5 Simple Things You Can Do To Ensure Your Writer (Or Artist) Friend Succeeds

Dear Readers,

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus recently.  Between finishing the first draft of Book One in The Marvelous Adventures of Sebastian Smith, and moving between states, I’ve been a little preoccupied.  However, I’ve also been doing a lot of learning about self-publishing, platform building, and the art of selling yourself in 2013 with the help of my brilliant Denver based Writer’s Group [Name and Website To Be Developed Soon]

It occurred to me, as I was doing all this lovely learning, that a bunch of this information would be very useful to provide to the people who support my career and my success.  There are plenty of simple actions that they can take which they might not realize have become very important in the current wave of social and technical revolution.

It also occurred to me that there are probably a ton of people out there who love and support a writer or an artist that might not know the best way to help them succeed, or even that they themselves are a critical part of that success.  So I’ve put together a handy dandy list of five simple things you can do for your writer friend that will make a huge difference in their success.

You may not realize it but you, YES YOU, every single person reading this, have the power to contribute to the success of your friends and family.  And it ain’t even gonna cost you a single dime, neither.

That’s right, none of these steps involve giving your friends money.  If you have money to give them, disregard this list and just go give them money.  Duh.

A Brief Word on Platforms

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No, I’m not talking about bitchin’ shoes.  I am talking about what every writer or artist or consultant or student or (really) person has to build in today’s interconnected work place.  Namely everyone needs a platform.  This is especially true for the creative type, who has droves of perfectly dandy work just sitting around collecting cyberdust on a hard drive somewhere.

What is a platform?

Platform is the word used for your combined social media presence.  It is how people find you and your work in the online environment.  It consists of loads of different pieces: Facebook author page, Twitter, Pinterest, Blogs, Instagram, and any other subscription based social media outlet you can imagine for starters.  These things combined are the tower on which you stand to put your face above the sea of other faces in the crush of cyberspace.  And being seen directly correlates to being paid.  At least, if the work is good.  But the internet can’t really make your work good.  Well, ok, it can.  We’re splitting hairs here.

How does a platform work?

Platforms don’t necessarily work like you think they will.  Not everyone can aspire to be George Takei, lording over his monarchy on Facebook and getting 10,000 likes every time he so much as clicks a link.  And the good news is, a successful platform doesn’t have to be the best to bring success.  A successful platform is more like a good audition piece for a publisher or client.  It shows interested parties that more than just your mom and her cats think you have talent, and it shows that you are capable of  refining and leveraging your unique persona into a marketable format.  The critical levels vary based on your industry and who you talk to, but the important thing is that every creative type needs to have a significant social platform to stand on.  But those platforms are not in competition with each other.  They’re a threshold you have to pass, not a contest you have to win.

Anyway, on to the list!  To find out what you can do, hit the jump!

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Dirty Little [Writing] Secrets: Lesson Two: The Rules of Craft

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Dear Reader,

Today continues my unauthorized lessons on the dirty little secrets of writing.  In my previous entry, I discussed the important distinction between critique based around content, and critique based around craft.  In a nut shell, content critique is shit, and craft critique is not so much.  I also, quite sagely, pointed out that learning to critique other author’s writing means you are better able to critique and change your own.

Today, I’m going to talk about the rules to follow to produce critique based around craft.  If you remember these five simple rules, you are well on your way to producing useful feedback about any writing.  The rules are as follows:

Rule #1:     There is no crying in baseball.  Or writing.

Rule #2:     Trust your feelings.

Rule #3:     Show your work.

Rule #4     Ask, and ye shall perceive.

Rule #5:    Take what you can.  Give nothing back.

For more detailed explanations, hit the jump!

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