Monday, November 17, 2014

Press 1 to Hear About My Book

Post by Jenny 

Even though the recent midterm elections didn’t turn out quite the way I’d hoped, I’m nonetheless glad they’re over. So much hype, so many flyers in the mail, so many phone calls. And because my husband and I didn’t drop off our ballots early, the political propaganda in our house continued right up until election day.

It was while I was deleting yet another strident voice from my answering machine that I wondered: what if writers could use robocalls? Wouldn’t it be great if we could each get a list of thousands of people whose reading histories indicated that they would be a good match for our books? Then we could craft a fifteen or twenty second spot, kind of like a movie trailer for the ears, and blast it out to our potential readers as they were sitting down to dinner. Honestly, wouldn’t you rather have your favorite author’s voice-- instead of your least favorite politician’s--interrupt your beef stroganoff?

Okay, maybe this wouldn’t work so well, because (good news!) there are more writers in this country than even politicians, and that would mean a lot of calls. So we writers have to use other means to build our platforms.

Platform. I’ll be honest with you: that word is the biggest pin in my writer balloon these days. The mere thought of it deflates me. I would be less daunted if building my platform required actual carpentry skills (of which I have none) and exotic materials, including but not limited to unicorn hair, phoenix feathers, and sustainably harvested fairy dust. I know I need to strap on my figurative tool belt, but whenever I start thinking seriously about putting together a website, for example, I instantly fall into a coma.

If writing is my super-power (and by super, I mean average), self-promotion is my kryptonite.

But, seeing as how social media is not the "fad" I predicted it would be, I’m either going to need to change my ways or start rooting for the solar flare that is eventually going to wipe out all forms of electronic communication. I can’t in good conscience do that, though, because I would really miss the internet as a writer’s resource and bottomless well of adorable puppy pictures.

What has helped you build your writer's platform?


Richard Keller said...

I was already active on social media in my role as Facebook page guru (shameless plug Activate --, so building my platform wasn't that difficult. What's needed is a dedicated time to run your social media empire. You can't let it absorb all of your day. Frankly, you'd be immersed in cat videos.

Anonymous said...

I hate with a passion telemarketers, politicians, and anyone calling to ask for money or for some other mundane purpose. Even if Debbie Macomber were to tell me to press 1 to hear about her latest book, I would hang up on her. That's one reason why I decided to disconnect my land line and just use my cell phone with an unlisted number. Making calls to everyone in the book is no way for anyone to build a platform. Good luck with yours by the way.

Shirley Drew said...

I feel your pain, Jenny. The whole process of building a platform is just SO overwhelming! Then you have to MAINTAIN it--who has time to write???

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