Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Day 17 - No Writing Today, Researching Writer's Platforms

Day 17

I'm not going to try to defend my lack of writing yesterday. I didn't write - not a paragraph, not a sentence, not a word. I own the fact that I did not make the time to move my story forward. 

It sucks! But, it happens to most writers at one time or another. The important thing is to not make excuses - "oh, I had x, y, or z going on yesterday, otherwise I most certainly would have gotten some writing done." 

Sorry, but there are no justifications for not doing your job. At the end of the day, writers must hold themselves accountable for their writing. Whether you have an editor breathing down your neck or simply a group of supportive friends and family, you, dear writer, are the beginning and end of the work. No one can do the work for you, and no one is responsible for it getting done except you.

So, today, I will pull myself up by the bootstraps and make time to write.

Instead of Writing

What did I do instead of writing yesterday? Well, I'm glad you asked. 

I spent my writing time yesterday researching and reading about creating and building a writer's platform. If you've been writing and selling (or trying to sell) your work for awhile, you probably know all about this concept. However, if you are new to the world of publishing and self-marketing, then you are probably not familiar with the term.

A writer's platform is the public, online, and publishing presence writers build for themselves. Not only do you need to write a kick-ass story that people want to buy and read, you also have to take the time to get your name and ideas out there for other people to see. Unless you plan to go the self-publishing route, publishers expect you to have the drive and tenacity to get this done.

Now, you may be thinking this is a case of putting the horse before the cart, but I assure you it is not.

Since it is election time around the country, look at it this way - being a writer who hopes to be published is much like running a political campaign. Name recognition is important, but the ability of the voters (publishers) to find out about you, your ideas, and brand (platform) is imperative.

Susan Grigsby, one of my writing mentors, has told me many times about the importance of self-marketing, particularly online. To paraphrase Susan: 

Potential publishers will look for you online if they are interested in your work. They want to see that not only have you taken the time to build an online presence, but also that you have the technological skills to do so. If the choice comes down to two authors, one who has a strong online presence and one who doesn't, they will choose the one with over the one without every time.

The fact of the matter is this - publishers only spend marketing money on their top selling authors. The remainder are expected to market themselves and their work. This is where building your writer's platform comes into the picture. In my personal research of a wide assortment of publishers, I have found approximately 25% (particularly smaller presses) ask about either what you are willing to do to help market yourself (readings, conferences, workshops, ETC) or what platforms you are currently active on (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, ETC) - more often than not, they ask both.

Resources for Building Your Writer's Platform

During my research yesterday, I found some good resources to share with you about this important facet of being or becoming an author.

Moving Forward

I am going to have to work on this process. I tend to get lost in a time suck when I enter some of these online forums. I need to streamline the process. I'm looking into HootSuite to help with that (fingers crossed).

For now, I'm imposing time constraints on the amount of time I spend in these online endeavors (because there really is no point if I never finish this book). The way I figure it, if I can't accomplish what I need to in an hour, I'm not doing it right.

I'm going back to my writing. Yesterday, I encountered a stubborn little girl who insists her story be told differently than I first saw it in my head, so I had better get to it.

Good Day and Good Writing to You All!

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