Wrestling with Platform Part One: Twitter
After many years of writing and querying, I finally have a book contract. I approved my novel’s cover just last week and I’m bursting with excitement about its upcoming reveal by my publisher, 5050 Press, on June 9. As I wait for what’s next on this amazing journey, I’ve been working to truly build a platform around relationships with other writers and potential readers of my novel.
In many ways, my efforts have been successful. I’ve increased my Twitter following (@staciehaas) from nearly non-existent to just shy of 1,000 followers in one month using many of the techniques outlined by author and Twitter guru, Rayne Hall, in her book Twitter for Writers. These are real followers, fellow fans of the #amwriting hashtag like me. This feels like a significant accomplishment given that I used to think the idea of Twitter was ridiculous. I can’t ever say that again.
Here’s why: one, it is a helpful bridge to other writers. Without Twitter, it’s doubtful that I would have ever connected with more than 700 people in this industry. I have engaged with other writers on Twitter via chats and I check out other writers’ blogs and tips. It’s helpful for my craft and for my soul as a writer. I love the support of the writer community. I wouldn’t say I’m deeply embedded yet, but I enjoy being a small part of it. I’ve read a lot recently about the follow/follow back strategy and I generally subscribe to it. I will always follow back other writers simply because they’re writers. As my daughter would say, they are “my people.”
Two, I got my book contract because I participated in a Twitter contest. Who would have figured? Certainly not me, but I had a ‘why not?’ moment and took a shot. The rest is history, even if it is history in the making. I have been blessed to meet the good people of 5050 Press and I’m not sure I ever would have found them—nor them me—without Twitter. Every time I look at my soon-to-be-revealed book cover, my heart flutters a bit faster. It’s a realized dream and there’s no better feeling in the world.
I must confess that I signed up with Twitter way back in 2012 because my job in PR required it. The sign up was a bit premature since my company wasn’t quite ready for us to use it and my account sat (nearly) dormant for several years. Even at the time I got my book contract, I had less than 200 followers. So all this ramp up has been an exciting development for me. And now, wait for it, I have two Twitter accounts. Two weeks or so ago, I created another account, @chineseyankee. I’m using this account to specifically connect with lovers of Civil War and American history and to share facts about Chinese soldiers in the Civil War. It doesn’t have many followers yet (as I’m trying to organically build its following without promotion), but it is a fun development. I’ll report back on whether it’s a successful endeavor for me in a future “Wrestling with Platform” post.