Posted in [writer resources]

[Resource Review] “Create Your Writer Platform” by Chuck Sambuchino

Full Title: Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author
Author: Chuck Sambuchino
Published: November 2012 by Writer’s Digest Books
Genres: Nonfiction, Web Development & Design, Social Media, Business Technology
Edition Details: 248 pages, trade paperback
Source: {Purchased – Used}
Rating: {4/5 stars}

First Glance

It’s going to sound silly as I write out a blog post that will be shared across various social media channels, but… this book had me both intrigued and a bit leery. I’m not into the Influencer culture, the idea of success being measured by social media reach. However, I recognize that I follow people I like online; they’ve built the kind of communities and online interactions that leave you feeling good when they’re done. So clearly, a writer can benefit from using social media to interact with their readers, other writers, and the bookdragons of the world at large.

Positive Bits

Sambuchino made a lot of sense in his instructions. He gave concrete measures for recognizing successful social media platform creation, rather than generalizing. I like numbers and goals; it’s part of why I like NaNoWriMo’s 50K in 30 days, because it’s a concrete goal and timeline. This book has many examples of ways to track your platform growth.

My favorite suggestion (with tangible focus) was to Google yourself. If you’re the majority of the first page results, then you’re doing it right when it comes to social media and building a platform. I’ve done it, and my years of blogging and sharing poems have led to a large number of my posts coming up in Google Images in particular. It’s kind of neat!

I also appreciated the recognition of how important community can be. You don’t have to be a writer all alone; in fact, online writing groups can be ridiculously helpful in giving you inspiration, constructive criticism, and opportunities to give back.

Less Enjoyable Bits

A large portion of the advice in this book focused on the kinds of writers who want to run in certain circles. The authors who give paid speeches in various conventions and college events. The writers who become a household name in their field.

The focus made on networking made sense, but sometimes it pushed the boundaries of realistic choices for a person to make. For example, Sambuchino mentions working in your desired field (in relation to nonfiction writers) even if it means accepting a pay cut. That’s not terrible advice… except people who are already scraping by paycheck to paycheck can’t just switch jobs for fun. No one needs to actually choose to become a starving artist to succeed.

I felt like the section on Facebook usage was oddly out-of-date for such a recently published book. I’ve had pages for various groups and topics over the past decade, and you don’t have to friend people to interact with them on a page you manage. So the entire description of how to use Facebook effectively was out of sync with the reality of Facebook.

Tidbits Worth Repeating

You don’t have to go it alone.

Creating a large and effective platform from scratch is, to say the least, a daunting task. But you don’t have to swim out in the ocean alone. You can – and are encouraged to – work with others. {page 40}

You can only best understand and help members of your niche/community if you’re heavily involved with them. Your goal is to join and participate in any kind of community that links you with those who share your interests – and by participate I’m talking meaningful interaction, not status updates on Facebook that tell people to buy your book. {page 66}

Create content with passion and gusto, and build a community around yourself. The goal is simply to create a huge readership and to help that some of that visibility translates to book sales. No double it will, though exact numbers will be difficult to come by. {page 84}

Is it worth the coin?

Yes – if you don’t know where to start with social media and all the online mumbo jumbo associated with marketing yourself and your writing. Be warned, though, that this book is largely focused on how a nonfiction writer gets attention. The tips and tricks can crossover, but they don’t always translate into fiction work.

Author:

bookdragon, poet, witch

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