“Don’t do anything that makes you feel dirty.”
My ears perked up when Jane Friedman, editor at Writer’s Digest, said this in her platforming preso last fall in Ohio. Jane gave us four tips for deciding whether to join/participate in a new organization as a way of marketing your writing (or, I would say, any other product you’re selling.) Those tips, paraphrased, follow:
1. Sign up and observe.
2. If you decide it’s valuable, participate.
3. Actually help someone.
4. Ask for help in return but only if you’ve done the above three things, and number 2 and 3 a lot. Ask for something in return only after you’ve built a relationship.
I love this advice, not only because it applies to more than just writing, but also because as a writer I sometimes feel conflicted about marketing. I try to support other writers but tend to avoid those who repeatedly approach me to flog their book (and with some of them, that’s the only thing I hear from them. “Buy my book! Read my blog!” Jeez, get outta my face!)
I don’t want to have to become that kind of person in the pursuit of a platform, so Jane’s tips really helped me. By following her guidance, I can build my platform, have fun, be of service and not lose my authenticity. How do you feel about this? Let me know.