Launch yourself from an author platform! Get yourself out there!
Emerging writers are advised to expand their author platform by widening their online presence, broadening their social media and linking websites. Recommended tips are video highlights and engaging with other writers on blogs and internet discussion groups. No doubt new writers mull over the difficulties of going from guts to glory. Or, in 21st century terms, Likes to glory. That’s it, isn’t it? The biggest number of Likes, page views or virtual friends you can get will make you the winner. Or does it?
I have read well-written books and I have read badly written books and sometimes those badly written books make it to the top. Why? Marketing the brand, the buddy system, freebies? Or is it because it’s fantastically easy to Like someone even if a reader forgets they tapped Like because they were texting, drinking coffee, looking for food in the refrigerator? Once you’ve reached published paradise via internet or bookshop, sales still remain a genuine way to gauge popularity. It’s a longer process to engage the reader and it involves thinking about the purchase. Tacky as it sounds, when money is exchanged you’re heading in the right direction.
Millionaire writers at the top of their literary game probably don’t put in the same internet hours the novice does. A rookie writer spends a lot of time staring at a screen, tapping away at a keyboard to keep the “me” momentum going. Only to find that if they neglect an area of connectivity for more than a day, they are already stale news. Their post and avatar moves on, drops out and someone else steps into the gap, glowing with instant recognition. Instant, that’s a tricky word, online presence needs to be instantaneous. But it’s usually not permanent, it does not equate to stardom, it just means that they hover in the pack of thousands for an instant.
It’s difficult to know how much networking is too much. Another driving force for the evolving author is the ever-present fear that an editor from a prestigious publishing house will scorn their week-old post and think they are not up to the job. This raises an online conundrum, content versus frequency. The pressure is on.
So that my thoughts can become words, I am using a good media platform right now. However, I’m under no illusions that suddenly it will make me readable, bankable and popular. Personally, I think perpetual loyalty to the internet crushes originality. Ah, a lightbulb moment! As long as you feel fulfilled as a writer, you will write and you will love what you write. Don’t be too concerned about the initial lack of Likes. To gain any sort of recognition, I think we should remain steady and plod along and work hard yet with a happy heart. Stay true to that inner core, that part of our soul which says “Do it, you know you want to, you know you can” and accept the outcome.
♥ Gretchen Bernet-Ward