Over the years, I’ve made it a tradition to write several year-end blog posts. Some on personal reflections, others on the milestone moments Dana and I shared, and some about trends, predictions, and other observations about life in the U.S.
There’s no shortage of topics to address this year, but professionally it’s been one for rebuilding.
Brick and mortar bookstores are in short supply these days. When LifeWay closed its stores a few years ago, it radically changed the market for authors in the “Christian” genre. (It’s a label I don’t love, but that’s the label). In the past, book buyers enjoyed the experience of browsing in a book store. Seeing. Touching. Feeling. Flipping through the pages. Even smelling. I love how bookstores smell. But that experience is almost no more. Today, readers order books online more and more exclusively.
This means that new and emerging authors must work at being “found.” We are responsible for building our own platforms, promoting our own works, and communicating directly with readers. Today, platform building, marketing, and sales requires every bit as much time as writing the books. It’s a time consuming process and there is no magic formula to success. It’s like trying to hit a moving target with a slingshot.
Aside from my short ebook, Out in the Country, I’ve dedicated most of my time this year to platform building. Among the projects:
• A new website at steve-watkins.com
•Interactive research and fun tools such as my chronic rest deficit assessment and a quiz to measure your “southernness.”
•We’ve done several giveaways including an all-inclusive trip to Tranquility Base, and a variety gift pack straight from our gardens.
•A new YouTube channel called Ozark Garden & Grub.
•Adoption of lots of other platforms like Textiful, BookFunnel, Canva, Mailerlite, Slack, InShot, Filmora Wondershare and I’m sure there are many more.
This is a LOT to keep track of.
But it’s been a great year of learning and synching many of these incredible technologies together, and for the first time in my writing career I’m pleased with how the platform is working. The even better news is that I get to spend a much bigger part of 2022 doing what I really love – WRITING AND TELLING STORIES.
All of this results from end-of-year-time last year when I really focused on my gift, calling, passion and love, and balancing those important life cornerstones. I’ll write more about that in 2022.
But the formula for success with some things never changes and it’s summed up in two simple words.