Some Final Thoughts my adult life I have started several businesses. Each began with curiosity about an industry I wanted to learn more about. As I gained new skills and answered my initial questions, I created a business model based on helping other people answer those same questions.

Several years ago I started Creative Content Coaching to explore how to scale influence while maintaining integrity and authenticity. It was a timely dilemma, as publishing options multiplied and the social media landscape was taking off. After immersing myself in the alt publishing and author platform space, I found my answers and systematized them into a program that I could teach to others.

The program has been very successful, and I could have kept building it. But instead I am headed in another direction, with another set of challenges and exciting new landscapes to conquer. So for now I am moving on from Creative Content Coaching.

I still work with a select few clients on media and messaging strategy. I may still blog here occasionally. But the landscape for authors who want to scale their presence is more settled than it was five years ago, and there are multiple, excellent resources for those who want to find out more—several of which I have linked to in earlier blog posts.

The good news is that quality writing still trumps social media ubiquity. If you have something important to say, can say it well, and have a way to reach people, your platform will grow. Publishing, to a large extent, is about who you know—and half the fun is meeting people along the way. So get out of your shell and share ideas, develop friendships, and enjoy yourself. As Tim O’Reilly would say, bring more value to the ecosystem than you harvest from it.

If you are on my email list, you will continue to hear from me occasionally when I have interesting things to share. And I will continue interviewing people on my Dream Talk Radio podcast and YouTube channel. But for now, bring me that horizon.

Social Media’s Ugly Shadow

200-yr-old cottonwood tree

This article was shared with my email subscribers earlier this month. If you’d like to subscribe, click here.

In this season of All Hallows Eve, when what normally stays in the shadows comes out for all to see, I want to bring up a topic that we don’t often talk about. Namely, that not all online attention is positive. Achieving your goals by growing your platform can also attract negativity: people who use online anonymity to spread cruelty and lies, destroy reputations, and threaten physical harm. For fun. Meet the “trolls.”

Trolling is bullying, plain and simple. It can happen to anyone who gains a large following, especially in tech. And unfortunately, women are often singled out for the worst abuse. Continue reading Social Media’s Ugly Shadow

Scratch Magazine: Explaining the Business of Writing

Scratch MagazineAre you looking for a book contract for your nonfiction, genre or literary fiction work? Here is what three very different, successful literary agents have to say about author platforms:

Platform is really about fame, and there are two different kinds of fame. One is fame among strangers, and the other is fame in your community. And either of those can be a great base for a book project. We all get people coming to us who say, “Hey, get me a book deal, and then I’ll be famous.” And our reply is generally, “No, get famous first, and then we’ll get you the book deal.” There are lots of ways to be famous in the important communities of interest for the project that you’re working on. (Ted Weinstein)

Continue reading Scratch Magazine: Explaining the Business of Writing

Bare Bones: Platform Basics for Authors

Bare Bones Platform

At the San Francisco Writers Conference last month I had the opportunity to speak with many authors about their platforms. The variation was stunning, and inspiring. Even among writers in the same genre, there were no two identical approaches to building visibility and community around their work.

As most authors know, a platform isn’t just “I have a Twitter account.” It is as much about individual preference, goals and creativity as it is about the tools themselves. Yet seeing all the rich variation in fully-built platforms does beg the question: where do you start? What are the essentials, the bones, that all good platforms need? Continue reading Bare Bones: Platform Basics for Authors

Being an Author for the Long Haul

Jon Rawlinson, cc license

As inspiring as it is to read about indie authors who make it big selling ebooks on Amazon, such reports can obscure the fact that most authors work for years before they become an “overnight” success. There are two imperatives for writers who want to take this long road to publishing success: keep writing, and keep building your platform.

Platform-building means marketing not just  your books but  you—as an author, and (yes) as a brand. Marketing oneself requires a completely different mindset than writing a long work of fiction or non-fiction. Yet the two activities go hand in hand, and both must be sustained over a period of years, not months, to get the kind of sustainable income most writers dream about. Continue reading Being an Author for the Long Haul