Hello, my friends.
Hopefully the new year–the new decade–is treating you all well. I’m still working on some personal resolutions, like not spending money on junk food. That’s the good thing about resolutions. One bad day doesn’t break your resolution. That’s what I believe. You have 12 months to make whatever habit you want to change a reality.
Over December, I thought about resolutions I wanted to see happen in 2020. There are a lot of personal ones, but I’m focusing on writing in this post. Specifically, my online presence as I build my author platform.
Online presence is a major player when it comes to building your brand, whether you like it or not. It’s become part of the interview process these days. I thought because I wasn’t trying to get published for monetary gain, I didn’t think I needed to market myself. However, I had an epiphany. I took a long look at myself and said to myself, “Yes, I want to be recognized for the stories I write.” My wife, my biggest supporter, gave me a rude awakening.
My posts and tweets were red flags to not only people who followed me on social media, but also potential publishers. I was marketing myself in a positive manner. On top of that, I was neglecting other platforms. That kind of marketing will drive people away from your brand.
So one of my resolutions as far as writing goes is to build my brand. That means evolving my online presence. That means being more active on platforms, taking advantage of features that these platforms present, and at the crux of it all, be authentic. While being more positive is a step in the right direction, it’s impossible to be happy all the time. It’s important to have a balance. Sharing the shortcomings as well as the success stories. Give my audience a glimpse into my personal life and my writing life.
So, let’s run down and evaluate all my platforms.
Twitter. This is the platform I use the most. Most writers, I assume, use Twitter the most to promote their work. And unfortunately, I’ve used it to bash myself and air my grievances to the world. That, and Facebook. So, going forward, I’m going to use to promote stories. Also, hashtags help with promotion and gaining a following. I’ll use those most associated with writing and then some.
Facebook. Another platform I use, though not as much as Twitter. But like Twitter, I’ve aired too many grievances and shortcomings on the writing groups I’m in. That needs to change. Also, I thought about being an administrator on a group of my own. I was searching for African-American writing groups and didn’t find any that were very active. If I am to start a group of my own, it will require a lot of my time and create content of my own. Doing so certainly means not being so down on myself.
Instagram. This is one platform I’m not very active on. Honestly, I thought about deactivating my account. I don’t take a lot of pictures, let alone make any of them fancy. However, like Twitter, hashtags go a long way in building a following. But it’s also good that people see me beyond the writer. It’s all about living in the moment and having fun with life.
WordPress. This is kind of a no-brained since I already write on my blog. Having said that, I want more traffic on my posts. A lot of bloggers have said posting on a schedule helps with bringing more people to blogs. Also, it helps to have a variety of content. Two things I’m sorely lacking with my blog. I need to get back to posting stories on my blog, not to mention be more creative with my content. Also, I need to visit other blogs and comment on them. That should peek others’ curiosity.
Goodreads. This is probably the least used platform. I’m not a big reader, one. Two, I don’t participate in a lot of the forums. To be honest, I’m not exactly sure why I signed up for Goodreads. At the time, I was following some friends and fellow writers, learning about what they were reading. It’s not a bad platform, but I think with the stuff I write, Goodreads may not be a good fit for me. It may be a case of “adding by subtracting.”
Snapchat. Just a few weeks ago, I downloaded this app on my phone. I’m not exactly sure how this will apply to my writing, but it can’t hurt to have fun with it. I’m learning about all the filters that are available. And it seems like new filters are being added regularly.
Pinterest. Most writers I know use Pinterest for many things, in and out of writing. I’ve seen boards for stories, character inspirations, prompts, and material not necessarily related to writing. I have a lot of boards. Some for writing, some I put together for fun. I created boards for story ideas and inspirations. I deleted them for no logical reason. I just thought they were a waste. But I’m going to recreate those boards. It will require thinking out of the box.
There is one other thing I will need in building my brand. Help. I will need a navigator in order to be successful. It’s doubtful social media groups will be enough, but I can use them to cast my intentions. I’m hopeful I’ll find the right person as I build my portfolio of stories.
Building my brand will not be easy. Anything worth its weight in gold never is. This is a new beginning, though. And with new beginnings come new opportunities. I have an opportunity to correct the mistakes I made over the years and use these platforms in order to make myself more appealing to my peers and future publishers. I have many questions to answer about my online presence through these sites. Some may require tweaking; others, a complete makeover. As the year progresses, I’ll keep you guys informed on how this journey is going.
Until next time…