Monday, March 12, 2012

I Need A Platform?

When I started writing, I had no idea that it would take years of trial and (mostly) error to even finish one manuscript. And, that completing a novel was just the beginning. The hard work comes after that. A story has to be shaped and edited and vetted. There were times when I just gave up. It was too much work on top of being overwhelmed with job and family tasks.

To date, I’ve finished three novels, two of which will never see the light of day. The third is being commented on by a few trusted “beta” readers who, hopefully, will catch the mistakes I missed. After they are finished, it gets another round with a brilliant copy editor. Then the fork meets the grits. I’ll have to start sending out query letters to agents and publishers. 

While I’m waiting for all this to unfold, the word at conferences and critique groups is: you need to build an “author platform” on social media sites. Great, but where do I start? Which ones? What works the best? How much time does it take?

If it were built with nails and boards, no problem. The Hunter has built shooting houses, tree stands, and a chicken ark. But, the raw materials for a social media platform are things like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. That’s one of the reasons I started writing this one. That, and I wanted to show off my new chickens.

Any time you build something you need to have a blueprint or at least a plan. Building a social media platform seemed like an overwhelming task. To add to the confusion, the traditional publishing industry is in a state of flux right now because anybody can write a “book” and fling it up for sale on Amazon/Kindle.

You know that old saying, when the student is ready the teacher will appear? I can tell you it holds true in this case. I don’t even remember where I came across Kristen Lamb's blog, but reading it has taken some of the anxiety out of trying to build a social media platform. She also blogs about the craft of writing, the state of the publishing industry and other subjects writers love to read about while we are procrastinating, I mean studying.

Kristen also offers what I needed the most, a detailed plan of how to build a social media platform, an e-book called, We Are Not Alone. I’m making my way through it, step by small step. When my “work in progress” is ready to be unleashed onto unsuspecting agents and publishers, I’ll be ready!