Since when was writing about platforms and social media?

I’ve been doing a bunch of reading lately, fiction and non-fiction. Most of the non-fiction has been about writing, and more specifically, it was supposed to be about how to leverage what I’ve already done and figuring out how to take it to the next level in terms of both craft and getting exposure.

The two books were quite useful and practical, and both have had excellent reviews:

There are sections in both books, at the beginning, about the job of writing. How important it is to write well. Start writing, write well, keep writing. Nothing new here.

The meat of these two books, the “how-two”, is about social media and the web. It’s about brand, platform, positioning yourself as an expert,  how you connect and network online to build a following, and how by building a following, you’re creating a built-in audience for your product, which in turn, makes publishers want to work with you and your followers buy your books.

Dollars & Sense has some great, detailed steps and would work well for you if… a) your audience is adults; and b) you have a specific product/focus.

You are a Writer has pretty much the exact same steps as Dollars & Sense, but it’s shorter, with less detail and fewer examples. It would be useful to you if…  a) your audience is adults; b) you have a specific product/focus; and c) you are a non-fiction writer.

As mentioned, these books will be useful to you IF you are in a situation exactly like or very similar to those noted. They are about self-marketing for writers and how to make money. They are also contingent on having time to both write and build your brand.

Trouble is, even though I’ve taken away some practical online marketing tips from both, they’re not as useful to me as I would have hoped. I suspect this is because I am not their target audience. I don’t have lots of time. And my products vary — I don’t have a single niche and sometimes, my key audience isn’t in a position to be online or spending money. If I follow these tips, I would be building and maintaining multiple platforms for multiple audiences. Can’t imagine how much time that would take! Plus, not sure I’d get many parents following me because of the chapter books I’m writing for their elementary school-aged kids.

The other, more useful book (for me) was:

Do the work has practical steps about the work of writing, about bringing the passion, following your gut, how to move forward and create the work you want to create. Beginning, middle, end.

I appreciated this book. I like the idea that the most important thing is to create work you are excited about. I’d rather experiment and try many different things than lock myself into to a specific platform. At the end of the day, I am a storyteller, not a brand. The story will dictate the audience and the format.  No story will be cast aside.

Writing ought to be an adventure, not a branding exercise.