You Can’t Do It All

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When intentionally building your platform, it might be tempting to begin putting content our on every social media site you can think of.

At first it’s exciting and new. You’re all full of the hope of how this will help your writing and launch or re-launch your career…and then you get tired.

It’s exhausting to try and keep up with a blog, a site, a Facebook fan page, your personal Facebook page, a Twitter account, an Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, LinkedIn, YikYak, Google+, MySpace, Vine, Xenga…You cannot possibly do everything.  (In other news, while writing this, I found that Xenga still exists…how is this possible? Is this like the pyramids?)

Here is my number one advice to anyone starting or revitalizing their platform: Start simple.

You have a life. Keep that life. Don’t let your platform take over time that could be spent making your art. If you spend every free moment pouring into as many channels as possible, you will be exhausted, you won’t be getting the work your really want to do done, and your platform isn’t going to be very strong.

That’s right—more is not more when it comes to your platform.

Choose two channels and build them up well. Personally, I have invested my energy into my blog and a Facebook page.

Once you feel you have a good handle on the two platforms of your choice, consider if you’d like to add to that. If you do, then go for it! It’s easier to start small and grow, then to start the race at full force and burn out before you can really even start. Since coming back from hiatus, I’ve added a website and a more consistent Instagram to my platform.

Most of us are writing part-time and doing whatever else to pay the bills. Time and energy are precious and you don’t want all of that effort to go into your platform. (Although platform is part of the process.)


Bible College SpinsterAs a side note, I want to thank you all for all your support for the first Bible College Spinster post last week! I had a lot of fun reading it and was so touched by the comments, emails, article shares, and conversations this little post spurred.

The series will be a every-other week deal with new content next week.

Thanks again for your support!

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Platform is part of the process

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I love working with writers. Whether it’s during the process of plotting or even post publication, I love seeing how different authors minds work. I love the behind the scenes glimpses I get of those around me.

In the midst of the behind the scenes moments, a lot of talk about a writer’s platform comes up. (Probably because I am both a writer and a marketer…I doubt many writers feel the need to bring up their platform in random small talk scenarios…)

Most of the published writers I know are not too thrilled that they also have to do their own marketing. Confessing what I do for a living to a published writer usually starts a litany of complaints or confused questions.

And I get it, trust me I do. It can be really overwhelming to think about having to keep up a website and a blog and a Facebook page and an Instagram and a Snapchat and and and. It can be a lot.

Except that for a writer, platform building isn’t marketing. It’s storytelling. It is, in fact, part of the writing process.

Think about it this way: What good is telling a story that no one is listening to? What good is telling it if no one even knows you’re telling it?

Building your platform is telling the story of your story. And you get to tell it to those who care about you. You are not just shouting out unto the void, you’re telling your friends and family about it. And then they will tell their friends and family and your circle of influence begins to grow. You are telling a story that catches on.

Publishers only have so much influence when it comes to marketing a book. A book may be critically acclaimed, but that doesn’t mean it is read by the general public. Your personal connections—your friends, family, and co-workers—make a huge difference.

The leg work an author is expected to do in building their platform and marketing their book does not have to be extensive. Choose two or three things you can do well and begin to unpack your story—both the one you’re writing and the one you’re living. Those are the stories your circle of influence wants to hear.

Finding your WHY

doctype-hi-resWhen I tell people I work in marketing, I never really know what response I’m going to get. “Platform building” is not always everyone’s favorite topic. To many, it feels disingenuous, or even a little slimy and I get it. Trust me. I get it.

The thing is, I’m not just promoting things for the money. I get to market books and education—two things I’m very passionate about. I don’t feel like I’m selling something unnecessarily. I’m recommending things I can stand firmly behind and I just happen to get paid for it.

If I don’t believe in what I’m promoting, is there really any point?

For authors opposed to building their own platform, I think a shift in perspective may need to be considered. The question to be answered is how are you actually viewing platform? Is a platform something

A.)used to sell books

or is it B.)a tool to build relationships and foster discussion?

I firmly believe option B is what makes a platform. A just alienates those who believe in your work and doesn’t draw anyone new in.

So what’s the difference between the two?

It all boils down to your WHY.

Simon Sinek explained the concept in his 2009 Ted Talk, which I highly recommend. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

Marketing doesn’t work if it’s just advertising. It’s a relationship. An exchange of values and ideas that may result in a product. But it may not. This is what separates the schmoozing from the substantial. An author’s platform is not meant to be shameless self-promotion. It’s supposed to be tribe building.

I could talk about this all day, but if you’re looking for more on this topic, I recommend this blog post I wrote for Apricot Services.

Weigh in in the comment’s section. What turns you off to marketing and what does platform building look like to you?

 

New Address

photo-1446475157725-e6dada23994eMaybe you noticed, maybe you didn’t, but I’m not located in Bohemia anymore. And my name isn’t “Lex from Bohemia.” I mean, it is Lex. But I do have a last name. Postcards from Preppy Bohemia was a title I loved for my blog, but if someone was looking for my writing, they were not going to find it under my name.

I have one piece of digital marketing advice for anyone looking to start their own platform:
If you’re going to put content somewhere on the interwebs, put your name on it.

For our tech-free folks, the domain is the URL (web address) for your site. It’s how people find your blog/site/store/whatever. If your name isn’t on it, people aren’t going to find it.

One of the best blog posts I’ve read in the past year is from Chad R. Allen (who has a great blog for anybody interested in Christian publishing, by the way.) on how he as an editor interacts with platform right off the bat. He discusses how he will google a writer’s name when he encounters their book proposal.

When I Google a writer’s name, what I hope to see at the top of the search results is the author’s blog or website. This tells me the author has an established location online that Google’s search engine considers worthy of top billing.

See, part of the publishing game is marketing. A lot of getting a book published is letting people know it’s out there. If you don’t have a platform, editors are more likely to move on because they are not willing to put in effort if you have not put in the effort.

The problem is, if you’re name isn’t on the platform you’ve built, how are editors or even readers going to find your work?

So I figured it was time I started practicing what I was preaching.

Welcome to AlexisDeWeese.com! I may not have top billing on google yet, but with some SEO work, we’ll get there. I’m excited to have the new site up and rolling. Pardon the dust as new features emerge.

Don’t forget to leave a comment and share with your friends!

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Why ‘Preppy Bohemia’?

Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of Postcards from Preppy Bohemia! Thank you so much for embarking on this journey with me. I have been humbled by the support, encouragement, discussions, and inspiration you all have provided. You are such a blessing and I am so grateful for every reader.

Exciting things have been happening around here. If you haven’t noticed, I now own my own domain so this blog is officially preppybohemia.com. I’m beginning to line up some guest bloggers for a more steady stream of diverse voices around here. There may or may not even be some new short fiction coming your way. I’m excited to take on these changes with you.

That all said, why on earth have I entitled my blog ‘Postcards from Preppy Bohemia’?

The name came mostly out of my musings on the stage of life on which I wanted to focus my blog. I’m wandering the no-man’s-land of post college. I don’t have roots nor do I really need them at this point in my life. I’m a bohemian not bound by location, responsibility, or rule of this world. I am governed by a higher one and He’s the one guiding this journey that seems pretty senseless at points. So there’s the ‘Bohemia’.

So ‘Preppy’? Well, I’m kind of a priss. I love girly things. I love order and beauty. I’m particular about my clothing, my personal spaces, and life in general.

So, yes, the name is kind of a paradox–the ordered girl in a disordered world. I love that tension and am really enjoying how it plays out in this stage. This blog documents the journey of a wandering priss. Each post is a letter to you, describing where I am coming from in hopes that you may find yourself here to, or perhaps you already have. These are snapshots of the prepster trying to maneuver Bohemia with poise, grace, and a little humor.

So what have I learned so far? I’ve learned that I am not in control. At all. No power whatsoever. That it is okay to desire something. That is is necessary to hold that desire out to the Father. That sometimes the posts you write at one in the morning on Monday become the ones with the most heart and the one’s God uses to do his work because it came from the core of the heart and not out of vanity or desire to go viral. That those who read faithfully have been more of an encouragement and taught me so much about this crazy blogging world than I ever anticipated and that I am so grateful for every single one of you.

This is what Preppy Bohemia is to me and I am so grateful to be going strong into a second year. Thank you thank you thank you!

May we continue to enjoy the journey together!

xo,
         –Lex

Burn Out

Why, hello, dear reader!

I hope spring has come to you at last. Here in western Michigan, we’re enjoying a nice rain. It’s been so long since I’ve got to enjoy that sound.
Now, we must have a short discussion.
As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am working on a novel. Well, at least pretending to work on a novel. I haven’t been able to invest much time into it in the last couple months.
It’s been difficult to balance a blog and small groups and a writing group, and healthy living conditions as well as a novel. As much as I love blogging and interacting with all of you, I am finding myself creatively dry at the end of the day.
I was encouraged this week to just write the blasted thing. To just get it done.
My priority is to be a writer. To put this novel down. Surpassing that is being a family member and friend, a following, perhaps, being a small group leader, and lastly a clean bathroom maker. (Why does that one always come last?) A lot of these roles have been put on hold in order to keep this blog as well as some other blogging collaborations going. I need to pour my creativity into the art I have been called to make.
As a result, I cannot be as devoted to long posts and lots of social networking. (I think I can hear some of you breathing a sigh of relief…) I’m not giving up on Preppy Bohemia. Posts will still come–hopefully on a weekly basis–but for the next four or five weeks, posts will be shorter and my reply time on comments and email may be a bit more delayed. This is not a formal break, but instead, a declaration of no structure for a short time. By May, I should be recharged and ready to do this thing. In the mean time, this place my look more like a writing blog, but hang on. I promise, I’ll be back to a full range of topics shortly.
I am excited to get to writing and am so thankful to all of you for your support and understanding.
What about you? What is something you need to return to doing? What is something you may have to put down to do it?
Here’s to the journey,
                  –Lex