Book review: Create Your Writer Platform by Chuck Sambuchino

cover art - create your writer platformThis is part of an ongo­ing series of book reviews. To view all of them, click here.

Want more people to see your writing? Start by keeping Create Your Writer Platform within arm’s reach of your desk. Even if you think your work will stand on its own without self-marketing, this book should give you a firm-yet-friendly nudge in the right direction.

Chuck Sambuchino covers all the major platform avenues — website, blog, e-newsletter, non-fiction articles, public speaking, and social media — in just under 250 pages. While that length doesn’t allow for a deep exploration of each topic, it provides plenty to get you started.

Likewise, even if you already know some basics — like how to use Facebook or set up a blog — you won’t need to skip anything. As a former public relations and social media professional who has built several websites, I still gained valuable insights into how these tools should serve me as a writer. Create Your Writer Platform also introduced me to key social media analytics tools to quantify my progress.

Sambuchino crafts his message so readers grasp the importance and magnitude of the task at hand, yet don’t feel so overwhelmed they don’t know where to begin. Perhaps some of this approachability stems from the fact that Create Your Writer Platform reads like a blog: more like listening to a friend than reading a textbook. I couldn’t pick it up without my notebook close at hand — not just because I was taking notes for this review, but because I kept jotting down ideas and next steps for my platform-building efforts.

The only big disappointment came with Sambuchino’s treatment of Facebook. He presents readers with a choice: accept every friend request and use your Facebook profile as a professional tool, or keep it closed off and miss an important platform opportunity. Facebook pages bridge that gap, allowing you to create a professional presence for yourself without opening your personal profile to the public. I was disappointed that this feature received only a cursory mention while Sambuchino described the personal profile as an ideal platform tool.

pull quote - create your writer platformI was tempted to gloss over the case studies at the back of the book, but I’m glad I gave them a thorough read. Fiction writers may struggle with Create Your Writer Platform’s bias toward non-fiction platforms, but will find themselves well-represented in the case studies. The presentation will be familiar to anyone who reads blog interviews: answers to a standard list of questions are included, largely unedited, in the interviewee’s own words/voice. This makes even the bestsellers feel human and relatable and will leave the reader thinking “hey, this is something I can do, too.”

It would be easy to finish a book like this feeling like I could never rise to the level of the case study authors, or like there was simply too much to do, but I felt just the opposite. Create Your Writer Platform will leave you feeling energized and ready to get started, even if your niche hasn’t fully revealed itself to you yet.