The 15-Minute Writer (Part 3): Building Your Platform

Platform building has become all-important in the publishing world. And how do you build a platform? One plank at a time.

That’s why I tell writers with day jobs and moms with kids NOT to wait until they have more time to pursue their dreams. You can write, build your platform and get published–one small step at a time.

When I started taking my writing seriously, I had a baby and a husband in full-time ministry–and no family nearby to provide free babysitting. So I wrote during my son’s nap times. After Jordan outgrew his naps, I enrolled him in our church’s “Mother’s Day Out” program two days a week, and used those times to write.

When my second son was born, I repeated the process–though things did get a bit trickier! I’ve also written during lunch hours, backstage in a dressing room while waiting to perform at a theater, during birthday parties (not my own kids’, though!), on Saturdays/Sundays, and late at night.

*But NEVER in the early mornings. Some things are just insane.*

One plank a time, I’ve pursued this crazy/wonderful calling God placed on my life, building a career and a platform. It’s a roller-coaster, of course–lots of rejection for every acceptance–but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

[I’m also aware that my husband is entirely supportive, and for those authors who don’t have an encouraging spouse, my heart goes out to you. You’ll have to be even more creative and deliberate about finding time to write. But please, don’t give up!]

My own story makes me passionate about helping other writers (especially moms) hone their craft.

Say you have a precious fifteen or thirty minutes a day to write. Divide those segments into writing, market research, and promotion/marketing. Then use your allotted time three days out of the week to write; two days to do market research; and one day to market (giving yourself one day off).

Here are a few sample ways to build your platform, fifteen or thirty minutes at a time:

  • Post a new picture or status update on your Facebook author page and “like” a few other people’s posts while you’re signed in as the author.
  • Tweet from your Twitter account and RT/respond to a few tweets from friends.
  • Update LinkedIn (I do this automatically by linking my Twitter feed to my LinkedIn profile, so when I tweet, my LI account gets updated, too).
  • Write a rough draft of a blog post.
  • Pin a link and photo from a former blog post on Pinterest. (Careful! Pinterest is addicting–might I suggest a timer?!)
  • Read a blog post (or two) and comment on it.
  • Read a portion of a book on marketing and promotion. Highlight your favorite ideas, and bookmark the page to come back to.
  • Read about a conference you’re interested in, and mark the dates on your calendar.
  • Sign up for a conference, online course, or in-person class.
  • Write a rough draft of a query to an agent or editor.
  • Edit a query you’ve previously drafted.
  • Compose a cover letter for a query or manuscript.
  • Email friends about your newest published piece and ask them to share it with friends, if they’re so inclined.
  • Email an author friend to ask advice or feedback.
  • Offer feedback and advice to someone “greener” than you.

Now it’s YOUR turn. What are your strategies and ideas for platform building, one board at at time?

(Read part one and part two of the series.)

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13 thoughts on “The 15-Minute Writer (Part 3): Building Your Platform

  1. Awesome ideas, Dena. I too write around kids, a husband, and day job. It’s challenging, but do able. Having a plan is key. I also write out the three most important things I need to do for the day. I make sure those get done and then if I can fit anything else in, it’s a bonus. But the things I need to get done are usually accomplished. If not, then it goes on the top of the list for the next day.

  2. Love these ideas, Dena! Very helpful. I’m trying to find time to write around a two-year-old, husband, and grandparents, but its not impossible. The thing I really need is to target an audience with a blogging theme. Still praying on that. Thanks for your encouragement!

  3. I have found it so helpful to finally figure out what kinds of writing I do best-and when-and how. For example: highly creative, original, “first draft” writing works best for me if I write in longhand, no edits, and NO-I REPEAT NO-ONCE MORE, **NO** distractions. I save this work for my alone time! Moreover, I find that my most productive thinking comes after a morning walk/alone time with God. My brain is optimally efficient as it is pumped up on oxygen and Spirit!
    I can transcribe those written notes any time, any energy level with almost any distractions.
    My writing time is much more efficient now that I understand what conditions I need to optimize the writing I need to do. I only need close-to-perfect conditions for a small segment of my work.
    Hope that makes sense!

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  6. Yes, enjoyed this post. I’ve found that in those writerly down-times (queries out, waiting for responses, or submissions out, waiting for responses), it’s a great time to platform-build as much as possible. Because pretty soon all your efforts will be going toward writing that next book!

    And I get you on the mommy-juggling…I homeschool, blog, write, etc. Half the time I hope I’m doing at least one of these things properly.

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