Social Media and Author Platforms

The mantra in the writing world is that author’s must have platforms, that we must be active in social media such as FaceBook and Twitter. Laura and I pretty much suck at social media so we arranged a consultation session with Mindie Burgoyne, the social media goddess. We had two goals for this meeting: 1) to determine if we even wanted to try to “do” social media, and 2) if we decided to be “social” we needed a reasonable plan that wouldn’t totally chew up our writing time.

Yesterday Laura and I spent three hours talking about various strategies with Mindie. She said we didn’t have a choice. We had to do social media.

Identify Your Platform

This turned out to be the hardest part of this consultation. In the past three years Laura and I have written an award winning e-novel. We turned that novel into a movie script which landed us a manager in LA (don’t get jealous yet). Hedging our bets, we turned the movie script into an hour long pilot for a TV series with synopsis for three episodes. We also wrote the first draft of the sequel to that novel.

Marykay Powell (producer of The Curious Life of Benjamin Button) asked us to write a full-length movie script based on a book she had optioned. We also wrote the pilot for a TV forensic procedural based on robots, and half hour pilot for a TV comedy series. All of these scripts are currently being shopped. No buyers yet.

In the midst of all that we took on a pro bono project and created and published a book of Eastern Shore Christmas memories for Christmas in St. Michaels last year. That little book was called The Santa Diaries. At the time we knew there was a germ of an idea for a romantic comedy movie of the same title. It went on the “we’ll get to it someday” list.

When the Avalon Foundation in Easton approached us to write a script for their annual Christmas play, we knew that writing the play would get us on the road to the movie script, so we said, “Yes.” The fourth draft of the play went to the Avalon people last Friday. A table read is next. Casting calls will go out soon.

The Santa Diaries – the Play

Mindie thought that this is where we should focus our platform for right now. We are approaching the Christmas season so lots of memories and things to post about. There will be many ways to collaborate with the Avalon whose staff is light years better at social media than we are.

Social media is about connections, Mindie kept reminding us. So while we are building our platform, we will build connections. Mindie told us that talking about ourselves on our blog was the way to go; it didn’t have to be just about writing.

The Ben Wah Conversation

Picture three women in a room together for three hours and the conversation never turning to sex.  Yeah, right!

The ben wah conversation started innocently enough about who had read 50 Shades of Gray. That segued into Mindie talking about a necklace she has. The pendent on the necklace has a little ball inside that rings when you shake the necklace. Mindie told her granddaughters that a fairy lived inside. So when the granddaughters found her ben wah balls, they knew there were just bigger fairies inside those pretty balls.

Turns out we each had a ben wah story. Who knew! So I asked Mindie if my ben wah story would be something to post on our blog. I wasn’t at all sure since the blog is about Laura’s and my writing collaboration — and neurotic pitfalls along the way.

Mindie said absolutely. There were lots of women with ben wah stories and talking about yourself is a way to build relationships. She suggested I post a ben wah tidbit on FB and see what response I got. That’s how my ben wah list got started. When I get brave enough to post about my need for Wiffle ben wahs (when I was a hippie with waist length hair and a feather headband), that post is only going to certain people. My kids are never gonna see it.

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