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… is always going to be a well-written novel. I’ve read a bunch of articles about creating a writing platform, taken a few courses, looked into that stuff, so I’ve learned a bit about what goes into a writing platform. It’s never explicitly stated, but there is an underlying assumption that if you’re trying to get your book published, it’s a good book with a good plot and good writing. Defining “good” takes a little effort, though.

Really, in today’s market, a book has to be better than good. It has to be excellent, because there are so many people competing for the same spaces that the book has to be worth it. What makes it harder is that one person’s version of excellence is different from another, which means that even if a book is good, the agent/editor might not agree. But we all still have to put in the work, and there are a few things to do to make a book “good.”

  1. I can show my work care. Don’t just stick with the first draft and call it done. There’s a balance, but every piece of writing that will someday go out into the published world at least deserves some polish.
  2. I can study my craft. There’s always something to practice and learn, something that another writer will have mastered a bit better and will have valuable insights for me. Not using these resources will only leave me falling behind.
  3. I can make friends. Meeting fellow writers gives access to such things as beta readers and referrals. It also provides an excuse to get outside once in a while and take a rest from writing.
  4. I can be a bold editor. It’s not quite enough to simply care about putting my best work forward. I have to work on getting rid of the bad stuff, and pruning away that writing which doesn’t need to be a part of my platform.
  5. I can love my work. People know when you’re just putting in the motions. If writing isn’t quite the joy that it used to be, put it aside for a while and use the time to devote to marketing and developing the more public parts of the platform. The only way I can make my book its best is to put some passion into it.
  6. I can keep writing. Even when platforming is an exercise in futility, even when social media is a hopeless mess, keep writing. We’d all love to get published tomorrow with a million dollar deal, and having a really good platform is a big part in that. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not just doing this for the money. I can build my platform eventually, at my own pace. In the meantime, I’ll just keep writing.

Good writing is the base of a writing platform. It’s something that can always be made better, and the minute a writer stops improving their craft it doesn’t matter how sleek their website is or how savvy a marketer they are, sooner or later people will figure out that they don’t have anything to back their claims. Good writing makes a foundation for a platform that will make it last (perhaps not for centuries like an aqueduct, but for a very long time). So be a good writer, and then figure out the platform.