2010: Now I had a book, a web site, a Facebook account and a handful of friends but very little else. I confess there were many times over the next few months when I questioned my sanity in thinking I could ever master this fast moving cobweb. All the advice I had read insisted a blog was necessary, to help create a ‘platform’ whatever a platform was – I hadn’t a clue.
So I looked around at different blog hosts and finally settled on Typepad, I think for no better reason than I liked their colour schemes – I know, probably not the best reason. Typepad, I can say now that I have more experience, is not the most ‘friendly’ site to begin blogging on. The first problem I had after designing a site was how did one move a blog from down ‘here’ to up ‘there’. I got it, I got it. Eventually. Then the question is what does one blog about? Dunno. It is not that I have nothing to say, I have plenty.
I found I was never going to be a natural born blogger. My whole upbringing, history and personal preference was against me. To be English, my age and with my upbringing, was going to be a handicap for selling Ellen. All dictated one didn’t push oneself forward, one didn’t blow one’s own trumpet.
What this networking seemed to mean was that I was attempting to interrupt, to say ‘ Hey come and listen to me. I have written a brilliant book and really you should all come and read it.’ This was putting oneself forward in a way my sixty + years had not prepared me for. I floundered for months.
It was a problem I was encountering on Facebook – I hesitated to push into the endless chatter that was flowing down the walls. I did eventually stop lurking and decided I had to be bolder. I began to comment, began to add the odd status myself. Telling the world it was a ‘fine morning’ or that I was on my ‘second coffee of the day’ just seemed odd, pointless even, why would anyone be interested?
I became friendly with a handful of writers and they were very generous with their help – the most useful thing I learnt in those early days was how to right click to copy and paste – yes I know, everyone knows how to do that. I didn’t. It took a little longer to work out how to write URL’s so that they were live (the whole world of URL’s baffled me for months) But with this piece of knowledge transferring my blogs from word to Typepad became so much easier. Copying URLs rather than trying to read and copy the address meant I could begin sharing with others.
Join groups on Facebook, good advice but finding them is not as easy as it sounds. The secret is in the search word. Books, writers, authors etc will bring up a myriad of them, long hours checking them all, yet many will be missed because none of those words are included. Search words, tags etc. were a whole new learning experience for me. I found them, slow but sure, I found like minded people up there in cyberspace.
Then it was time to attack Twitter. All I heard about this amazing device had been bad until I landed on Facebook. Mindless drivel, is what I had heard. Well yes I suppose there may be some but once I got to grips I was a fan of all the other wonderful aspects of it. Mind, it took even longer to get to grips with it. The shortness of the post, the speed, it was like standing on a bank and watching a river in flood and trying to gauge when to jump. Exciting but very scary. And this viral business. Dangerous place to venture! But what a place to find all the ‘stuff’ out there. All my interest could be found, could join the flood. Finding people and organizations to follow was not hard, finding people to follow me, so difficult. Again one must participate. The lesson of the sparkling web was get engaged with all these strangers and engage.
The end of the year saw me with a blog which I wrote on spasmodically, a 100 friends on Facebook and 75 on Twitter. I had a virtual farm! Many blogs and site bookmarked to read. A great deal of research under my belt. I also had a second book written and edited and at the printers. I had a few more skills and a fair amount of confidence and I was, I found having a great deal of fun. What I didn’t have was any sense that I was ever going to sell Ellen’s Tale online. I had to up my game and as 2011 began I had a plan and a schedule written down, I also had a third book in mind.
Never had the advice of establishing your platform before publishing seemed such good advice. I was sooo far behind!
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