Your Audience: Building versus Earning

2013 was a hell of a year. I did a lot of stuff. A lot of that stuff was huge: I ran GenreCon; I produced eight or nine full-day workshops over the course of the year; I went to so many cons that I could spend 2014 sleeping and still not pay back my sleep debt; I went to motherfucking Vienna and rode the Wiener Riesenrad, which is one of the few tourist attractions anywhere in the world that holds some appeal to me (largely thanks to its prominence in The Third Man and Before Sunrise).

I discovered that riding the Wiener Riesenrad is a fucking terrible idea if you’re afraid of heights.

One of the smartest things I heard last year came via Chuck Wendig, who did an interview at the Get Read online conference where he talked about author platform and maintaining a career as a writer. I meant to post about it back then, when I first heard it, but it was in the immediate aftermath of coming back from the UK and jet lag was kicking my ass.

Fortunately, Chuck revisited it in his most recent post about resolutions:


You don’t build an audience like it’s a fucking chair. And you don’t beat your potential audience about the head and neck with that goddamn chair, either. You earn them by being the best version of you. You earn them by being passionate and awesome and not-an-asshole. You don’t earn them by bickering. You don’t earn them through intrusive marketing missives. You don’t earn them through blathering yelly-screamy auto-DMs or through giant Hulk fists made of quivering spam. You earn them by being a person. A person who happens to have many amazing stories to share.

Writing Resolutions: 2014 and Beyond, Chuck Wendig,

I just printed it out and tacked it above my writing computer, to serve as a reminder of the theme I’m adoption for 2014.

Happy New Year, everyone.

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