Nancie’s Blog

Finding Followers

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I live in the world of writing and books. And we writers and speakers who want to sell our books need followers. It’s true that the key to a successful book is to:

 

1. Write a good book that meets a felt need

2. Know your audience

3. Find your audience. (i.e., your followers)

 

It sounds simple, but isn’t. I suppose we writers have to get over the romantic notion of writing beautiful words in an ivory tower. Because after all, we write to connect with others, to tell our stories. It’s why we write songs, make music, create art. We are compelled to share the beauty, the pain, the laughter, the insights. To know that we are not alone.

 

Publishers ask a prospective author, “What is your platform?” When I set out to write, I didn’t think about platform. Platforms sound scary:  Being on stage—alone, with a spotlight and faceless, nameless souls out there, waiting to hear what I have to say. A terrifying thought, because my platform seems a bit wobbly at times.

 

I started writing out of my own messy and inconclusive life as a young woman with hopes and dreams; out of my relationships of family—being a wife, a mother of five, looking for meaning and joy in the midst of daily, ordinary challenges. I wrote out of that. I wrote out of my own emotional and physical struggles, and how God met me there, and how He became my strength in my weakness. It’s not a dramatic platform, but it’s true, and it’s mine.

 

When writers are encouraged to work on his or her platform, it’s good to polish up the bio and the resume. Get glowing references. Work diligently at discovering the right hashtags that will launch our tweets and hopefully land more followers. (But I wonder, if everybody has to have a platform, who is listening? Do we take turns? It seems that it’s getting a bit ridiculous.)

 

No doubt my ambivalence about this issue of marketing and finding followers is showing through. As a publisher, I see the necessity. But as a writer, I only have a certain amount of time. If I spend most of my time chasing my followers, when do I develop my message? I can’t give anything that I don’t have. What we want are contagious followers. Followers who follow Who I’m following—and that is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, Jesus. A contagious message must be lived, distilled. We cannot give what we don’t have. All the “platform” tips in the world are nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

I am comforted by the Apostle Paul, who has a bazillion followers! He got it right. He wrote to the Thessalonians, “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit… And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit.” Paul went on to say, “For neither at any time did we use flattering words…nor did we seek glory from men…But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”[1]

 

First things first. With all the great marketing wisdom that’s out there (and yes, there is much to learn and know), we can’t be overwhelmed by the work of seeking followers. Seek first the kingdom of God. Let the message grow, organically, authentically.

 

And it will bear fruit.

 

[1] from 1 Thessalonias 1 & 2

About the Author

Nancie CarmichaelNancie lives in a tiny mountain community in Central Oregon. She has written many books including "Selah" and "Surviving One Bad Year." She speaks at a variety of conferences and retreats. She and her husband Bill are publishers and parents of five grown children and 11 grandchildren.View all posts by Nancie Carmichael

  1. Jeanne Doyon
    Jeanne Doyon09-23-2014

    Thanks for the wise words, Nancy. May I link your blog within my blog post that launches this week on Wednesday. I’d be happy to send a preview.

  2. Jeanne Doyon
    Jeanne Doyon09-23-2014

    Thank you, It will publish tomorrow.

  3. Tammy Sue Willey
    Tammy Sue Willey09-24-2014

    Hi Nancie,

    I appreciate your article. Jeanne Doyon/Streams Edge recommended reading this. I’m glad I did. I’ve been working on my own book and not feeling naturally moved to “selling” myself. It would defeat the purpose of my message.
    Opinions/process says: You need a platform, an editor, a publisher, an agent, etc. I mean, I get it technically and practically why all that is necessary but …
    My inner voice has been telling me if God wants to do something with this book, he will open the right doors. I just have to keep doing my part. So I am.
    You and Jeanne’s blog have validated me and encouraged me to continue being true to myself (to God) in spite of what the world suggests.
    Thank you for your honesty..

    • Nancie Carmichael
      Nancie Carmichael09-24-2014

      Hi Tammy!
      Thank you for your encouragement. And I encourage you to keep listening to God and not be anxious about selling yourself. You can be bold about promoting God…sharing what He has done for you. You can be bold about telling others about the comfort you have received, and they can also receive.
      God bless you and give you wisdom as you navigate the path of writing!

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