When I began blogging a year ago, I was determined to blog because I realized that if I didn't start blogging, tweeting, etc. to promote myself as an author, my chances of marketing anything were about -10. So I started a blog. (Started two, actually...but that's for another time.) And, as usual, I was overly ambitious and made a conquer-the-blogdom plan in which I would post twice a week in an alternating schedule of four topics: reading & writing; evangelism & discipleship.
That lasted about...two months? Maybe three?
I didn't realize building my so-called 'author platform' via blogging would be so time consuming. Worse, after I realized I couldn't keep up with the schedule, I pretty much meandered with ambivalence and indecision through the rest of the year.
I mean seriously, my blog is like the EXAMPLE of 'What not to do--Ever--when you start blogging'. Some of it was an overabundance of ambition. Some of it was being too scattered (kind of like with the phrase 'jack of all trades/master of none').
But most of all, I think I struggled so much with this first year because I had no idea how I wanted to present myself--not only as an author, but as a person.
Loads of people are trying to elucidate the author platform process with a number of steps, some of which are fantastic. Pinpoint your audience and get to know them--crucial. Get out there. Write something. You know, the basics. (@yourwriterplatform offers spectacular advice, btw!)
Yet the essence of a platform lies beyond these things...
Before going to bed yesterday, I was thinking about my author platform and how I'm upset with it thus far because IT ISN'T WHAT I WANT IT TO BE. Something about it isn't right. So I kept thinking about it and it dawned on me (as I considered Taylor Swift) that the reason why is simple: it isn't 100% genuine.
Ok, so Taylor Swift markets herself to young adults...and the things she does allude to her being. She depicts herself as someone who wants to be involved in my life (her fans' lives), as someone who cares about me (her fans), as someone who can relate to me (her fans).
But in reality, that's just marketing designed to make us feel that way. Truth is, she may not (and, no offense, but...probably doesn't) actually have such sentiments. I don't know because I *don't know her*.
My point is...I want people to know me! When they read my blog or my books or see my fb, I want people to see the REAL ME, not just a marketing image built to satisfy people with an illusion of me.
To many people out there, this facade approach seems to be acceptable, desirable even. Some think it's necessary. If anything, it's 'just business' or 'smart marketing'. And maybe it really *is* smart.
But this approach isn't going to work for me. I don't want to hide who I really am or feel that I should so people will read my books. Or my blog. Or follow me on twitter.
I don't want to be so distant people can't ever reach me, or so elusive that people wonder, 'Is this really what she's like...or is this just a facade so I'll be placated enough to give her my money?'
I don't want there to be a distinction between who I am as an author and who I am as a person.
Maybe that's unrealistic. ...Not that realism daunts me...
But I'd rather be 'unrealistic' and satisfied than realistic and dissatisfied.
Maybe you're like me, dissatisfied with your author platform or blog. Maybe you're just starting out and don't want to make the same mistakes. (Just read some of my first posts and any embarrassment you have/may have had will be abolished.)
Regardless, the most helpful advice I can give from my experience and musing this past year is to be honest and soul search. Be honest about yourself, about your strengths and weaknesses, about what you can and can't do, about what you will or won't do. Don't set yourself up to fail ^_^'. But if you do, no worries--take it all in stride and try again (like me).