Today I’m just back from a long weekend in Bryan, Texas. Such a great old hotel on Main street. A night’s stay at the La Salle includes a glass of wine, cookies and milk, and breakfast. The beds are quite comfortable, the sheets just the right sort of “smooth”. I love cool, smooth sheets. They feel rich. I was there for a novel revisions conference with Darcy Pattison who wrote a book called “Novel Metamorphosis: Uncommon Ways to Revise After the First Draft”. I’m on draft twenty-seven but who is counting, right? I found the conference incorporated just the right amount of work, social interaction, and food.
One subject outside of the subject of revision was social media. It’s a huge topic at writing conferences, it seems. Building the writer’s platform is something I’m hearing now and I wonder just how long I have been out of touch. It feels like a new subject. It’s not. A writer’s platform is not just about social media. Social media is all things internet such as Facebook, blogs and twitter. Add to this now the idea of “platform”. Michael Larsen in his book “How to Write a Book Proposal” states that “Your platform is what you have done and are doing to give your ideas and yourself continuing visibility around the country in the media or through talks — ideally both.”
Apparently it used to be that publishers created an author’s platform with scheduled book tours, book signings, and even school visits. It was an invisible and unspoken agreement. That hasn’t been the case for a long time. Even I, the out of touch one, knew that. Hence the huge surge in self-published books especially in recent years. After all, why wait for a publisher to publish your book when you can do it now? Especially if the book’s author will ultimately be in control of the book’s market and advertising buzz anyway.
I understand the frustration of going the traditional route because it can take years of rejections for a manuscript to find its publisher. I will not be self-publishing, though because despite recent upgraded avenues of self-publishing where the book is expertly edited, there are still self-published books which have not been. It’s hard to tell which are which at first glance. This is not an indictment of self-published books. There are excellent ones. I’ve read a few. I’ll still be working my way through more and more manuscript revisions so that the product I send to an editor is the best I can make it. So I plow forward for what it’s worth.
I’m at that waiting in hopes space now with one manuscript getting tighter and another nudging an agent. This is that glorious space between high hopes and getting dashed to terrible bits by a rejection.
Here’s looking at ya.