by Rachelle Gardner

Platform and social media: Some of us love it, some of us hate it, and most of us are just trying to keep up. We all recognize the potential hazards of social media—mainly, the TIME it takes. The question we each have to answer is: How can we use social networking to the extent that it’s positive and helpful, but no more?

There are two things I’m constantly stressing with writers:

(1) Building a platform is important.

(2) Mastering the craft of writing is crucial.

But for fiction authors, the two are not equal.

If you’re writing fiction, your writing should be first priority. Spend most of your discretionary time writing and becoming a better writer. Read high-quality fiction, read books on craft, get feedback from critique partners, edit and rewrite . . . but mostly write, write, write.

Don’t spend too much time trying to build platform yet. Get a head start, yes. Learn Instagram so you’ll know how it works. But I recommend an 80/20 ratio. Spend 80 percent writing, 20 percent platform building.

Things change when you’re about to get published. And things are different if you’re a NON-fiction writer.

But if you’re an unpublished novelist, your writing is top priority. If that’s not working, all the rest will be irrelevant anyway.

So get off Facebook and get back to work!


Rachelle Gardner is Senior Literary Agent with Books & Such Literary Management, representing both fiction and nonfiction. She currently represents an impressive list of 75 best-selling and award-winning authors. Read Rachelle’s blog and see the authors she represents at In addition to coaching un-agented authors, she also teaches via her online course,

Rachelle will teach a one-hour workshop “Book Proposals That Sell” (Fiction & Nonfiction Marketing) at the 2020 Oregon Christian Writers Virtual Summer Conference, August 19–20. A well-crafted book proposal will present your novel to agents and publishers in the best light, giving them all the information they need to say YES.