5 Things You SHOULDN’T Worry About When Building Your Platform

easy platform building for authors
let these worries go!

I know it’s technically September, but I have unanimously agreed with myself that we could use one last article in August’s The Good Stuff series. In case you missed the last few posts, you can catch up on them here:

Week 1: Why Publishing Professionals Have to be Eternal Optimists

Week 2: A Success Story with a Side of Cheesecake

Week 3: 6 Moments to Celebrate on Your Publishing Journey

Week 4: The Most Important Character Trait in Publisher, Plus a Free Jack Kerouac Art Print

A Literary Agent's advice on how to enjoy the process of writing and publishing a book

One of my very favorite cities in the country is Richmond, Virginia. It’s where I went to college; it’s where I met some of my best friends; it’s where I met Jarrett (and also where he proposed to me last weekend—more on that in Friday’s roundup!); and it’s where I’ll be back for another year at the James River Conference on October 17th.

The James River Conference is such an especially fun one for me, since it’s usually a smaller and more intimate experience than the big mega conferences like the Writer’s Digest Conference (although I had a blast there, too!). The JRW organizers asked me to put together a quick little “5 Things About Anything” list to include for their newsletter subscribers, and as I was writing it, I realized it’d also be a great send-off to The Good Stuff series.

As September kicks in and the publishing industry comes to life again, you’ll probably be doubling down on the platform-building and picking up your regular writing schedule again. Even as things pick up speed, here are the 5 things you just shouldn’t waste your energy worrying about:

  1. Whether People Will Make Fun of You: We all have that negative voice in our heads telling us we shouldn’t put our thoughts and our writing out there. Especially not online where—gasp!—the haters might find it! Remember that that voice knows nothing. According to Brene Brown’s research in Daring Greatly, what you perceive as uncomfortably vulnerable is usually perceived by others as helpful, generous, and brave.
  1. Joining The Hot New Social Platform: One of the easiest ways to get platform burnout is to try to do too much too soon. You don’t need to be on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, and Periscope all at once. Pick a few platforms you really enjoy and focus on building those.
  1. Getting Followers Right Away: An author platform is built—it’s not instantly created. It will be slow at first. You will feel like no one’s listening to you, and like you’re not getting the readers and followers you want. But just keep going, and focus on being relentlessly helpful and genuinely excited about what you do. If you can find a way to have fun with it, you’ll be able to stick with it through the tough moments.
  1. Getting It Right the First Time: Your first website won’t be perfect; your first blog post won’t be just right; and your first social media post won’t go viral. If you let perfectionism hold you back, you’ll never get your work out there to begin with. Remember that it’s a journey, and comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle will just leave you feeling defeated.
  1. Doing It All At Once: When you’re first diving into the world of online platforms, it can be completely overwhelming to figure out the best ways to share your content. Don’t worry about learning every single thing at once—you’ll build on your skills and knowledge with time, and one day you’ll be mastering A/B testing and other seemingly complex tools like a pro.

Have ideas of other things people are wasting their time worrying about? Tell me in the comments! And if you’ll be at the JRW conference, I’ll be speaking on a few panels and taking one-on-one pitches from writers–come say hello!

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