No one gets publishing deals these days without a lot of sweat and tears and a huge platform.
When you are a person who wants to publish a book one day the number one thing that potential editor will ask you is, “Could you describe your platform?”
Having a platform is social capital. Who do you have in your corner? What kind of people read what you already produce? How many hits does your blog get a month?
Publishers care about social capital because they want to sell books. They want to know if your platform is substantial enough to turn a profit. Especially as a first time author, the strength of your platform is everything in terms of making a first impression. Without a platform that others deem worthy enough, you might as well go back and crawl into your writing hole and try again later.
Maybe I’m being dramatic, but in this cut throat world of publishing and superstar bloggers, subscriber lists and retweets, having a strong platform is everything to making your up the ladder in the big girl publishing world.
I understand– it is just the way the world works, but at the same point I’m completely frustrated by the whole bit.
Why? Because some of the most spectacular voices I know aren’t those without audiences that would be deemed notable.
They are friends who’ve published their first book and are in the proposal stage for their second, though the Huffington Post or the Christian Century won’t give their ideas the time of day.
They are friends who’re dreaming about blogging more than once a month with wisdom to offer that leaves me speechless but have other commitments other than writing for now.
They are friends who shoot me their essays every now and then with such gems of language that make me want to weep but their lack of internet skills mean they’ll never have a blog.
And I’m influenced by all of them. I’m challenged by their grit, their honesty and their wit. And though they go unnoticed by the large media and might be deemed unimportant by those with the power to say their words get out to a larger audience or not, their voices– at least to me– still have worth. I follow them even though they may only publish an article once a year or blog every six months. And I’m all the better for having experienced their offerings.
I’ve been blogging now for over 8 years. When I first began this journey I did so simply because I loved to write and the idea of sharing my thoughts with others. And my friend Amy started one. She usually had good ideas. So I tried it. And it was a lot of fun.
Over time as my love of writing and big picture thinking grew so did my interest in having a larger audience. I wanted to have conversation with others who needed a companion for the journey, hoping that all my late night musings would be of value to someone other than my husband.
But here I am in year 8 feeling slightly frustrated by the whole platform thing.
Sometimes it feels like I am just throwing my words into the sky and no one really cares.
Sometimes it feels like the Google search engine algorithm is out to keep me down.
Sometimes it feels like I will never find a publisher because I haven’t found a way to stand on one foot while juggling and patting my head at the same time– what the big girl writing world seems to require.
Sometimes it feels like my dreams for my life will simply not come to fruition.
But, whatever. Here I am. Writing a couple of times a week. Writing because I don’t know how else to figure out my life. Writing not because of the number of you reading, but writing because I have something to say. For those of you who are faithfully with me on this journey- thank you.