Finish Your Novel First . . .

And worry about building your Internet platform later!

Many literary agents have admitted recently that, while having an Internet platform is a bonus for an author, they are more interested in strong writing and captivating stories.

“That’s a relief,” she says, wiping the sweat from her brow. I have a hard enough time justifying the hours I spend at my computer. When the plants in the pots on my terrace are withered and dying because I’m too wrapped up in my writing to water them. When my teenagers are circling my desk like vultures, hungry for a dinner I haven’t yet started. When everyday I wonder if anyone will ever actually read my book.

There’s no denying that having an Internet presence will help sell your novel, but first you need to have a quality product to promote. Here’s the good news: as unpublished writers, we can stick our toes in the great big pond of social media to test the waters while we polish our manuscripts.

My 1-2-3 for creating your Internet platform at YOUR own pace:

1) Start with Twitter:

Literary agents tweet their insights into the publishing industry in a continuous stream from dawn until dusk. I live for Sara Megibow’s #10queriesin10tweets and Ann Collette’s Today’s Twelve, where, once a week, these agents tweet about real queries from their inboxes. Twittering doesn’t have to infringe on your writing time. I read tweets when I’m stuck in traffic or waiting in line at the grocery store.

2)   Familiarize yourself with the different blog services:

The most popular free blog services are:

Word Press and Blogger

Use your down time wisely by getting acquainted with these services. Try it. It’s fun! Create a site and play around with the different themes. You’ll be surprised at how quickly ideas for your own blog will come to you.

3) Making your blog better:

When your manuscript is near completion, and you are ready to focus more time on launching your blog, there are things you can do to make your blog better. Attend webinars. Take online classes. Google—so many professionals in the publishing industry post often with tips on blogging.

I created several blogs before Chronicles. My failed attempts had a little to do with concept and focus and a lot to do with the fact that I wasn’t yet ready. If you try to force it you’ll only end up resenting your blog for taking time away from your manuscript. I’m not an expert on anything, nor do I have professional wisdom to impart upon my readers. But I do have something to share: my experiences as a wannabe writer.


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