To start off, this post isn’t going to offer any grand solutions to platform building — I have none. This remains one of my greatest struggles as an author in addition to being a point of frustration and bursts of depression. For every step forward, no visible progress seems to occur, and now that I’m juggling so much more in my day-to-day life, time seems too limited to get anywhere. Making it worse, I’m a massive introvert.
I’ve always been introverted and get extremely tired when I “people” for too long. I often stumble while trying to sell myself or my work, though I can move hydroponic lettuce and microgreens like a pro — go figure! This summer, for instance, Heritage Lost was available at two local farmers’ markets, one with me and the other with my dad’s girlfriend. She was able to move them while I only sold one over the course of the summer season. I think I’m too Ron Swanson in my sales tactics: It’s a chair. Whereas a chair can stand on its exterior qualities, a book must be sold as an experience. I stumble on that part when on the spot.
Even when building online, there are challenges. Today, authors have so many avenues to connect with potential readers, but even with all the social media available, it can feel like one is shouting into a void or are building connections upon sand. Shifts in algorithms can make the situation even worse, really hindering the ability to be discovered by the right readers.
The sheer number of platforms can be overwhelming, and I have personally taken a gradual integration approach: WordPress blog, then Twitter, then Facebook, then Instagram, and finally, a fledgling newsletter. Even with just these five, I still struggle to keep everything active. The doubt lingers on whether I’ve built my platform on targeting other writers rather than readers or not. There is overlap, yes; however, in general, readers are the lifeblood for any author, not fellow writers.
You can really spiral, especially if others’ platforms skyrocket while you stay in a rut.
Recently, one of my Facebook friends shared an inspirational photo and saying that really connected with me. I’m focusing on every single platform step that I need to do and overwhelming myself to the point where I become catatonic. While I have no answers for platforming, I think my path forward will be taking one step at a time. I will also not compare my staircase to other’s staircases — that will only end in failure.