You’ve got a killer piece of fiction on your hands but you have no idea how to promote it. Plus, you don’t want to be that “guy” who promotes his fiction to all his friends like a sleazy, self-absorbed fop. So how do you promote your work of fiction in a creative way that actually gathers attention? How do you gather a following for your work that soon blooms into an insatiable fandom?
You use a platform to promote your work of fiction.
So what in the double hockey sticks is a platform? And most importantly, dear sunfish, which platform is right for you and your fandom-worthy work of fiction?
A platform is as literal as it sounds. It’s a type of stage which allows you to do 2 things:
- It allows your voice to spread to an audience
- And it allows you and your work of fiction to gain visibility
By using an online platform to spotlight your work, you cast your net around a greater potential audience. Now, you’re probably thinking that a reliable platform to curate your content is something like Facebook, Reddit, Medium, or even a website.
But the problem with social media is that it isn’t a reliable platform to build your foundation on. Sure, writers like John Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Suzanne Collins all have Facebook pages, but they don’t rely on these platforms alone for building their platform. Why not? Because Facebook, Reddit, Twitter- they could all go down tomorrow. And if you create content solely on these foundations, you’ll lose everything you’ve worked on! Social media acts more like an invitation with an “address” for potential readers to flock to.
So what’s the “address” for readers to flock to?- Your blog or vlog.
Having a blog or a vlog (video blog) is the only platform to build your content on and gather an audience to. Why? Because a blog/vlog regularly puts out content, whereas a mere website is stagnant, frigid- dare I say, stale! Yes, stale like a three day old Ritz cracker, baby, and no one will spot it in a sea of consistently active blogs, mi amigo.
So which of these two platforms would best promote your work of fiction? (And how do they work anyway??)
The first option for an amazing young unicorn writer like you is a blog. So what is a blog?
A blog is a regularly updated informational page focused on one subject, one theme. Articles are posted weekly about one topic, much like an utterly specific newspaper or magazine.
And absolutely anyone, even a young fresh-faced unfamiliar like you can begin one!
So what would the theme of your blog be? – Oh! Me and my work of fiction, right Rae? Not exactly, you precious Shetland pony.
The reason why popular author-bloggers are so successful is that they focus on the wants of their audience. Big author name bloggers like Neil Gaiman and Stephen King already have an audience that solely wants their work of fiction. But right now, to tell you the straight truth, you’re not Gaiman or King and that means no one is going to be interested in your work of fiction (yet). So what should you blog about? And can you share your fiction at all? (Oh and heck yes you can.)
So you have to ask yourself:
- Who is my potential audience?
- Who would my work of fiction interest?
- What book is that ideal reader already potentially reading?
- What can I give that would benefit this reader?
These questions will help you narrow down on your target audience (one ideal reader) and what would draw them to your page.
You have to remember that all readers are A) distracted and don’t have time (that means your articles have to be brief -between 500-700 words- and your theme focused) And readers are B) Interested in something that will benefit them or entertain them.
So your blog can have one of three themes:
- The Artist
- “The Artist” shares their unique voice or perspective on the world through their art (in this instance, through writing)
- Benefits: you build and hone your unique voice while gathering your specific readership.
- The Star
- “The Star” shares their life as a writer like an open book. The struggles, the lessons learned with an “if I can do it, you can do it too” attitude.
- Benefits: readers deeply connect with an honest friend and therefore supports their goals
- The Reviewer
- Share your review of short stories, novels, works of fiction in the same genre as your work
- Benefits: You share a review for readers to connect over and they get a good taste of what you look for in great fiction
All of these options lend to regular content creation and the opportunity to spotlight your work of fiction. I love me a win-win situation and this is the epitome of one!
Lastly, understand that successful blogs are built on three things:
- Regular content creation (weekly posts)
What are some great blog hosts that are cheap that you can start your work on? I use WordPress, but many folks tend to like Squarespace as well. They are excellent, relatively cheap hosts that also allow you to have your own domain name (which is like suuuuper important to building a brand!)
But, what if a blog just isn’t for you? What if you would prefer to connect with your audience like John Green does (through video)? Well then it’s time we discuss…
A vlog is pretty much exactly like a blog only it is a face-to-face interaction with your audience. The most popular vlogs are found typically (and almost exclusively) on Youtube.
Vlogs follow the same standard as well: (video) themed content produced regularly.
Likewise, your vlog has the same three choices of themes as a blog. The only difference is that you have more opportunity to share your personality with your audience on a vlog than a blog. And that is truly what attracts followers: a relatable person who is true to himself.
For instance, John Green has built a massive group of fiery loyal fans, not just because of his awesomesauce books, but because of his relatable, adorkable, and honest personality. This gift of “personality sharing” endears his readership because they begin to see John, not as some distant and unrelatable being of masterful word-glitter, but as a friend they can relate to.
So beginning your vlog is as easy as picking a theme and deciding to be yourself on camera!
Don’t let a fear of negative opinions or comments cause you to change your voice or hide your personality. The more you hone your voice and share your true self, the more you will draw like-minded individuals to your platform. So don’t hide your unicorn ways under your body pillow, friend. Nunchuck it with skill and you’ll draw dorks just like you to your fiction (and dorks are what we want because let’s face it dorks like you and I are awesome).
Keep in mind that a successful blog or vlog doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, it doesn’t even happen in a year. You are dedicating yourself to hard, thankless, and unnoticed work. But if you want to build a following for your work of fiction you must dedicate yourself to either platform. You must promise that you will regularly put out content that matters to your reader. And I guarantee that over time you will build the fiery fan base your fiction deserves. I know you can do it!
So now, do me one *smol* favor: if you’re ready to give your work of fiction the attention it deserves, then tell me your platform of choice (and why) in the comments section below. I’d love to verbally high-five your awesome decision, you fabulous firefly of fiction writers, you.