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Monday, December 5, 2011

Transforming the internet from Playground to Platform

Transforming the Internet from Playground to Platform

I started this blog a little over a year ago with no intentions other than to get myself into the habit of writing every day.  At the time, I had the dream of becoming an author, however, I had no idea how to go about doing that.  So the ramblings and rantings on this personal blog had no direction whatsoever.  A year later, I have two completed manuscripts that are in the process of being edited and I've read books and blogs and newsletters about  how to be a successful indie author.

Everything comes down to "platform" and "branding".  If I were to look back at my previous posts, all I would be able to say is, "Oh crap, I've done everything wrong from the start.  Shall I plead ignorance?  Sure.  But that won't help me.  Those posts about nothing are still out there.  I could delete them, I'm sure (I haven't looked).  In fact, I probably should delete them.  Just not yet.  I think I am going to use them as a record of how I am building my new and improved platform.  After all, I don't have books out there for purchase yet, right?  And who knows, maybe this will help someone else out who isn't as mired in the wrong way to do it as I am.

The blog is an easy fix.  I can (hopefully) just delete the account and it all goes away (I apologize to my dozen followers).  I have bigger issues than just a poorly written, and completely pointless blog sitting out on the internet.  I have a Twitter account.  I have a Facebook account.  Both were set up and started for personal use.  Then the mistake kicked in.  When I first started reading about platform this and platform that, I went gung-ho and started "friending" every horror lover, I could find on Facebook, and following every horror lover and writer, I could find on Twitter.  I've gotten my Facebook friends up to about sixteen hundred and my Twitter followers up to twenty six hundred.  Great, right?  Not so much.

I am now at a point where I understand the whole "branding" and "platform" better.  If I want to keep attracting people that I think would be entertained by the books I have written and will write in the future, then I have to make every Tweet and Facebook post stay on "brand".  No more personal rantings.  No more drunk Tweeting (oh yeah, this guy is notorious for it).  But the worst part of it is, I have to be conscious of everything I put out there now.  I can't just sit back and try to get the phrase #AllOverMyFace to trend on Twitter with my friends.  See my Twitter stream from Thanksgiving weekend.  It's quite immature and crude.  But that's me.  But that is not how I want to be perceived by those, I wish to entertain with my future books.  I want anyone who doesn't know who I am to see someone who takes his craft seriously.  Which I do.  I just enjoy being crude and immature when I am not writing, not to mention the drunk Tweeting and Facebooking.  My phone should be taken away from me when I take that first sip of whisk(e)y.

How do I fix those two aspects of my platform?  I'm not sure.  I've worked pretty hard to actually build this following, both on the personal and professional side.  They are just completely mixed together right now.  As I see it, I have three options, and I don't know which is the right answer.  Maybe my followers and friends can help me on this one.  1) I create new Twitter and Facebook accounts for my personal life and go through the hassle of trying to get all of my personal contacts for migrate with me. 2) I create new Twitter and Facebook accounts for my writing side (I've already done this for Twitter, but I keep staring at the one follower and then look at my main account with 2600 and say, there's no effing way, I'm starting from scratch).  I spent a lot of time and effort to get these to where they currently are. 3) I keep the mixed up jumbled groups together and just let the potential customers see that I am a person too.  I may have to work harder at convincing them that I am a serious writer, but I blow off steam just like anybody else.

To be honest I like option three the most.  Maybe because I'm lazy and it is the least amount of work.  Then I think about my literary heroes, like Stephen King and Brian Lumley and Clive Barker.  I don't see them "publicly" drunk tweeting, or trying to incite the internet to type #AllOverMyFace as many times as possible. Then again, are they bad examples?  Sure they are the top of the game in my genre, but they are of a different breed of writer.  They are traditionally published.  I do not intend to be so.

To say I am still on the fence about this is an understatement.

Do I start from scratch with one of my "personas" and have two separate and "clean" spaces?  One a business platform, and the other what the internet has always been for me, a playground.  Or do I build this "platform" around what has already been started and wind up with the "platform" equivalent of the Winchester Mystery House.

I've designated December as "Build my Platform Month".  I've got a lot to do in order to meet my goal of having it "branded" by 12/31.  I also have to establish several more "supports" for this "platform" (are you as tired as I am of reading those terms?).  I intend to keep you posted vie this blog as I complete each aspect.  I will beg you for feedback on each as they become complete.  Shameless, I know, but hey, if you've read this far, there is something to seeing this journey through to the end.  Or the beginning of the next wild adventure.
Quick list of platform items to be constructed/repaired:

Twitter (saving for last until decision is made)
Facebook (same as above)
Facebook Fan Page
Blog presence presence
Newsletter(email version)
Amazon Author Page
B&N Author Page(do they have one)
Smashwords Author Page (do they have one?)

That is enough for tonight.  Time to get to editing my beloved manuscripts.  If you have any advice, please leave a comment below.

There was nothing frightening about this post except for the amount of work still to be done, or maybe that you read the whole damn thing.

So as always, Stay scared my friends.