Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Will it Go Round in Cycles: Our Writing Platforms Future?

I was in bed and a bit under the weather and the subject of building my writing platform online and the future of blogging in general was was on my mind so much that Billy Preston's old song from the 70s, "Will It Go Round in Circles" popped into my head. However, it did not come with Billy's words. (The rest of my babbling on this topic is below the poem or faux lyrics.)

Will It Go 'Round in Cycles?
By Nordette N. Adams, with appropriate props to Billy Preston

I've got a blog, I ain't got no catchy theme.
I'm gonna share it with my friends.
I've got a blog, I ain't got no catchy theme.
I'm gonna share it with my friends.

Will it get hits in cycles?
Will it get big like Dooce all way up high?
Will it get hits in cycles?
Will it trend up like a Twitter Bird and fly?

I've got a Twitter account but few followers.
Talk to myself most of the time.
I've got a Twitter account but few followers.
Talk to myself most of the time.

Will followers come in cycles?
Will they rise high with no spammers in the pile?
Will followers come in cycles?
Will they rise high with no spammers in the pile?

I've got a page set up on Facebook.
I've got friends that don't even know my name.
I've got a page set up on Facebook.
I've got friends that don't even know my name.

Will they say hi in cycles?
Will they say hi like a politician guy?
Will they say hi in cycles?
Will they say hi like a politiican guy?

Will I get hits in cycles?
Will I get big like a Field-Negro up high?
Will I get hits in cycles?
Will my platform grow or will it die?

Will I get hits in cycles?
Will I connect like Carleen Brice and fly?
Will I get hits in cycles?
Will my platform grow or will it die?

Will I get hits in cycles?
Will I crack the code like a Baratunde guy?
Will I get hits in cycles?
Will my platform grow or will it die?

© 2010 Nordette N. Adams

with props to Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round in Circles," a great song.

And yes, I've been saying this stuff for a while, but I am making progress. I finished one novel and am now writing the second one. Anyway, it's not just potential book authors who are feeling the pressure to build, grow, and brand themselves online. You could throw a virtual rock in nearly any direction in cyberspace and in a millisecond hit someone telling you how to grow followers or get more hits.

People want to be seen and sell themselves so much that you can now barcode yourself on Facebook. No, I did not make that up.

BTW, did anyone notice Field Negro's new store? I think Field Negro's web presence grew organically. He was just talking and being himself, not plotting in a corner about Web domination. He was blogging long before everybody and her grandmother's kittens had a blog.

I am feeling the need more strongly than ever to pull away from the Web and focus only on my fiction writing and other writing projects, and stop letting myself get sucked into commenting on controversial topics. However, with all the people saying you have to build a writing platform online, meaning blogs and social media with lots of followers to prove people read you, with the people saying that you may not be able to sell even a fiction book without a big band of followers, and knowing that when you post less often and don't comment on other folks' stuff, your own web presence shrinks, I need to figure out how to create some balance between the need to withdraw from the Web and keeping an online presence.

Then I wonder what does building a platform mean for me anyway because my current presence online has little to do with what my book is about. Should I stop talking to the people I know and only talk to people writing fiction, go make new friends? Should I make this blog only about my writing life? And what happens if I move this blog and lose followers? Maybe it's this pressure that has me feeling under the weather. And how much of my quandary is related to how much this all reminds me not of marketing but of high-school popularity races? I was never an "it" girl, why should it be different online? Now "Nothing from Nothing" is in my head.

Bill Preston (September 2, 1946 – June 6, 2006)


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7 comments:

Carleen Brice said...

I'm honored to be included in your poem! But I have to laugh: I feel the same way most of the time. All this platform stuff...who knows if it even really works? Everybody likes the idea of it, but I'm not convinced it matters.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

That's my constant quandary, Carleen. I think your wonderful platform may have influenced a publisher, but not anywhere nearly as much as your great writing did. :-) I think we writers have to be careful that we aren't duped into watching our hit meter more than we actually sit down and write. :-)

msladydeborah said...

The song is cute.

I write to satisfy myself. If other people enjoys reading what I've posted-great. If not, that's okay.

Megan Anne said...

Obnoxious laugh--> HA!!!!!!! I love it!

It's really weird and I'm sure you've noticed with your blogs, that the most random posts get the most hits! I'll post something and be like, "Oh yeah...this is the one that will get me all the followers and hits and comments." but nothing will happen.

Just like on Twitter...I'll write something profound, but I'll get no RT. Eh.

I do feel like everyone who wants to promote anything should have some type of sample online. I enjoy your blog, so I'm sure I would enjoy your fiction.

It can be a daunting task at times...sigh.

Rita Arens said...

In the business of publishing, the platform is important. I say ooh-rah, stay with the blog, stay with the tweets, stay with the Facebook. I wish it didn't matter, but it does.

In the business of writing, make time for the fiction. It's hard to rip oneself away from the social media siren calls, but rip we must.

I am in the same boat, my friend.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Yep, Megan. I've decided it all a matter of an uncrackable timing code because what takes off depends on who's looking at your words at a particular moment. Sometimes no one's looking at the right moment or only busy people are looking and it's never the right moment because they're busy or at that moment when you say something profound, only the shallow people are looking. And sometimes it's just the Google and Twitter gods have frowned. :-)

Yes, Rita. The platform is important, but I think for fiction writers in particular, it's tricky about what's on your platform next to your writing. Should you blog about the topics from your book so your followers will be the kind of people most likely to buy your book or should you just blog what interests you in general and disregard synergy?

For me it's a case of energy drain. Toni Morrison once advised writers who wanted to produce good fiction to avoid jobs that drew too much creative energy. Could that be blogging for some of us? Is it possible blogging and figuring out how to get hits and marketing will drain us of the very energy we need to produce good fiction? It certainly drains us of the time we need to observe and contemplate life on a deeper level. So, yes, we must find time to pull away or we'll lose our hearts to drivel.

I've been noticing some writers lately who've done a good job of self-promotion notifying their readers they're taking time off to recharge and write what they love away from the online masses. Those may be the smartest ones.

field negro said...

I am honored! Girl you have some skills. :)

Thanks again for dropping me in your poem. It means a lot to be recognized by people I respect.

Peace.