Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform by Karen Cioffi

Today we are joined by author and freelance writer, Karen Cioffi. She is a reviewer for and Muse Book Reviews, and co-moderator of a children’s critique group. Karen provides ghostwriting, editing, proofreading and critiques along with website and blogsite creation. She is our guest blogger today and shares her wisdom on the importance of building your platform.

Create Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform
By Karen Cioffi

The road to publication can be long and winding ... and filled with rejection. So, what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscript and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless.

That’s easy. And, it’s very important, create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs, I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform.

There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility.

First step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website; either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing.

Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name.

But wait a minute, let me backtrack. For those who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise, but this is how you create it.

The next step in your journey is to create your platform and online visibility. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking—you will be creating your area of expertise.

Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site.

The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to:

1. Have and online presence (website or blog)
2. Have a platform
3. Have a following
4. Have the potential to increase that following
5. Have a marketing strategy
6. Be able to sell your book

Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. Don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.

Karen Cioffi is an author and freelance writer. Stop by her site, Karen Cioffi (, and sign up for the FREE monthly newsletter, A Writer’s World. It offers writing and marketing articles, tips and links, book reviews, resources and much more. While there, you can also pick up a free e-book about writing and/or marketing.


  1. Hi, Brigitte,

    Thanks for letting me share my article as your guest blogger.

  2. Great tips, Karen. Should I have a separate blog for teaching tips and children's books? They are related.

  3. Kathy, I think they're so related you shouldn't need to. They kind of go hand-in-hand.

    And, thanks for stopping by!

  4. Great post! I would add that Twitter can be a great promotional tool, and it's great for people without a lot of free time and simple to use.

  5. Great post Karen. Thanks for the advice.

  6. Karen, great tips, as always! You always inspire me with new ideas.

    Brigitte, thanks for sharing!

  7. Great tips, Karen! You offer straightforward advice for a writer to build a platform from the ground-up. I'll be tweeting a link to this! :)

  8. Thanks all for stopping by.

    Thanks for the additional tip, Robert!

  9. Karen,

    Thank you for sharing your insightful article with us! It's been a pleasure to host you and I'm hoping you will visit us again soon.

    Happy Writing :)

  10. Great tips. I know from experience some major publishers won't even look at your book proposal unless you have a platform. Good advice. Twitter can also work if you don't have a lot of free time, you can schedule your tweets to go out, just like you schedule your blog posts.

    I have found using social media in my marketing has really jump started my business in many ways.

  11. Excellent info, Karen. And great website, too. I just signed up for your newsletter!



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