Possibly the best part of yesterday was a discovery made on Twitter. I like adding in the blogs of writers who inspire me to my WordPress Reader feed, and one of the tweets mentioned a blog post by Emma Lombard. I read this with mounting excitement and despair. Excitement because this post was cram-packed with useful advice and resources, written in a helpful fashion by someone who had obviously been a complete novice. Like me.
And despair because I realised how much I needed to do to get my “author platform” into shape. Yes, I’d done a bunch of things, set up social media and other accounts in my brand name, including reserving this domain. Emma showed me just how much more work needed to be done. And this isn’t work I can put off. The longer I leave this stuff, the higher the mountain to climb.
As a first step, I need to get my Twitter followers in order. Those are the people I follow, and here I distinguish between people I’m helping by passing on some of the love given to me as a new writer in the #WritingCommunity, and those whom I follow because they are inspiring or practical or funny or writing the same sort of material I’m aiming for.
And those who follow me – mainly out of politeness if not curiosity, I’m sure – I need to work out what sort of information I need to provide to them, and how to do it. Obviously writing out DMs or sending emails to everybody on an individual basis would wear me thin, so I’ve got to cover several different channels, and one of these is going to be a mailing list, and that demands a certain amount of behind-the scenes infrastructure. More accounts and passwords to remember, more things to do, more internet clutter in my life.
I’m starting out small, using a freebie CRM – a contact relationship manager – and a macro handler, both requiring a minimum of programming skills, but both capable of great power and flexibility. For example, if someone follows me, I have a macro that automatically adds them to a Twitter list, where I can later run through the names and send out welcome messages to those who look like they are real human beings instead of corporate accounts trying to sell me something,
I can make notes in my CRM about people. Who has a fabulous blog, who likes the same authors I do, who likes photography, travel, lives in Australia and so on. Who has put their hands up to receive advance copies of my stories. With hundreds of people I follow on Twitter, it’s either this, or hand-scrawl notes on backs of envelopes, or forget important details and spend ages searching for information I need immediately.
With any luck, as time goes by, I’ll not only be writing productively and beautifully, thanks to the inspiring writers I follow, I’ll also be providing a professional author platform to keep my readers from weeping at my ineptitude.
Bear with me, please!
Image from Pexels. Incidentally, I usually download a free photo with a commercial license, run it through Lightroom to crop it and tweak it – usually by dehazing, playing with the lights and darks, maybe add a little vignette and so on – then send it to my iPad where I use an app called Prisma to give it a painterly aspect, email it back and drop it into my blog post. I’m particularly pleased with the way this image turned out when compared to the original.