How to Build a Solid Writer’s Platform, From the Ground Up – Part One
This is the first part of a series on building a writer’s platform.
A Cooperation Economy
You may have heard our current economy being referred to as a “connection economy.” I think it’s more than that. Sure, connections probably are our most important form of currency, but a connection economy of necessity gives rise to a cooperation economy. (Click to tweet.)
Think about it for a minute. All those connections you’re making, all the friends and followers you’re adding, aren’t any good to you unless they cooperate with you in some way.
Why do I say this? Because, as it turns out, I’ve been doing a sort of informal experiment over the past year and figured this out.
You see, a little over a year ago I took the plunge and began writing my first book. I had thought about doing serious writing for years, but for some reason hadn’t done it. I don’t really know what finally pushed me over that casual writer-aspiring author edge, maybe it was just that I finally had a story that demanded to be written and I could no longer ignore it. Whatever.
So, there I was, writing a book. I knew from being an editor that there was a lot more involved nowadays in being a writer than just writing.
In the new world in which we find ourselves, the one where independent publishing is now the norm, not the exception, there is a lot more work to be done as a writer than just secluding yourself in an old, haunted hotel and writing.
Jack Nicholson on the set of The Shining (1980)
Now, you have to be social. Social Media—that is.
Everywhere I turned, I read that as an aspiring author I needed to build a writer’s platform, and that meant growing my connections through Social Media.
So I set out on a mission to get as many followers as I could on Twitter. My goal was 2,000. I set aside time every morning to find new, interesting people whose interests were in reading, writing, and publishing books. I followed twenty or more people every day, hoping to get some of them to follow me back. I learned to interact with my followers by joining in on things like #WriterWednesdays and #FollowFridays, engaging them in conversations, and retweeting some of their more interesting tweets. I also learned, through a process of trial and error, that it was more productive to follow people whose “Followers” and “Following” counts were roughly the same size, because they will more than likely follow you back.
However, I wasn’t very diligent at this task and sometimes I forgot all about my Twitter account for days or weeks at a time.
Now, I don’t want anyone to get the mistaken impression that I intentionally sought out to use them as an experiment. It was pretty much accidental. I sincerely wanted to grow my social network, but at first I really didn’t fully understand why. All I knew was what we all were told, namely that it was “important” to have a large social network if you were a budding writer, looking to publish a book or books.
Anyway, fast forward a few months. I had grown my Twitter following to a solidly respectable 2,000 followers. I had successfully met my initial goal. (And I actually found a few friends, along the way!) Yay! Now what? I had no clue.
Fast forward to present day. I think I’ve finally figured it out.
It is not only important to have connections, it is even more important to have cooperation. Your connections somehow need to be motivated to cooperate in helping you spread your message, whatever that is. In my case, I would like my connections to spread the word about my blog, about my writing in general, help me find more connections, and, in a few months’ time, spread the word about my book.
So, the point is that connections are no good at all to you if you don’t develop cooperative relationships with them. They don’t really benefit you if they don’t cooperate with you in spreading your message.
It’s almost like you’re building a community that will help you raise your barn. (Click to tweet.)
How do you build cooperative relationships? That’s the topic of tomorrow’s post
- Editing — Why It Matters
- Building Cooperative Relationships, Part 2 of How to Build a Solid Writer’s Platform