Wednesday, 11 November 2009

A Writing 101 Production - Part 1 An Overview of Author Platforms

This blog is about many things--whatever takes my fancy. So there's a good deal of variety in my posts--as in my life. But lately there's been nagging.
'You're a writer,' say the naggers (you know who you are), 'so tell us about writing. What does it feel like when you're in the middle of a novel/thinking of something new/stuck/rejected/dejected etc etc?'
Er, normal. That's how it feels to me. It's my life. It's what I do. And there are lots of really good people out there (Stroppy Author and Crabbit Old Bat, to name only 2) blogging about the process of writing, giving sage advice. Why me?
'Well,' they whine, 'everyone's different. Every writer has a different approach to their work. You might say that one thing which helps someone to finish their masterpiece. Go on--they'll hang on your every word.'
Oh well. All right then. Flattery works. I suppose I can drag myself away from the current project for long enough to say something that might be useful to someone...and it never hurts to build the author platform a little higher.

'So what's an author platform, then?'
Sigh. Well--it's not talking about the writing process exactly, but still.
In a nutshell, an author platform is about
It's about embracing all those new and scary technologies and using them in an entirely shameless way to publicise yourself and your books. It's about being
PRO-ACTIVE. (Thanks @BubbleCow)

So how did it all happen? In the old days, I used to write in pencil, in longhand. My brain fed the words down my arm, and they appeared on the paper. It all took a Very Long Time. Then I got a computer and forced my brain to send the words down to ten reasonably fast typing fingers. But there was no email, so everything got sent off in the Royal Mail to publishers and (when I got one, finally) my lovely agent. That all took a Very Long Time too. I used to sit in my little garret, staring at the walls, writing a bit, staring at the walls, writing a bit. There was the occasional phone call from an editor. There was the occasional letter. But that was it. I knew no other authors locally. I felt very lonely and isolated. Fast forward a few years....
The age of the internet arrived. I got an email address. Communication got faster (but publishers were still slow to respond!). Did I have an author platform yet? I did not. But I started one (in a very small way) when I was asked to do my very first school visit. (That's a whole other topic). Then I got a
Things started to move up a gear. I got fanmail. I got more school and library visit requests than I knew what to do with. I joined the Society of Authors (Children's Writers and Illustrators Group). I went to conferences. I joined the SAS (no, not the balaclaved hard men, the Scattered Authors' Society), which meant that I actuallymet some other authors who lived near me. I joined Facebook, got my alter ego, Atticus the Storyteller, to set up a fan group for me. I took on the Facebook page for the Campaign for the Book (contact with lots of wonderful librarians). I started to blog for An Awfully Big Blog Adventure.

See what's happening here? I'm getting myself out there. Slowly but surely, I'm constructing a technological spider's web which reaches into lots of different areas. My author platform is growing higher and more noticeable. And then I started this very blog, the one you're reading...and I joined Twitter.
But that, dear readers, is a story for another day. Part 2 Coming Soon, as they say in the cinema.


Nicola Morgan said...

Well done! (And from the Crabbit Old Bat herself, that's high praise!) And the thing about all those things that you/I/we do, is that they all link together - you don't even have to plan it that way. In fact, I sometimes think this stuff is better unplanned, allowed to grow organically, so that you say "oooh, i'd like to do that" rather than "if I do that, than this benefit will come." I do the blogging and all that because I love it, and I think you do too. It's the best way, definitely.

Lucy Coats said...

My cup runneth over/overfloweth--praise from the COB is to be treasured indeed. Organic. yes, that's the word for what us techysavvy writers do. Because it's in no way chaotic and unplanned, of course. :-)

Donna Carrick said...

Excellent article, Lucy. It is all about building a platform at the moment for me, so timely. After al, I finally realised I was born to be 'out there'. heh heh

Best in writing and platform building,
Donna Carrick

Lucy Coats said...

Thanks, Donna. 'Born to be Out There'--a future title for Springsteen, perhaps?!

Stroppy Author said...

All so true, and well said, Lucy :-) Though with my current domestic traumas keeping me away from my platform it's beginning to feel more like a scaffold - you do have to keep it going or you hang from it as from a gibbet. (Treasured friends and readers, the stroppy one is only having a little recovery time but will be stropping again soon!)

You're doing a fine job of getting yourself out there, Lucy, and we are all very glad to have you out here - so thank you!

Lucy Coats said...

It does sometimes feel like that. Takes mental muscles to build the damn thing. Some days I feel IT is hanging from ME and dragging me down to some hell of endless internet servitude. Your strops are always appreciated--whenever they arrive. Give yourself a break!

kanishk said...

you don't even have to plan it that way.

Work From Home india

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Before the First Snow kit by Lorie Davison