I have come to discover what the first part of the publishing journey really entails.
The Inside Peek at Platform:
Want an interview? Go to a writer's conference. Want to get published? Build a social media platform. Want a social media platform and aren't on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter? It may take an act of God.
My heart sank when I discovered this last one. Really? I need thousands, if not millions of followers on social media to put God's word in the hands of young children through my series Sing, Move, and Memorize!? Okay, God, I guess this isn't the path you have for me. I can take it- with some disappointment and a few extra cups of hot chocolate, of course.
The Social Media Bandwagon
I am a zero on social media. When my husband, friends, and colleagues were quick to jump on the Facebook bandwagon ten plus years ago, I frankly didn't give a hoot. I have enough on my plate at any given time to only want to invest in the people right in front of me. I've never been particularly good at staying connected with the people who aren't. (Sorry past friends and distant family-it's true.) So when I realized that a large Facebook following is what it takes to get published, I was, as you can imagine, dismayed.
It wasn't until I watched a video on creative or borrowed platform that I thought there might be a chance. It turns out that if you have supporters or friends who have made it big on social media and are willing to endorse your book(s), you can count their numbers as your platform. *insert giant sigh of relief and glimmer of hope here.
An Act of God
I set out to ask for some help. I probably made over fifty phone calls and emails in the course of the next week to any friends and acquaintances who care about God's word, memorizing God's word, or children's ministry. I am fortunate enough to be both in the Christian education world and in the children's ministry world. I am also fortunate enough to have friends in many different denominations around the globe.
One week before the Maranatha Christian Writer's Conference, I'm still a zero. I sent the email asking people for their numbers. Then, I waited.
I think the first phone call that came in shocked me the most. Del, from Wycliffe Bible Translators called me. "I've got a lot of numbers on social media," he said, "but I don't know you yet, and I need to know that you're the real deal." Del and I chatted for over two hours that day, and he ended up sharing 22,000 people with me.
Next came Laura. She was a college friend who has a blog for young mothers. She invited me to write a guest blogpost and then volunteered to endorse my books to her 49,000 people.
Emails started streaming in: grandmas with 45 Facebook friends, Children's ministry leaders with 2500 Facebook followers, friends at adoption services, family in other denominations. Then, a late email brought me to my knees. Visual Faith Ministry, led by Pat Maier and Connie Denninger, not only wanted to endorse my books to 442,000 people on social media, they also asked me to join their coaching team and teach my children's ministry material in workshops!
I immediately dropped to the floor of my living room, raised my hands, and praised the God of heaven and earth. This was an act only God could have accomplished. I am a zero, and three days before the conference, God had given me a social media platform of over 570,000 people.