Chip MacGregor

January 12, 2012

Thursday with Amanda: Growing a Platform Is Like Dominos


Amanda 2 CropNOTE: Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

So now you know what to shoot for in terms of numbers (if you missed it, last Thursday we talked about how big an author platform should be). But as many of you pointed out, those numbers seem impossible. The time and effort required to grow such a following had some of you envisioning yourself with an impressive platform sometime in the year 2030. While others flat out admitted that they didn’t have a single sales bone in their body. You’re artists, after all. And artists don’t always make the most sociable, friendly, outgoing, spin doctoring bunch.

So what’s the secret? How can these numbers be achieved?

Let me explain it like this…most authors, when embarking on a quest to tackle the platform demon, treat it like spaghetti. They throw everything against the wall to see what sticks. They start a Facebook group, a Twitter account, a blog, a website, a Goodreads account, a newsletter and on and on and on until they feel they have all of the possible platform-building areas covered.

And then they’re surprised when nothing happens. When their Facebook group hovers around 50 followers—most of which are personal or family friends. When their Twitter account has more spam followers than real followers and their website stats don’t climb above 30 visits a day. They’re surprised by this, because they’re doing everything they’re supposed to do and nothing is working. And more than anything, they’re exhausted. They’ve spread themselves so thin, they can barely keep track of what was said where. At this point, most give up. They tried their best, and it didn’t work.

But platform is nothing like spaghetti. It’s more like a game of dominos (as in the game in which you set them all up and they fall over). Select one thing. One thing out of that list of 10 or so possibilities. Pour all you have into that one thing. Your time, your creativity, your resources. Stick with it, and when it starts to go, you’ll find that if you already have some of the other platform-related areas set up (most of us do), they’ll start to grow with it. And if you don’t have those areas yet set up, then you’ll find that it’s that much easier to get them going.

More importantly, you’ll find that you won’t be selling your soul to SOCIAL MEDIA. Sure, it takes sacrifice and commitment. But focusing on one thing and doing it well will save you from burning out and giving up.

Ok, so I know your next question is going to be how? How do I grow my Facebook? My Twitter? My blog?

We’ll get there. Come back next Thursday and we’ll start to talk about the how. See you then!

P.s. I loved the discussion last week. Feel free to weigh in again!

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