Monday, July 15, 2013


Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books and finding Success as an Author -- Chuck Sambuchino

I’ve read several books on author platform but have to confess never fully grasping the term until reading Chuck Sambuchino’s CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM. At its simplest level, a platform is an author’s visibility and reach -- the framework an author has and continues to build that let’s others know of his or her work.

Sambuchino describes his book as “a guide for all the hardworking writers out there who want a say in their own destinies.” Though there is no one-size-fits-all approach to establishing a platform, Sambuchino says the need for platform cannot be ignored, even for those of us who write fiction. The book is divided into three sections: The Principles of Platform, The Mechanics of Platform, and Author Case Studies. At the end of each chapter, literary agents weigh in on the chapter’s topic, giving readers perspectives outside of the author’s. One of the most helpful aspects of the book is the Case Study section, where twelve different authors from a variety of genres (memoir to self help, fiction to reference) reflect on the choices they made in building their platforms -- what worked, what they wish they’d done differently, what they believe makes them stand out from others in their field.

Sambuchino is also quick to say “this is a resource for those who realize that selling a book is not about blatant self-promotion.” It is more about relationships, the sharing of expertise, and supporting others along the way. Though written for the aspiring author, a lot of things resonated with me, a newly published author, such as the wisdom behind an author newsletter, establishing an “events” page on my blog, and always, that kindness and generosity go a long way.

Other books I can recommend that deal with author platform:

What are your feelings on and/or experiences with author platform?


  1. "It is more about relationships, the sharing of expertise, and supporting others along the way."

    In my mind, that is the KEY factor in building your author presence in social networks!

    1. Exactly. By the way, did I ever tell you I read your first book because I stumbled across it on Goodreads?

  2. So agree social networking is about relationships. I read Chuck's book for an interview with him earlier this year and found it extremely helpful. It made me realize I do need to get on Twitter and use Facebook more. Not done it yet but it's on my list to do.

    1. I'm new to Twitter (as of last fall) and am amazed by the number of teachers and librarians I've met there.

  3. I just want to stress the fact that it's NEVER too late to start. Sometimes, it's better to jump in later on when a lot of the technical stuff is less of an enigma and more straightforward to take advantage of.

    I often stuck my foot firmly into my mouth on forums, being jerky at times, not because I like to make people mad "To get my jollies" but I'm not the kind of person who can stuff his emotions or opinions indefinitely (A big reason why I'll never go into politics) but I've learned to temper what I say so I'm still honest, but not coming off rude.

    All that said, sometimes in life, when you HAVE to face and start hard conversations, but you don't have to be mean to do it, there are humane ways to debate, something I didn't learn until recently.

    I try to remember that platform at it's best is from a planned, but SANE, place. IT's only a turnoff when overdone and/or done in a rush.

    That said, consistency matters, and I have to work on that. But I won't blog something that's not a certain level of quality, because quality blog readers thrive on quality content, so I try to keep the really personal stuff I share relevant and brief.

    But I'd rather build slowly if only to avoid looking spammy, which will get you ignored rather than positive attention. This is one area where I strongly believe the truism "Bad press is better than no press" is NOT true.

    Bad or overdone self-promo can wreak havoc to your author rep, and with that getting harder to establish, you don't want years of building connections to be destroyed by not thinking about what you're doing and saying.

    That said, you will make some mistakes, and you need to be kind to yourself, and remember one thing if nothing else-

    "If you didn't care you wouldn't feel torn about what the right thing to do is. ESPECIALLY when you take a wrong turn in trying to create platform."

    That's also part of why I feel people who say something to the effect of "Screw what others say" that's doing writers a dangerous disservice.

    That's true when it comes to what you write and what you believe as a person, but your writer identity depends on a network of others to get your name out there.

    1. Kindness and courtesy will always win, though I understand the urge to shout "look at me!" in various ways that might feel acceptable to but might read as a bit over the top to others. It's a balance, right? And there is always room to learn.

      I'm truly glad there was none of this going on when I first started writing in the late nineties. I had plenty of time to focus on reading and writing -- the two things I've gained the most from. I started blogging in 2009, just a few months before signing with an agent. I signed up for Facebook around the same time and added in Twitter just last fall. And I try to keep some balance in my life -- July is the month I take a FB (and this year) Twitter break. It's a healthy thing for me to do.

  4. An aside, I'm glad I waited to do Facebook and Twitter because I avoided a lot of the mistakes I did make on forums, one I'm banned from, but I share this only because you can rise above mistakes made, so long as
    your sincere and real about it.

    I strongly feel you weren't cheating people and no one died from your snafus here and there, you can recover from mistakes, we are human, and just like in person, forgiveness is possible, improvement is possible, getting better i possible.

    I wouldn't keep at social media, infrequent as it is now, if I quit easy, and at least some of it can be fun.

    1. EDIT: "I strongly feel if you weren't cheating people and no one died from your snafus here and there, you can recover from mistakes, we are human, and just like in person, forgiveness is possible, improvement is possible, getting better ii possible."


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!