By Sara Ella
Target audience. That’s a phrase we hear a lot in this biz, isn’t it? We’re supposed to find our target readers. Gain them as followers. Get their emails so we can add them to the list.
Check, check, and check.
As if writing a novel wasn’t work enough.
I’ve spent hours building platform, ready to pull my hair out as the numbers crawl along. Five hundred followers. One thousand. Will it ever be enough? Will I ever be enough?
I received a rejection from a publisher a few months back. The manuscript, they liked. My platform, however, not so much. At the time it felt like a personal rejection. After all, it wasn’t my story they didn’t want, it was me. I didn’t have enough connections, subscribers, likes, followers…
As I sat there balling my eyes out to a good friend, she reminded me that it didn’t matter if I had five million followers-even that wouldn’t put me in a place I wasn’t meant to be. I really thought on that, and while the rejection hurt I’m so thankful for it now.
If I’ve learned anything, it’s that writing isn’t a one person feat. It doesn’t just consist of sitting at my laptop, creating something from nothing. It’s about so much more. It’s about community and connections-about knowing when to ask for help and when to take time to give it. No way would I be where I am today without my community of reader and author friends. (*Waves*- You know who you are.)
So here’s my epiphany (are you ready?)-Platform has nothing to do with numbers, but it has everything to do with relationships.
I could have mass amounts of random followers who have no interest in the type of story I write-no interest in me or who I am or what I’m about. In the last few months I’ve seen that personal connections go much farther than analytics. Tweeting with readers-asking them questions and chatting about what they’re reading. That’s where the real platform is. Promotion is great and necessary, but every tweet and post shouldn’t be, “Hey, check out my blog/book/video, etc…” Since I began really connecting, I’ve seen the numbers start to climb. Go figure.
In the end, one true fan is better than a thousand fake ones, and the truth is that even if I had a “0” in the space beneath my Twitter handle, I’d still have a fan. He’s the One I should build my platform on. He IS my platform. The Solid Rock on which I stand. So even when those numbers seem dreary, when people unsubscribe or even leave not-so-nice comments, I know I still have Him. I know He would wait in line just for my autograph. I know He watches my progress and His heart breaks when I fail. To Him I am enough, zero followers or a million.
He’s my first true fan. In fact, he’s the only One I need.
Sara Ella writes fairy-tale-esque stories for young adults. Here first novel, BLEMISHED, was a 2014 ACFW Genesis Winner. You can connect with her by visiting her website at SaraElla.com. She believes “Happily Ever After is Never Far Away” for those who put their faith in the King of kings.