Do You Need a Platform?

Building a platform can be an important part of being a writer, but is it essential in the modern age?

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Writers often feel a sense of expectation about the importance of building a platform. You are told that before your book is released you need a following: Facebook likes, Twitter followers, hits on your blog, Instagram followers, and so on. This can vary depending on whatever you decide your platform will be. The question is, do you even need a platform?

The answer is both yes and no. Whilst there is an importance to having a platform, it is not as necessary as it is often made out to be.

You can go to an agent and tell them that you have a blue-tick-verified Facebook page with ten-thousand likes and your writing blog gets a thousand unique visitors a day, but they’re not going to give your book much more leeway than they would someone else who doesn’t have that. Realistically, that amount of followers isn’t impressive.

What is much more important than a platform is something to place upon it. You can have hundreds of millions of fans across the globe but, if you don’t have a book, then you might as well have none. For your writing career, the single most important thing is your writing. Everything else has to take second place.

Having said all of that, however, a platform is still an important thing to have and to build over time as you can convert the followers into readers further down the line. Personally, my plan is to spend query time—where I’ll be sitting around doing nothing waiting for agents to respond—building my platform. Write for a variety of different outlets, build up my social media, that kind of thing. I think that, for me anyway, is a good balance because I want to focus on my book at this moment and not divert what little writing time I have into brand building.

Ultimately, writing is about striking a balance between writing itself and everything else and you need to find what works for you. I know writers who find the time to build their platform and work on their book and do a really good job of doing both. Find the balance and don’t ever forget that you need to have a product to display on your platform at the end of it.

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David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.

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