Monday, October 21, 2013

Creating a Platform

In my first post I mentioned that I was going to be writing about learning my way around the Internet. Now I'll tell you why I need to learn this. It all has to do with creating what the pros call a writer's platform. For those of you who aren't writers (or are novice writers), it basically means marketing yourself through social media.


After reading hundreds of articles on the subject over the last couple of years (and hoping I wouldn't have to do it), I've come to the conclusion that they're serious. When I first started to write, I figured I'd go with traditional publishing. I agonized over writing the perfect query letter and synopsis of my first manuscript. At the same time I was also keeping up with the ever growing e-book market. Guess what? It doesn't matter which way you go - you still have to learn how to market yourself and your books!

I was on such a roll with writing that I didn't want to stop to learn how to market. And yes, I'll admit it, I really didn't want to learn. After all, writing is a right brain exercise - marketing is not. My brain doesn't switch over willingly when I need to learn technical stuff. When I'm learning something new, I have to give it my full focus.

Part way through working on the third manuscript of my series, I decided it was time to stop what I was doing and get into marketing. I had to drag myself kicking and screaming of course, but it had to be done. Once I made the decision to go with self publishing, it was time to throw myself out there, ready or not. I was already comfortable with using Facebook. I joined a bunch of writing groups, and started one of my own (that had morphed from a writing workshop I used to host). I even created a few other group pages that had nothing to do with writing.

Once I felt I understood Facebook well enough, it was time for the next step. So I created an author page (focusing on my main characters - Jake & Maggie Maguire), updated my LinkedIn and Goodreads sites and joined Twitter. Then it was time to start a blog, which takes us to where I am now. Next on my list is to get a web site, then on to getting my books published.

Trouble is - I miss working on my novel. The third one is only one third written and I want to get back to it. Why don't I - you ask. The answer is that I know myself all too well. If I go back to writing now, I'll never get a web site going. You see, I love my characters. They've pretty much taken over my writing. Once I get back into writing their story, they will take over my mind and I'll never get back to marketing. Once I have the first book published, I'll have to find a balance between writing and marketing.

Ah, for the old days when marketing for a writer meant an occasional book signing at a book store. As we writers know those days are long gone. Sure an author might still have a chance to do that, but with so few book stores left, it usually means standing at a booth at a local library or street faire. I wouldn't mind a library gig, but the street faires go all day and you're standing on the street pavement! And if our local street faire that I attended yesterday was an indication of how well things are going in that area, forget that idea. The economy has hit them hard. Everyone just walked around - didn't look like much was being bought.

So that's my sad tale. Thanks for listening. See you again in a few days - that's if I don't jump off that proverbial platform.

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