Along with Tara Agacayak, I run a private mastermind group on LinkedIn (it’s a subgroup of my Creative Entrepreneurs & Social Media group). Once a week someone steps into the center with a case study and asks for feedback and suggestions on their next steps. Here are my thoughts on building out a writing and artist platform:
I use Wordpress and Tumblr (simply as a feed of my blog, microblog and Delicious activities). It seems moving to Tumblr or Posterous might make things much simpler for you as a blogger-- they seem easy/breezy as blogging platforms -- whereas Wordpress's wider capabilities will encourage building a bigger site with more going on. So, since you're talking growth and not just 'make it easier' then I'd say Wordpress.
As for platform building, where are you meeting and engaging with potential readers of your novel (besides Twitter, SheWrites, Facebook, LI, your blog)? Any communities out there specific to the topics in your novel? Taking part in reader-based litchats on Twitter would be another way to start being known as the woman behind the voice that people will be able to read when your book comes out. (Consider posting small excerpts of the book so we know what it's about and grow connected to it?)
Maybe someone here can share leads to artists, writers, cultural curators that you are aware of online -- if you know of them, they're doing something right to get your attention.
As for making the hybrid nature of your work clearer through your platform, I'm reminded of the blog convention of another multifaceted woman: Ruth Harnisch. She breaks down the different channels of her being and lets that be the structure of her site. "The Maker of Mistakes". "The Philanthropist". "The Catalyst". "The Recovering Journalist". Perhaps something like this might allow you to indulge your interests and help a visitor to your site/blog comprehend your better?
The expatharem site has sold books through its Amazon link -- in the first couple of years of the site. The #s since I relaunched the blog are too tiny to count for anything and that may be a result of the maturity of the book or the fact that I don't push it much on the site, and/or people aren't coming to the blog to buy the book or learn more about it. However, yes, making things available to our interested parties is part of making what we do a business. We have to make the offer. It's relevant. However, I also know being on twitter has sold books. People I met there, people who found out about the book on twitter (like during #litchat on expat lit).
Also: here's a great interview with a 'unmarketing' book author about how he built both a support system and a target audience on Twitter and presold 3,000 copies of his book. Good lessons there about how to engage and when to sell.
In response to your question about using your own name as a brand, an SEO specialist I know from ThirdTribe (@CraigFifield) just offered an impromptu SEO consult on Twitter before the end of his workday/workweek. I took the liberty to ask him for an opinion on this, in general terms. Here’re the tweets (which overlap, as Twitter does)....
CF: i have 15min before I quit for the day -- how can I help you with SEO or your Blog?
AA: wd someone's name be a better blog name for SEO than tagline about art and the creative life?
CF: in terms of SEO I would use a keyword that people are searching for. Or, I would go for branding and ignore SEO
AA: that is, are proper names SEO at all? and generally used words and phrases amount to very little in SEO world?
AA: so in researching keywords "creative life" what result would prompt good use of that phrase in blog title?
CF: depends how your audience uses those words. I would do some keyword research to decide. do you have an example?
AA: ok think i got it! (branding with a proper name means SEO considerations unnecessary)
CF: well, unless your brand will eventually be big enough to be searched on :) make your brand name unique to win there