My twisted thoughts

I’ve recently discovered I’m a contradiction. I’d do good in a Coen Brothers movie because I can go from laughing my head off at the dark and twisted to awwww’ing over something cute and cuddly.

The contradiction really shows in my Twitter and Facebook posts.

platformSee, there’s this thing we writers are supposed to do to advance our careers and gain new readers. We’re supposed to build a platform. A platform is the method(s) a writer uses to get their name in front of agents, publishers, and most importantly, readers. Social media has made building a platform much easier than years past. But still, it takes time, patience, and effort to not only get your name out there but to grow and nurture these relationships you’re building. One step at a time. A platform is ever-evolving. The more you grow as a writer, the more your platform grows.

A brand, on the other hand, is just what it implies. Unless there’s been a big mistake by a delivery driver, you’re not going to find a Coke in a Pepsi cooler. Thus, you’re probably not going to find a Stephen King novel in the romance section. A lot of writers do cross murder-mystery-partygenres and many use pen names so loyal readers of one genre don’t rebel when they pick up a Sci-Fi/Fantasy when they were expecting a mystery.

So, where am I in all this? I’m still building my platform—as I said earlier, it’s an on-going thing. And the brand as a mystery writer is falling into place as I’m establishing relationships with other writers and readers. And here’s where the contradiction is coming in.

I post a lot on Twitter about crime, for a few different reasons. 1) The psychology behind it interests me, 2) as a research tool or plot idea generator for other crime writers, 3) some of it is straight out of a Coen Brothers movie and I just adore them.

confused_jackBut I also post a lot about dogs. I’m a dog lover. And I post a lot about the trials and tribulations of parenting and they’re often funny. My own kids didn’t have one or two kids, they had litters. And as the Granny Nanny to eight of them, I have an over abundance of toddler-related material ready at the whim.

So how can I follow up a too-funny tweet of a picture of Casey with a goofy hat on with a tweet about a horrific murder with all kinds of twists and turns. Beats me. I’m just as confused as you are.

Maybe my brand should be a dog loving, toddler fan, mystery writer?

Swinging both ways

I’m a coffee drinker. I like my morning jolt to be the plain ol’ regular stuff, nothing fancy.  But during the day, or in the evening, I like a cup every now and then of mocha flavored, or hazelnut flavored, or french vanilla. And I love different types of creamers!

But hence the problem. I, like most everyone I know, am on a tight budget where having three or four (or even just two) flavors of coffee in the cupboard isn’t going to happen. Having a fridge full of various creamers isn’t going to happen either. Think of the money one could waste if they bought a particular flavor but found it wasn’t much to their liking. So until fairly recently, one had to settle for the tried and true, the traditional, the coffee of your mom and dad.

Then along came this little machine. It brewed one cup at a time through a little thing called a pod. Pods come in all kinds of flavors. You can brew yourself a steaming cup of mocha flavored coffee then turn right around and brew a cup of decaf for your nervous neighbor. The choices are endless!keurig-k-cup-carousel1

But the machine itself is pricey. And so is a box of the pods. So you have to weigh the options and find which one is best for you. It could be you’ll find you can go either way. Maybe having only two flavors, or maybe only one, isn’t such a bad thing on this day. You don’t want to make the decisions. Just do it the way it’s always been done and be done with it. Tomorrow, you can wrangle with which flavor you want. You get to choose the cover, er…pod.

Wow. Writers, like coffee drinkers, have never had so many choices and opportunities. Traditional or self publishing? Print or ebook? Or both to all?

In Rachelle Gardner’s new ebook, How Do I Decide? Self Publishing vs.Traditional Publishing (A Field Guide for Authors), the Books & Such literary agent lays out the differences (and similarities) between the two. The ebook is a must read for any writer wrestling with the publishing options that a few years ago, weren’t available. Rachellecover

The good news is at least now, we authors have a choice. Both are equally respectable; both require hard work and dedication. Both also require knowledge of craft, marketing, and yes, social media. There’s no right or wrong answer – only a choice. As an author, you must decide what works best for you. Rachelle’s book will help you do that.

Check out Rachelle Gardner’s ebook How Do I Decide? at Amazon.com and start making those decisions. The choice is yours!