Creating Visibility Before Getting Published: Build Your Platform By Karen Cioffi The road to publication can be long and winding … and filled with rejection. So what do you do while you’re submitting your manuscripts and waiting patiently? Okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless. That’s easy. And, its very important. Create visibility. I don’t mean standing on the street corner singing at the top of your lungs. I mean creating an online presence that depicts who and what you are. In other words, you need to create your platform. There are a number of writers who are reluctant to begin promoting themselves because they haven’t landed a publisher yet. Or, they’re still learning the craft. This mentality won’t cut it today. You need to begin that visibility. The first step in your platform journey is to create a blog using a blog site such as Blogger, or a website. Either one is relatively simple to create, and can be free. Obviously, you will want to create your platform right from the beginning by posting to your blog with content that is in the genre you are writing. Important Tip: Make the name of your site something that will grow with you, and your name should be part of the site name. But wait a minute. Let me backtrack. For those who aren’t sure what a platform is, it is a means to let readers know what your area of expertise is. Yes, I know, you might be shaking your head and thinking that you don’t have an area of expertise. But this is how you create it. The next step in your journey is to create your platform and online visibility. Learn your craft and as you’re learning, write about what you learn. In other words, if your book is about cooking, blog about cooking…you’ll be creating your area of expertise. Once you feel comfortable adding content to your blog, start writing articles and submitting them to article directories. Again, keep them focused on the area of expertise you are trying to create. You may not get paid for them, but they will establish an online presence. And, if your articles are beneficial or interesting to others, it will bring traffic to your site. The publishing and marketing industry has changed. In today’s writing market publishing houses, big and small, expect you to: 1. Have an online presence (website or blog); 2. Have a platform; 3. Have a following; 4. Have the potential to increase that following; 5. Have a marketing strategy; and 6. Be able to sell your book. Selling books is now a joint effort between the publishing house and the author. And, if you’re venturing into the self-publishing arena, promoting yourself is even more important. So, don’t procrastinate. Start creating your online presence and platform today.