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Writing Wednesdays: Do You Recommend Platform-building or Writing?

Today, Cherie Rich is reviewing my book A to Z Stories of Life and Death at Surrounded by Books Reviews . Am grateful to her for taking the time—and excited to see what she has to say.

I read this article at The Creative Penn today: Write Lots Of Books Or Build An Author Platform. Which Is More Effective?

The post and the comments set me buzzing again on what has been my predominant thought for the past few weeks ever since I published A to Z Stories of Life and Death. I’ve been spending more time than before on Twitter, Triberr and my blogs as a direct result of this book, simply because I met so many new people through this book. And since I wanted to experiment in e-book publication, I decided to put in some effort in terms of spreading the word, in order to learn the most from the experience.

But though I’m enjoying meeting more people and participating in the writing community, my primary love and passion remains writing. I’m writing now not just for further stories I mean to e-publish, but also for stories and a novel for which I hope to find a traditional publishing home.

My view is this: I can’t be writing 12 hours a day…simply because I’m not that kind of writer. I can write for 3-4 hours on something new, 2 hours on revisions. This leaves me a few hours to read, to live, and yes, to blog or tweet. I can understand how the social media thing can go out of hand, but I see no harm in putting in a few (1 or 2) in meeting other writers, and hopefully, some readers.

Platform-building happens to me almost as a corollary…I enjoy doing it, so I meet and chat with writerly/readerly folks online. And I focus on blog posts like this one, from those who know what they’re doing: So What’s an Author To Do?

If you’re a writer, how much time do you put in to writing vs platform-building?

If you’re a reader, do you reach for a book because you’ve heard of him/her online, or because you like the blurb/ excerpt?

I’m interviewing Romance Author Paula Martin today on Daily (w)rite, so head over there for a chat!

Sign up for the Rule of Three Blogfest, a month-long shared-world fiction extravaganza starting 5th October— with some great prizes, and of course, a lot of exposure and constructive feedback for your writing. This is one Blogfest fiction authors ought not to miss. 

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Dawn Malone says:

    I check FB and my blog list a couple times a day when I need a break from writing. When I first started blogging, I obsessively checked stats, comments, and searched for/read other blogs for HOURS. Now I think I've find my balance. As far as finding books, I use both blurbs/excerpts as well as profiles of authors I find on line as tools to help me choose which books I read. Some authors I automatically seek out; other times, its the catchy blurb that piques my interest.
    Great post – thanks for sharing!

  • I'm agreeing with Book Republik Blog on this one.

    To add…I love to see writers who take their blogs/social networking seriously and treat it professionally.

    I really do not think there is a *one size fits all* approach here, but I do believe that balance is important and the focus should be on the writing 😉

  • li says:

    I swing back and forth on the subject, but I guess blogging and tweeting is not just about building a platform for me – as a novice writer, I'm also learning a lot from others, so I consider it an intellectual investment.

    It is frustrating though, because I find myself shortchanging my serious writing time – and also feel guilty for not interacting with my followers enough. I suppose at some point I have to come to terms with the fact that i just can't do everything.

  • I'm having a really tough time with the "platform" part right now. I write something everyday. Maybe it's not what I was hoping I'd write 🙂 but I write something even when I'm not writing fiction. … anyways… I think I really need an agent. A lot of the writing stuff just seems like a game I don't have time to play. I try to jump in, but as any who try to compete in any area knows, everything worth while takes practice/hard work. You get what you put into it.. Or the squeaky wheels get greased … etc.. or something like that.. "squeak! squeak!" 🙂 I think I'll go write now.

  • Talli Roland says:

    Online stuff can suck up all your time if you let it! I'm like you – I write for about 4-5 hours, then spend the rest of the day answering emails, doing promo stuff, and blogging/tweeting. It works out well for me!

  • I signed up for the Rule Of Three…but I have a few questions!
    Was I supposed to create a separate page for my Rule of Three posts? I simply added my blogpage link, and would post the prompts during the correct time frame. If I need to change this, please let me know. Also, I'm not sure where I am to leave a comment noting my genre and such! If you can clear this up, that'd be great. (I'm probably not reading correctly or something quite simple..and I apologize for that right now! )
    ~ Nadja

  • Richard says:

    I think writing is more important than platform building. Writing good stories will help your platform to grow. Blogging can become a time-consuming affair. I've had to figure out ways to not blog so much, even though I enjoy it. But I really like writing more.

  • I try to equal them out. Yet if I'm on a roll writing, I think writing takes precedence.

  • jabblog says:

    I often take up books because I've read or heard reviews, sometimes because the blurb is intriguing.
    I can't comment on the platform-building because I haven't really done any. (Must get back to the writing . . . )

  • Balance is everything. It's good to meet other writers/bloggers, but ultimately writing takes a fair chunk of time and comes first. If I'm not careful, I spend a lot more time blog surfing than paying attention to the stuff I should be editing.

    I should add that a big shot of discipline is needed by every writer.

  • Angela Brown says:

    I try to find a balance with platform building and writing, about an hour a day for each.

    If you write but no one knows or heard of you or your book, then it makes it difficult to market your awesome story. But if you just do a little reaching out a bit at a time and write, write, write, then you may have a bit better response when your fab books hit the market.

  • There are entire days when I can't get online to platform. I try to keep it around 1-2 hours, because I probably could spend more time online but I'd never get any work done!

  • I check my blog, twitter, email, fb… once in the morning and once at night…sometimes in between.

    I spend 2 hours a week on a blog post. (I only post once a week due to time restraints)

    That with work, family, and writing take my time. I try to make the blog rounds while I'm having my morning tea.

    All and all, it propbably ends up being around 10 to 14 hrs per week.

  • Usually, I check FB and Twitter three times a day, morning, noon and evening, when I need a break from writing, course prep or editing.

    Writing is always my first priority, but it seems rather pointless when very few people know about your books and are reading them.

    Also, I find you can make fast friends through the writing community. Nothing is a waste of time when you make that special contact.

  • Ava Jae says:

    To me, I think it really just depends on the day.

    The way I see it, as long as I'm doing something, I'm being productive–whether it's writing, editing, social media stuff or even reading, it all relates.

    I usually try to get in a little bit of everything, but even if I don't, it's not the end of the world. I've been productive either way.

  • I think it very much depends where you are in your writing. If you've got a book out, or are about to release, then it pays to put in more hours into your platform. If you're trying to develop a platform as you write then you should be only devoting a small portion of your time to your blog, social networking etc. It can be very easy to accidentally become a blogger, when all you ever really wanted to do was be a writer…

  • I've been trying to cut back to just morning for online stuff. I keep my nights open for work (I write better mysteries in the dark). As writers, I think we need to take a stand for our writing. We have to remember why we're blogging.

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