Robert Brewer Makes the Word "Platform" Not Give Me the Heebie-Jeebies.
Dearest Lovely Writers,
A few weeks ago I wrote a post on You Are Not A Brand, basically saying that all this talk about branding oneself and developing a platform, gave me the creeps. Mostly because it felt as if it was putting the writer before the writing, putting the cart before the art.
I kept thinking about Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club: You are not your f'ing khakis. How sometimes everything about life feels so commercial, so branded. We can't even be ourselves as artists, we must have some sort of created persona, something to me that felt so inauthentically icky that it went against much in this poet's heart.
Now bring in Robert Lee Brewer's recent blog post on Platform Building for Writers 101, Planning. After I read it, I did not feel dirty. I even left him a compliment about how his post didn't creep me out (um yeah, that doesn't seem like much of a compliment, but it was!)
I think because in reading Robert's post, I felt as if he was writing about connecting with people and making sure you are easy to find in the virtual world, something I think is very important for writers.
When I love a writer, I immediate google them to find out all I can about what they've written, their books. It drives me nuts when I can't find my new love on the internet, or I find this old spider-webby website, last recent update, January 2001.
So I'm not fully changing my views on branding and platforms (as there is still quite the sea of heebie-jeebie type information out there), but I really like what Robert has to say about how the internet world can help you out as a writer.
Here's the opening that didn't make me feel as if I had just walked into a "How to Be a Writer in 7 Days" class--
"One writer can have multiple platforms, and those platforms can intersect and co-habitate or be completely separate. For instance, writers who deal in poetry and fiction may be able to use credits in literary magazines interchangeably for their literary pursuits, but those same credits likely won't help much in pitching a how-to book on woodworking (unless it's somehow targeted at literary types).
In this post, I just want to cover the basics of planning out a platform strategy. I often find that success follows successful preparation and adaptability (to things not going exactly as I planned)."
The rest of the post goes on to offer good advice about buying your domain name (i.e. agodon.com, susanrich.net), but also having a central hub so people can find you.
To me, it felt like professional advice you would give someone who was a writer, not some weird candy about creating personas, selling your soul, sucking the lollipop of commercialism in that scary I'll-be-whoever-you-want-me-to-be way, or If-you-build-the-platform-they-will-come propaganda. In short, it was useful stuff for the writer trying to find his/her place in the online world.
Anyway, dearest readers, I wanted to share it with you because I do think that more administrative/business part of the job-- being available for opportunities and for people to find you-- is important.
Okay, after writing that I seriously want to end with a "but your art is *more* important," sentence here, but you already know that, you already know that or you wouldn't be here.
Happy writing and connecting...