MidsouthCon30 & my online monster

It’s here! MidsouthCon XXX has come and starting tomorrow I’ll be back in a world of people I love. I’ll be standing in the midst of nerds, geeks, misfits and dreamers.

Here are a few expected highlights:

  • Literary Guest of Honor Michael Stackpole – For one, he’s written one of my favorite fantasy series, but I’m also excited to experience his “21 Days to a Novel” workshop. A timely word as I begin my first novel. I can’t just talk about it anymore. It’s time to get to work.
  • Spending some time with talented friends I don’t often get to see like authors Jackie Gamber and Stephen Zimmer of Seventh Star Press. And I can’t forget seeing my brothers (& sister) of the I.B.B.L., the International Brotherhood of Beards and Leather.
  • Walking a small group through the process of creating a system of magic. I’ll share a little more of this later, but it’s a repeat of a meeting I led for my writer’s group with a little more time freedom to work exercises and deepen the experience. It was so fun the first time, I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!
  • Food products I probably shouldn’t be putting in my body, but hey… it’s only one weekend!
  • Conversations that would have people either scowling, rolling their eyes or scratching their heads if they were heard in most public places.

Sound like fun to you? There’s still time to join us here in Memphis for the fun. You can get the lowdown at the Con Website.

Now, as I get geared up for yet one more session of training I am cluttered with all the wonderful information available for aspiring authors looking into the world of publishing. Platform is a wonderful word that gets tossed around quite a bit these days. I was reminded by Carlos Whittaker that the best platform is one built on integrity and quality work. It’s no good to develop a great platform image that you can’t back, which in my experience happens quite a bit. I myself was headed down that road putting platform before work. That said… platform is important in marketing today!

The work is coming and I will create the best work I am able to do right now. Once it’s ready, a little bit of platform can help. So, I’m wrestling with the possibilities. It’s become my little online monster. Note that I am not the guy who loves the internet. I don’t have a Twitter account, and Facebook, Google+ and I may go weeks without seeing one another. It is, however, a valuable tool for networking and marketing that I must learn to use. Somehow I’ll have to conquer this monster and tame it to my benefit. I’m interested in your thoughts and experiences.

How are you taming your own online monster?

About Kirk

I enjoy life and have been blessed with many different experiences. An eye for the underlying truths that surround me accompanies a growing faith in Christ and God that informs my world and reveals small miracles and beauty surrounding me every day. This is the major reason I felt led to start Dance of 2 Companies - a dance studio where I can share all the little amazing things God's taught me through life as a dancer - about myself, about others, about marriage... and most importantly, about Him.
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6 Responses to MidsouthCon30 & my online monster

  1. Heh. How do I tame my own online monster?

    I’m not sure that I do.

    As a fellow aspiring author, I’ve read a lot about “building a platform” and how authors whould engage with blogs, twitter, facebook, etc. Most of what I’ve read doesn’t amount to much, honestly. (And I’ve read counter-points to this common advice as well, e.g. at the writing blog “Magical Words“). No where have I read what’s a sure-fire way to build an online “platform”. Nor do I see agreement and consensus on what a platform is or just how important it is. (Some advice seems to suggest it’s more important for non-fiction, for example.)

    For myself? I have a twitter handle. I don’t have a public-facing facebook site – just my private page. I do have a Google+. I rarely use any of the three. Mostly, I have my blog. It does not a platform make, however. I don’t get that many visitors: I’m a very small (aspiring) fish in a very large pond.

    So, where I’ve ended up is this: I have my blog, but I don’t expect my blog to be anything than a place where I voice my thoughts and maybe someone listens, and maybe they don’t. (Of course, I’m still sad when a given post doesn’t get many hits or comments, but c’est la vie.) It was, more than anything, originally a place where I could vent the pressure of not being able to write (for various reasons) while wanting desperately to do so. I’m not in that place anymore, but what happened was that through the blog I was connected to a small number of author, like-minded asipring authors. And that sense of community has been very… well… gratifying, I guess.

    • Kirk says:

      Thanks for responding. It’s funny but there is some small comfort in hearing from someone else that it’s not exactly cut and dry, or for that matter, easy. I love that your blog has given you that community and connection to other like-minded aspiring authors. And thank you for the link… I’ll give it a read.

      • That site, in general, is a pretty useful place for some decent writing advice. I comment there occasionally (although I’m trying to scale back after I had a bit of a row with the good proprietors in which we mutually misunderstood my personal acceptance of certain realities in my present circumstances versus generally-applicable writing advice). Still, it’s a good place. There’s a round-robin of different authors each day of the week with different thoughts on writing, having a writing career, and related topics.

        But yeah: the whole ‘net presence and platform thing? It’s really hard to do it right. Doing it wrong, however; that’s easy. To avoid doing it wrong, I think the best advice is “don’t be a jerk” online… but in my experience, so far, that’s easier said than done. I try not to be one, I really do try…

      • Kirk says:

        Yeah, I think that’s just good life advice, hehe. One of the most significant statements that I try to put first came from Carlos Whittaker over at Ragamuffin Soul. In speaking of platforms, he counseled what I would call integrity and good product. Work hard and do good work and other people will notice. Those other people often become your platform, and it’s one you don’t have to maintain except by doing what you want to be doing anyway.

        So, for me, the work must come first, but I’m still looking for a few small things that I can do that might initiate an extra push when it comes time to sell that first novel. They do like knowing that you as an author are capable and willing to work at selling your book along with them.

        Funny, as I think about that, I wonder if active participation in Cons might also be something that could fall in that category. Many authors use them that way, especially small press.

      • For what it’s worth, I’ve read many times – and the thought here seems to be more universal in agreement – that active participation in Cons is definitely a potential benefit to one’s writing career. That is, of course, if one goes about it the right way. The problem, for me, is (a) active participation in cons can get expensive and (b) doing it the right way is substantially easier if you’re an easily gregarious person (whereas I am mostly an introvert). But if either of those are of less concern… then you’ve already won half the battle.

      • Kirk says:

        I think you’d be surprised how many of the authors and artists who attend are also introverts. I think this might also go alongside the view of platform in the article you linked, it is good if it happens some beforehand, but it will be more useful once you’re published. I don’t think it is necessary to push. It happened naturally for me. I was asked to share a creativity workshop for the con that I had created for my writer’s group. As a professional guest I not only entered the cons in a different way, but the registration fee was eliminated as well. People have also found me to be an excellent moderator which has opened a door to attend another con in a similar manner. It just sort of happened for me.

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