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Borders, Publishing, and Platforms

Borders recently filed for bankruptcy and one of our local stores is closing. I’ve gone to the store for the last two weekends looking for deals. The bookworms have come out in full effect. Each time the store has been packed. I guess those everything-must-go sales will do that.

Last week, I spent most of my shopping time looking at writing books. This week I focused more on fiction. As I browsed the shelves, there were two books that really caught my eye.  I wasn’t particularly interested in reading either of them. In fact, I didn’t even crack the covers on them. What stood out was the authors’ names, Lauren Conrad and Snooki Polizzi.

Those names belong to two of MTV’s most popular reality tv stars. That got me to thinking about all the blogs I’ve been reading lately about why all writers should spend time building a platform. It makes you more attractive to publishers. Now, I’m not going to say anything about the talents of these two young ladies. (Though what’s the likelihood that they actually wrote those books?) I will say that I doubt either of them would have gotten contracts without the notoriety they gained from being on tv.

For those of us that aren’t fist pumping on Jersey Shore, that means we have to find other ways to build a following. Enter social media. Facebook, Twitter and the like have become the author’s way to connect, build a brand, and sometimes land a contract. I’ve known about marketing with social media for a while. I just never thought of it in terms of writing fiction. Now, I’m learning that how you choose to use social media could be a make or break decision for your writing career. Sigh.  So much to learn, but now I know and knowing is half the battle. 😛