Building your author platform from scratch can be so overwhelming that many writers avoid the subject altogether. Typically, this is due to not knowing how to approach the task, or knowing where to start. In some ways it feels similar to staring at a blank page when you start a new story; four hours later you still have no idea how to begin. It’s frustrating. But here’s the thing; like beginning a story…everyone starts somewhere. Once you know where that somewhere is…well it becomes easier to move forward and achieve your goal.
Importance of Building Your Author Platform
It’s Okay to be a Beginner
You might be saying to yourself, “I don’t know where to begin.” Ah, but you can learn! The key is to be okay with the fact you don’t know very much right now. Accepting that you are a novice at building an online presence goes a long way in being patient with yourself while you are learning. Everyone starts somewhere, right? You just happen to be at the beginning. Nothing wrong with that. Face the fear.
Starting from Scratch Involves Attitude
The phrase “starting from scratch” comes from the sports practice of creating a starting line in the ground.1 Picture yourself scratching that line in the dirt. You position your feet; your toes are right against the edge of the line. Your adrenaline rises as you wait. The start whistle blows, and you go full on. You take that first step…then take the next…and the next. You keep running, you believe you are meant to run. It’s all or nothing now. You know you can do it. Building your author platform involves the same attitude as a runner in a race. Determine to run. Toe up to the line. Run when it’s time. Go all in and know you are meant to do this.
Understand What You Have to Offer
The next step in building your author platform from scratch is about developing your personal brand as an author. Not only do you need to know who you are in daily life, you also need to understand who you are as an author. This helps you understand what you have to offer. Marketers call this a value proposition. As an author, we call it your personal value proposition. It’s a statement of your strengths and your experiences that answers the question: “What benefit, or value, do you have to offer your audience?” It is essential to building your author platform from scratch.
You Need a Clear Vision of What You Have to Offer
Before you actually form your personal value proposition you need a clear vision of what you bring to the table. You can develop this by asking yourself questions like the following:
- What kind of influence do you have?
- How do you use your strengths to help people?
- What are you known for?
- What do you want to be known for?
- How do others describe you?
- What skills do you have?
- How have you helped others in the past?
- What leadership roles have you been in?
- What are your core values and beliefs?
- Who do you want to help?
- What expertise do you have?
- What are your core motivations?
- Do you have a personal story others can relate to?
- Do you have any tips or advise your audience needs?
- Are there people who could verify your strengths?
- Would anyone provide a short reference for you?
- Do you have any related hobbies or interests?
- Are you a member of any associations?
- Have you attended any conferences?
- Do you belong to any official groups?
- What relevant training or degrees do you have?
- Do you have any certifications?
- Have you ever participated in speaking engagement?
- Are there situations where you demonstrated your strengths, skills, and expertise?
It’s About Your Personal Brand
Remember this is about your personal brand as an author. Consequently, you need to spend quality time answering these questions. Write down your answer, but don’t exclude any details just yet. You want enough information to develop your personal value proposition.
Also, keep in mind you just might discover something about yourself you never realized before; you have much more to offer than you think.
Anyway, we’ll cover more on this in part two on Building Your Author Platform from Scratch.
In the meantime, Happy Writing!
Related Article: Building Your Author Platform Part 2
- Martin, Gary. “’Start from Scratch’ – the Meaning and Origin of This Phrase.” Phrasefinder, 2018, Retrieved April 30, 2018 from www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/start-from-scratch.htm.