Platform Building, I Bid Thee Farewell

bowing manIf writing fiction is like playing the lottery, then as far as I can tell there are three ways to increase your chances of a payoff.

  1. Sleep with the lottery commisioner
  2. Mooch winnings from previous winners
  3. Or buy more tickets

Nowhere in this equation is there room for what so many writerly pontiffs have called platform building. What? Am I supposed to continue to believe that adding facebook friends and fans will somehow improve the odds one of my tickets will transform magically into a winner? I’m sorry, I just can’t do it anymore.

Recently I’ve landed on the truth. You know what platform building really is?A whole lot of #2 (referring to the list above rather than the bowel movement). I’m supposed to network my flabby, white cheeks off until somewhere along the line my bum bumps into a winner (or about-to-be winner) who’s willing to share the wealth.

I know, I know. I can hear the legions of marketing-savvy digital warriors correcting my flawed interpretation even as I type. Build genuine relationships. Care for people. Develop social capital the good ole fashioned way–one retweet at a time.

I’m done. I could waste a thousand more hours over the next year across a half-dozen social media platforms, and for what? a few hundred sales? The whole song and dance is death to me.

Instead I’m taking those thousand hours and using them to write a couple thousand pages worth of brilliant fiction.

I’m too moral and too ugly to make #1 work for me. And #2 has gotten too ugly for me to stomach. For the next 12 months I’m simply going to write. Sure, playing the lottery is still playing the lottery. Nothing guarantees writing 5 novels this next year will get me any further than writing one.

But at least when it’s all said and done, I will have written five magnificent novels. I’ll start work next fall at Home Depot knowing I spent my time creating something concrete and beneficial, rather than a platform to nowhere.

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