Authors speak a foreign language. I am still not sure what it is, but I am sure it is foreign. Oh, the words are English, to be sure, but the “Ancient Ones” hid the meanings from the novice. There they sit, just waiting for you to find the right mentor or to have the stroke that will finally create the necessary brain lesion to clear the path to your Rosetta stone.
When I was in the Air Force, USAFSS assigned me to RAF Chicksands in England, which was cool because I already spoke English. On my first Sunday there, I found my way to church and sat in the congregation. As the meeting opened, I listened in horror as I realized something terrible had gone wrong and I was anywhere but England. I understood not one word issuing forth from the mouth of the man in front of me. As it turned out, no one else did either. Or maybe they were just humoring me. The man was from Newcastle upon Tyne. The region was apparently notorious for being difficult to understand. Still it took me awhile to be comfortable understanding English as spoken in England.
That is a little like authorspeak. The words are the same but the meaning – not so much. Like the time I was teaching a candy making class in England and told them to add a little paraffin to the chocolate to keep it from melting in your hand. Would anyone from England like to explain the problem to the rest of my readers? If no one comments within a week, I’ll tell you why my class thought I was trying to poison them. Mwhahahaha.
However, back to authorspeak. I was recently at a writer’s conference in Nebraska. One of the things I learned is that I needed an “author’s platform” now.
Okay. Where do I get the wood? Where do I build it? Why? Oh, you mean what do I stand for? No. Ummm… what are my politics? Why would that matter?
Somebody give me a hint!
Do you have any idea how many times I heard things like: “Do you have you author’s platform yet?” or “How are you doing your author’s platform?”
Aaargh. One problem is that I am intelligent – just enough that I do not want to look like an idiot by not knowing what an “author’s platform” is.
I used to tell my college students that the only stupid question was the one not asked. I finally listened to myself. My hand rose skyward and the question erupted from my lips, never to return to the void of silence.
“Just what do you mean by an author’s platform?”
I wonder if anyone else there said a silent prayer of gratitude. I would like to think so. The answer opened up more frustration for me but at least I was no longer ignorant. I had stepped within the circle of knowledge.
THIS is my platform – or at least the beginning of it. It is how the author presents herself (or himself of course) to the world. It is the gift of chapters from my books or my plays or short snippets. It is my interviews with authors and actors. It is my research into Lilith mythologies and vampires in general. It is my book reviews and art collection. It is www.jeanniemusick.com and it is growing slowly each day.
So, what is the frustration I speak of: simply that you are supposed to start this before you publish, before people know if they are going to love or hate your work. As the agent there told us, I am an author – not yet published. Going through the painful steps of rewrites and editors, I work toward the best book I can give you. My readership is growing and I hope it will continue to grow through you. Pass along links. Let people know I am here. Leave comments. Communicate. Suggest books. Review books. Get involved. Then realize my biggest frustration is that I don’t have twice as many hours in the day to do this website which I have come to love AND my writing which I ADORE!