Two years ago I gave a talk called "How To Sell Your Book on the Internet". It was, needless to say, about the "Author Platform" we writers are supposed to be standing on top of, dominating the world of books, and gave handy hints and tips about how to use things like Facebook, Twitter and blogging for the uninitiated writer. I wasn't the only one talking about the subject. Our very own Nicola Morgan has, until very recently, been giving brilliant advice about it on her Help I Need a Publisher blog (much better advice than mine, I can tell you!).
Last week I read a thought-provoking piece by Candy Gourlay on Notes from the Slushpile. She asked this question:
If everyone's now got a platform, how are you going to stand out?
I hope Candy will forgive me for using her excellent pictures to illustrate this point (on the 'picture is worth a thousand words' principle).
How it was....
How it is now....
How do you feel about those two pictures?
I can tell you how I feel. Kind of relieved actually. What Candy said in her piece chimed with my own feelings. It meant that the misgivings I'd had recently about all this jockeying and jostling were not so stupid after all. Don't get me wrong. I love blogging here (and reading about the myriad facets of writing life from my fellow bloggers). I love running the current series on mythological beasts and beings on my own Scribble City Central blog. I love chatting to people on Twitter, though I'm not so keen on Facebook these days. But, quite honestly, all that stuff does crunch chunks out of my writing day if I let it, however much I protest to the contrary, and that's before I've even started trying to get through the mass of links and intriguing industry bits and bobs provided by others.
The sad fact is that we live in a time poor world where there just aren't enough hours in the day to process all the information flooding over us, however interesting it might be. I'd like to read all the interesting blogs out there - but if I did that, I wouldn't have time for my own writing. In the final analysis that writing IS the most important thing for me. It's what puts the food on my plate, and clothes my family. So, I've taken another look at that Author Platform of mine, and am now only doing what I have to to keep it alive and kicking, and concentrating on what I know works. The energy and hours I've saved are already paying dividends in productive writing output.
Je ne regrette rien - building my Author Platform has taught me a great deal. But I'm no longer its faithful skivvy, slaving away at it for fear of being left behind. I've stopped running to catch up with myself. That, ladies and gentlemen of the ABBA community, is my New World Order - and it feels good!
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