This piece, in which I compare diving into self-publishing to rebuilding the Philadelphia 76ers, was brought over from my old blogspot site.
There are big changes to my digital footprint coming down the line. As I get closer to completing my latest first draft (a side project that is actually the one best suited to moving on to the next stage), I
have been thinking a lot more about building my “platform” as an author. This concept of a “platform”, sort of like a fan base, is ubiquitous to modern writing and publishing. It’s especially relevant to self-publishing, which is the avenue I am 99% sure I will be taking with my work, barring fortuitous happenstance.
I am sure I speak for many writers when I say I am naturally an introvert. I would love nothing better than to shut myself away in some refuge and write and have audiences magically appear and praise my work (and pay money for it too!) Real life writing simply doesn’t work that way. Even writers going the traditional route with the backing of major publishers are expected to have built a platform through social media, participating in forums and conferences, and generally promoting themselves. So as a natural introvert, you can imagine how putting myself out there in a meaningful way beyond this semi-neglected blog is daunting.
This when I started thinking about what they call in Philadelphia, “The Process.”
For non-basketball fans, “The Process” was a concerted effort started by Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Sam Hinkie to lose deliberately. Finishing as low in the standings as possible ensured a better chance at drafting future stars in the NBA draft. To further improve the chances of success, he continually traded older, higher paid players for cheap prospects or more draft picks. Effectively, the mantra was “to win, first you must lose.” Year after desultory year, the Philadelphia fans were told to “Trust the Process.” It has been ingrained in the sports landscape to the point that even the 76ers’ best player is a convert. Ultimately, they might not get a championship or even become a contender out of this, but Philadelphia get a puncher’s chance at greatness, and hope is a very powerful thing.
I’ve thought about those long odds as I progress with my own writing. Though I can’t really call the work in building a platform “losing,” it certainly involves the same willingness to go into the dirt and go through hard times in the hopes of a brighter future. (Yikes! It sounds like I have some sort of antisocial disorder, when in fact, I’m just incredibly lazy.)
So as I struggle to learn about how to build this platform, I’m going to start writing about it. This is my own process. I’ll recount all the lessons I take in on everything from social media engagement, to getting editing help to to finding artwork to setting up a website. I’m not intending this to be any sort of guide, but hopefully someone can benefit from my discoveries and stumbles. It also gives me a chance to put out some blog content in a more focused way, which is part of something I’ll talk about in a lot more detail when one of my first steps comes to fruition: a new website!
As for The Process in Philadelphia, it’s results are mixed. There have been stumbles, whether as a result of injuries or ownership interference. Its prime architect has been pushed out, though not before firing off a famous screed about the dangers of failing to evolve to meet the challenges of the modern day NBA environment.
I have to give props to anyone who can work a moa reference into a resignation letter. And to avoid the fate of the moa, this writer needs to evolve and not remain a sheltered introvert.
Stay tuned and Trust the Process!