You’re a struggling author like me, trying to catch that lucky break. You need to develop a fan base, a way to get your name out there in the world-wide-web, a way to weasel your way into the electronic subconsciousness where things happen.

            You need a platform or some way to get your name out.

            Can a passive web site with your unpublished, tentative book titles do it? Please!

            Some do it by blogging, talking about stuff they’re passionate about. The subject matter may pertain to the stories they’re writing or they may not. In my case, I’m passionate about writing fiction, so I mostly (though not exclusively) write about fiction. This web site has sections about astronomy, woodworking and other stuff as well.

            Whatever path you choose, you shouldn’t do it in a vacuum. By vacuum, I mean a web site tucked into a corner of cyberspace that would take a master search expert to find on a lucky day.

            You need to cross-pollinate.

            Once you establish your presence, you need to share yourself with others. Share links, articles, interviews. You’ll find that people are always looking for contributors not only because they may be running a little dry of ideas, but to also add some spice to their web site.

            I’ve had guests on my site. I’ve also guested in-turn on theirs. It was a lot of fun. I can’t say it’s especially drawn more hits to my site, but sometimes it’s hard to tell unless someone leaves a comment and they aren’t someone I know. Or, they may follow me or like me. On the other hand, my web site has a statistics page where I can see what country I get hits from. I’m not sure how it works, but if it excludes spammers, I’m sometimes quite surprised at the international draw my humble site attracts.

            When you build your platform, your site, your blog, spread your wings, cross-pollinate, share your knowledge, your interests with others. The more you do that, the more you’ll draw people to you.

            Remember. Nobody is ever going to know you’re there unless you tell them!

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