Building an Author Platform

Most writers have heard about the importance of building an Author Platform. New writers are encouraged to magnetize an audience for their books well before publication. They build literary websites, create Facebook Fan pages, blog on the writing process, tweet, all to create a buzz.  The idea is that an agent will more likely sign a writer on and a publisher to publish them if they already have a significant following.

I was watching Batman Begins about a year ago.  In it, Bruce Wayne is trained in some remote Asian dojo in martial arts and in honing his senses. He’s more real man than fantasy hero in this film. His life is the true sense of the hero’s journey, the refusal of the call, the acceptance, the challenges (especially his fear), the evolution of the individual.  Finally, when Wayne is ready to go fight crime, a team of people help him create an aura of superhero.  There are cloaks to be purchased, batmobile’s to be found. I kept thinking as I was watching the film how important building this aura was.  Without a profound energy of superhero emanating from Batman, marking him as special, neither he nor the people of Gotham would have had the necessary faith in his power to save the city.

I thought: This is really what an Author’s Platform is , creating an almost superhero aura around ourselves as “writer”. How do we do this? Is it just about building a website and blogging? I believe creating this aura starts internally, at a deep level, builds over time, and then emanates outward. I believe to create an authentic Author Platform, you must first be engaged deeply  in yor writing. You must live and love it. More than anything, you can’t be playing at the business of writing, skating on its surface.

Once you’re so engaged, completely committed to writing the essence of your soul, you can then go further and enter and own the archetype of “writer”. You can engage the superhero energies of “writer”, a pathos that is greater than you personally, greater than the sum of your parts. There truly is an energy of writer in the world that you can tap into. How do we engage this universal writerly energy?  We can honor the lineage of  our literary ancestors, our published contemporaries. We can own that we’re part of a long line of writers whose hard work and faith have created the wind at our backs. We can acknowledge ourselves as writer, in public.  We can build websites and write blogs that get to the essence of what we believe, not just Author Platforms to be used “to get published”, but platforms that can speak the poetry of the soul, can reach into the essence of another person, that can affect change.

What I’ve been noticing is that what most Author Platforms lack is a depth of soul, and without this energy, many writers cannot get the necessary traction to reach publication.  At one extreme, imagine a dry webite or blog, lacking color or verve, stagnant — the wording and photos on the site haven’t been updated in years. On the other end,  imagine a site that grabs you by the throat with a raw edgy design, or a site that touches you because of its lyrical poetry. Each site speaks to the type of superhero the writers represents. I’m interested in the voice of storytelling all over the world, from African ghost stories to Russian fables, so how can I create an aura of that within my blog or Facebook fanpage? I’ve taken a couple of avenues, opening up my blog to guest bloggers from around the globe, and doing interviews on my novels and my coaching with international magazines. I’m sure there are others that I’ve yet to think of.

Of course, you have to understand the essence of your work, the soul of your book, to know HOW to imbue your Author Platform with the aura of superhero. An Author Platform basically aligns with what you believe in, nurtures and highlights it. It begins with the very soul of you as writer, acknowledged first, then drawn up and finally manifested in the world. That’s all fine, but what if you’re not really sure what kind of superhero/writer you are?  Even for artists and writers who have been on their path for years, it can still take a while to become clear about the true essence of your work, who you are as an artist, and to then draw in others who would want to read or view your work.  

You have to start somewhere, so start with where you are now. Choose your cloak. Find your batmobile. Build your platform. What kind of superhero are you?

Art of Storytelling is a coaching services for writers. Contact us for a free initial consultation, www.artofstorytellingonline.com

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