My Author Platform Struggles (please help....)

6:01 PM

Greetings from the cave!

As I sit here on the verge of signing an editing contract for a 120k novel....I suddenly realize that I'm making the first step towards being a professional author. Sure, The White Rose is not close to publication right now. But, the editing investment alone is thousands of dollars, and I can't justify spending that amount of money and then NOT publishing The White Rose. 

But, according to the numbers right now, I'd have to sell 1000 copies of The White Rose in order to break even. And, from researching the current sale numbers, it seems that most novels sell maybe a quarter of that in a book's lifetime. 

Suddenly things are getting serious. 

And if I'm going to get even close to those sale numbers, I'm going to have to some major work on my platform. Right now.

My blog has been my starting off point in this journey, but lately, it's been stagnant. My social media presence is little to nothing. And email lists? Non-existent. 

Clearly, Houston, we have a problem. 

Now, how in the world am I going to reach other people? I do have a Goodreads, Pinterest, Wattpad and YouTube presence under the Catherine Hawthorn name. But is there a more - bigger even - platform that I should be plugging into? 

What about Facebook?

Unbeknownst to almost everyone on here, I have had a brief flirtation with Facebook. Back when I was a grad student in Connecticut, I was given charge of the Facebook page for the History Department at the university.

I...couldn't use it. It was clunky, confusing and messy. It's also a huge political stew. Even though many of my personal friends are on it, I could never see myself using that even with my pen name. I also believe that Facebook is dying as a platform. 

So, I refuse to even consider this platform. Sorry Facebook. *pats head* 

What about Twitter?

There are advantages to this platform. One is that in the space of a few seconds, a message can be blasted out to a large group of people. From what other people have told me, it's also pretty easy to use. 

BUT. It is also the center of some cutthroat social wars. People have lost their jobs over something they said over this platform. Censorship is also a big issue - which as a red-hot conservative, bothers me a lot. There is an alternative called Parler, of course, but that is brand new and more meant for a political audience. 

And knowing me, I'd get into some pretty heavy social media fights with people. Especially over pro-life, pro-family and Catholic issues. 

What about Instagram?

I'm not fond of the idea that this platform is owned by Facebook. But, I am a hugely visual person, and like sharing life's little snapshots. My phone takes some good ones occasionally. And everyone and their neighbor seems to be on Insta these days. 

Could I use Goodreads better? 

I got into this to connect to other book lovers and writer friends and I don't regret it. I'm also involved in a couple of groups that I occasionally update. However, I simply don't get on it that often anymore. Reading kinda slid to one side as I went into writing and other things. Maybe someone who knows how to use this platform better can give me some tips?? 

Could I use Pinterest better?

Pinterest was my first social media, and I first started out with a personal page before I created my Catherine Hawthorn one. I'm on my personal one much more than my author one. But I'm willing to work with that platform.

The only thing that bothers me a little is's not very conducive to the social part of an author platform. Sure, there is messaging available, but even then, it's not enough. 

Could I use YouTube better?

I started my YouTube channel when Lia and I first did our "podvlogs" and didn't intend to go much further than that. I do have some video ideas and *could* do a channel if I really wanted to.

Here's my issue though: Editing Catherine doesn't do well with videos. Editing takes so much time and so much mental energy that I cannot keep it up and get videos out on time. Plus, I simply don't have the equipment (mics, etc) to make good quality videos.

Should I invest in getting an Author Website?

I understand why an author website is necessary. blog is pretty much my author website right now. Setting up a website is a lot of work and the many that I've seen are just....not that impressive. Though I am open to considering it. 

What about Email Lists? 

Here, I am lost. My blog following is through Feedburner, which is that free service that Blogger offers? There are only 18 emails through there (which is more than my other one, but still...). I'd like to put it into an actual email list, and while I'm at it, I probably should go for an official author email. 

What do you girls think? What would be the best way to build my platform? Is there another platform that I should explore?

Scribbingly yours, 


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  1. So, as a person who is about to publish, here's what I've learned so far about what works.

    We've primarily used our blogs and our Instagrams for our own promotion. Facebook has also helped as Jules has shared about our book in groups and has a page for the series, but if you're like me and don't want to go on FB much, just having a bunch of enthusiastic family members go on a sharing spree on their own FBs helps pretty well (as my family recently did. It spread like wildfire). And neither Jules or I wants to touch Twitter for the time being, so I have no data about how useful it is for promotion.

    But basically, here's the advice I learned and I feel like it's helped a lot. Pick two or three social media that you are interested in and start building there. Maybe have one or two that will be the hub of sorts for all the nitty-gritty details (could be your blog or author website) that you can link to from your other social media. That way people know where to find information about upcoming releases, sales, and stuff like that.

    Eventually, you can add other social media on top of you want, but they don't have to be as heavily used or anything. But don't overwhelm yourself with piling a bunch of stuff on you at once. Work slowly and steadily and really get to know how to use each thing. If you don't like one platform after a while, set it aside and try something else.

    Hope this helps! If you want more answers, shoot me an email. I love chatting about this stuff!

  2. Oof, the struggle is REAL. I feel your pain on this - it's so hard to figure out how best to grow an author platform!

    I actually asked my mentor at Realm Makers this question last year (or something along the lines of "What social media is best for growing a following?"). And she said that from her experience, Instagram is the best. There are a ton of readers and writers on there (like you said, everyone is on there XD).

    And like Sarah said, it's probably best just to pick two or three social medias and focus on them. Honestly, I'm busy enough with my - three? - social medias, so don't get overwhelmed! :D

    1. Wait, I'm on Twitter????? *existential crisis* I was not aware of this. XD XD

      Okay, but seriously, as far as I know, I don't have a Twitter account. I stalk about three people on it, but I've never made an account or posted. Twitter . . . Twitter scares me. (I'm just curious - where did you see me on Twitter? . . . wait, or did you mean Instagram? I'm sorry, I just got off work and I'm tired XD)

  3. I would say Instagram is a very good bet.

    Even though I don't use ir lime Facebook, it'd probably be a good one for platform, because of the reach you can get through posts, re-posts and shares. I know that joining the Books for Catholic Teens group would probably be good for you, as they are v supportice and active.
    Speaking of, try looking up the Catholic Writers guild website

  4. Instagram is, I have heard, a much more friendly platform than either Facebook or Twitter--Twitter wars are real. (Plus, if you want the occasional baby goat fix, you can follow my family. :D)

    This does sound like a real dilemma though! I don't use any social media besides my family farm's Instagram and my blog, so I'm not sure I can be a lot of help here. :)

    1. True facts. XD

      Well, our family farm has an IG that I can use to look at other people's IGs...I have no control over who we follow (mostly farms and famous Catholic people XD) but I'll definitely check yours out! And I didn't just tell you this, but you can find our farm at threeangelsfarm . :)

  5. I only use Instagram and Goodreads for my writing platform. I tried Twitter very briefly but like you I found it far too political (honestly a cesspool...) and I didn't want to engage in those conversations in my writing persona. I have a personal Facebook account that I rarely use and don't care to figure it out from a promotional standpoint. I also agree that it's a dying platform.

    I really enjoy using Instagram because of the writing community there, which is sooo amazing and supportive! I'm like you too, I enjoy the visuals, so I've had fun creating an aesthetic for my feed. I think it'll be the platform I stick with for my author platform.

  6. Wish I could help, but I know nothing really.

  7. I personally would suggest Instagram and maybe a website (maybe something free/cheap to start with). Get your books/face out there on Insta with posts (really use those hashtags...they HELP) and direct people to your website or blog with links to find out more info.

    But yeah, pick a platform and just stick to it. If you want to branch out, you could always keep to the main platform, and just share it's content via the other sites (like if you post something on Insta, share it with FB, or if you do a blog post, share it on FB and Insta, and so on).

    But getting your name out and getting people interested and excited about your book is key! There is a HUGE bookstagram community out there, and they are always looking for more book readers and writers to follow!


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