Getting Back on Track with my Author Platform

This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

I’m learning that it’s always going to be easy to shove this author platform stuff to the side.

First it was the final draft of Bittersweet (July/August). Then it was the copyedits (early September). Then it was the four theses I had to read and comment on for Columbia (late September).

It’s not as if any of those tasks count as procrastination- they are definitely work! But I’ve noticed that because they take up so much time and energy, they are easy to retreat into and to use to justify my avoiding self-promotion (and those projects I’ve wanted to take on because I believe they will ultimately benefit my author platform). Even my blogging here has taken a hit.

Now that I’ve gotten the major tasks of my fall out of the way (at least as far as I can see, although I know there will be a first pass on the manuscript, and there will be unanticipated tasks as well), and before I start writing my next book, I’ve decided I need a more concrete schedule, so that I require myself to get done what I must, especially on this author platform stuff.

I have four full workdays a week. On three of them, I have the house to myself. The fourth day, the kiddo and the husband are home, so I have to barricade myself upstairs if I’m going to get anything done. I love Joyce, the coffee shop around the corner (where I wrote most of Bittersweet), but I can’t spend all day there, especially now that I’m trying to eat something besides butter and flour all day long.

So, my proposal to myself is a minimum of 2 morning hours, at home, to do creative work. These two hours will start my day off, and be spent in guilt-free pursuit of my actual writing. After that, I’ll have lunch here at home, and then I’ll head out into the world (aka Joyce) for at least two hours of author platform work. What will that work consist of? To name a few ideas:

– Solicit entries to FriendStories- reaching out to friends, colleagues, and others I believe might be interested in contributing

– Study the online presence of other writers I admire/ consider colleagues to get a clear sense of what I want my author presence to look like

-Research online platforms I’d like to become involved in/ write for with an eye toward promoting Bittersweet

-Redesign my website with a new bio, design, etc.

-Write pieces that I’d like to submit to online and print outlets in anticipation of the Bittersweet publication date of mid-May

That’s just to name a few! When I look at all that work like that, I know it’s important, and that I can’t just keep sweeping it under the carpet. I’m doing this author platform work because I believe in it, and I know I have to do it. Now I need to build it into my schedule so that it becomes a habit, and so I can begin to embrace it as part of my everyday life.