If you’re a writer who is working towards publication, you’ve probably heard about the importance of building your platform. Essentially, a platform is your base of readers, those who read your work regularly via your blog, newsletter, or social media posts. Building a platform can be one of the most challenging parts of the writing life, but it’s a necessary one. Publishers expect us to build an audience for our work.
If you’re struggling to build your readership, author and acquisitions editor Jennifer Dukes Lee offers practical advice for how to take steps towards publication — even with a small platform.
Jennifer’s advice can be summed up with a single memorable phrase, “Grow slow.” Read on for her practical tips on growing slow.
First, we need to decide which platforms work for us and then show up regularly to serve our readers. Remember: Our goal is to share a message. Our goal is not to strive constantly for publication. Readers aren’t a number or a means to an end. When we adopt a slow growth mindset, we’re able to see our audience as readers who need our message, and then we can serve them well.
“I do not obsess over how many people like or comment or engage . . . I just keep showing up.” — Jennifer Dukes Lee
Another way to grow slow is to share other writers' work on our social media channels or in our newsletters to readers. It helps develop a spirit of generosity, and it also helps us provide great content to our readers without having to create every piece. Platform building can quickly lead to burnout. By sharing quality content from fellow writers that complements our message, we are still serving our readers while allowing our work to grow slow.
Slow growth requires planning to avoid overwhelm. Many writers batch social media posts or emails to their readers on certain days of the week. This helps us avoid the trap of spending the valuable writing time we need for larger projects on less important work. Batch work helps us remain consistent in our content, which publishers find attractive in a future author. Publishers are more willing to take a chance on a writer with a smaller platform when we consistently engage with our readers and regularly provide targeted content.
It’s impossible to give our best to readers if we don’t take a break from our work. We need to give ourselves permission to shut the computer at the end of the day, knowing we have done our best. When we have blocked time for our work on the calendar, we can return to it refreshed and ready to share more of our message from a place of ease rather than stress.
Are you ready to drop the hustle and grow slow? Jennifer shares more on how to embrace a slow growth mindset for a sustainable writing career. Click here for free access to the entire conversation and take one step toward balancing the art of writing with the business of publishing.