Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Platform: Reaching the audience, be it YA or otherwise

I’ve said before that my principle genre is Young Adult or mid-grade fantasy. This is all tentative of course given that my book isn’t complete, most of what I’ve already written will have to be scrapped, and I’ve yet to hammer out the finer details of the plot. Now it’s on to the platforming choices that will lie ahead in my future. (Or should that be lay?)

I have my blog. It’s important to me. I’ve gloried in the physical signs of audience growth and outreach over the last couple of months since I started blogging regularly. I’m not letting it get to my head that you, my readers, have found something I have to say worthy of your time and attention. I am humbly grateful for this and know that my blog would not be continuing today without the continued support of my readers. I thank you for this.

I know eventually, however, I will have to expand my platform. While having a platform in place prior to that first publication is not as critical to getting published in fiction as it is in non-fiction, we have to reach our readers somehow. I will down the road create a website. (Or have one professionally made for me since I’m really not computer-savvy and I should do better than the free website hosts with their standard, bland templates.) But are blogs and websites the best ways to reach the YA audience? Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and others that I’ve never heard of all pull on the teen’s time. Are these the better places to reach my intended audience? Or should I keep my platform broad in order to reach all of my potential audience since I do intend to write and publish poetry, perhaps some short stories, maybe even branch off into Christian romance. I’m not sure at this point that the smartest move would be to create multiple blogs/websites/Facebook pages, etc. for each of these different aspects.

For one thing it would take precious time away from the writing itself. I know that well-known authors spend oodles and oodles of time on platforming and networking in addition to their writing and it’s important to do so, but when does it become too much? When does your platform become so specific that you have to start from scratch to build a separate one for a different facet of your writing life? Down the road, if the dream came true and I was a successful poet and novelist and I wanted to write a memoir am I going to have to create a whole new and discrete platform for that?

When is it going overboard?

Related in the blogosphere: See Rachelle Gardner's post on social networking


  1. I'm with you here. I love my blog, but I'm not reaching the YA audience with it. I was thinking about starting a second blog for teen readers, but I don't know how many teens blog. My daughter and all of her friends are really into Facebook. I have a Facebook account already, but I set it up a long time ago to connect with friends, not so much to reach a teenage audience. I don't know what the answer is. If you figure it out, let me know! :) In the meantime, I'm still exploring the idea of a second blog. I'll keep you posted.

  2. There are a lot of teens interacting on Facebook. I know that at least one of my granddaughters looks for websites that focus on her current reading material. She’s been through Harry Potter, the Twilight series, and is now into the Dragonlance Chronicles. She’s eleven—so would she be an example of a mid-grade or a YA reader?

  3. @ Lazy Writer, I'm not really sure what the answer is. I guess we'll all just have to struggle through it together.

    @ Strange Fiction, I've never been clear on the distinction between mid-grade and YA. Probably because I never really grew out of that genre as far as reading tastes go. (For the most part.)

  4. I found you also commenting on Cake Wrecks. I figured that meant you had good taste, and I was correct. I also am supplementing my platform, and I don't think you need to be specific at all. Many authors publish a wide variety of products. I have a baby's picture book coming out, and several other picture book mss, and ya mss, and middle grade, etc. I think if you just get your NAME out there, that's enough, and the rest will follow. Good luck!

  5. Thanks! I love Cake Wrecks! It's a good distraction sometimes! Good luck to you too!

  6. I struggle with this as well. It seems as if teens visit websites of their favorite published authors, but are much less likely to peruse blogs by the unpublished. My guess would be the best way to reach them would be creating a site that provided them with some service: book suggestions/reviews for them, writing techniques for budding teen writers, etc. Then, when you're published, you can self-promote on the site.


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