The world has never been noisier. Even in my house, raised voices, loud music, and background beat-boxing often become so distracting, I cite my kids for noise violations.
The problem with so much noise is that important conversations get missed.
So, what happens when you are an aspiring writer, and EVERYONE including their grandfather’s pet goldfish is pursuing a book deal, has an Internet following, or is writing a blog blaring to be read? How do you find people who care about your story? Your experience? What you have to say?
That’s a question I’ve struggled with since resuming work on, “Redeeming Ruth: The Inspirational, True Story of One Child, One Family, and a Dream,” a memoir about the life of my daughter. I’m well on the way to revising my 300-page manuscript. But then what? Who is going to hear about my book over all the, well, twitter?
The first step–especially for a writer of narrative non-fiction–is building “platform,” the invisible box you stand on while shouting to be heard. On a basic level, this consists of a web site, blog, and regular contributions to social media. But, how do you get–and keep–anyone’s attention long enough for them to buy your book?
Best-selling author and publishing icon Michael Hyatt offers step-by-step answers in the recently released, “Platform, Get Noticed in a Noisy World” (Thomas Nelson, 2012). This practical, how-to guide is subtitled, “A Step-by-Step Guide for Anyone with Something to Say or Sell” and promises that building a platform has never been easier.
I’m a writer, not a business owner. Most days, after spending three or four hours writing in my shed, I’d rather scrub the grout between the tiles of my bathroom floor than beg people to read my blog. But since I want to sell my book, I picked up Hyatt’s.
Yeah, it’s businessy. Since Hyatt was associated with Thomas Nelson, one of the country’s largest publishers, and served as its CEO for eight years, I hoped it might be–well–more literary with complex characterization and well-developed themes. Maybe even a love scene. This the book is not. However, it is clear, specific, and full of tested instructions on everything from how to create video interviews and develop an on-line media kit to how to attract more blog followers–all with the goal of getting people to pay attention.
In fact, that last statement, just broke one of Hyatt’s rules: write short sentences.
Structurally, the book is broken into five sections and sixty short chapters. I read it over a couple weeks and plan to read it again, pen in hand. Since Hyatt has one of the largest blog followings in the world and I have one of the smallest, I figure I can learn plenty. One thing I don’t recommend, however, is reading the book before bed. When I tried, my mind was buzzing from his rapid-fire delivery.
Oh, and here’s another of Hyatt’s rules: limit blog posts to less than 500 words. Since that leaves me nineteen, I better finish.
Then I’ll edit this at least twice–another rule–before posting. If you are reading this, maybe it worked.
Aug. 1, 2012