Content Is King, But Being Connected Doesn’t Hurt

randomlychad  —  August 1, 2012 — 15 Comments

On Tuesday evenings, I sometimes participate in a Twitter chat that goes by the hashtag #writestuff. It is, as you may surmise, about all things writing-related. It is hosted by writer (and writing coach) Andrea Cumbo. If you’re at interested in the process of writing, I recommend you check it out.

I mention the foregoing, because last night, the topic of discussion was publishing. Wouldn’t you know there was something of a divide between the importance of having stellar content, and of being connected, networked.

Like Robert Downey, jr. as Tony Stark in the first Iron Man, I ask: is it too much to ask for both? Why the divide at all? Yes, by all means, do the work, write engaging, awesome, content. But on the other hand, if it’s something you believe in, something you feel called to do, don’t be afraid to promote it. How can you can expect others to believe in something unless they see you believing in it, too?

Because, you see, there’s this almost unspoken belief that “if I write it, people will come.” But the fact is these days, that’s almost never true (yes, there are exceptions to the rule, but we’re not talking about those today). The cold, hard reality is that you can have a great book, a stellar proposal, but if you don’t have a platform, chances are you won’t get representation, find a publisher.

For me, having a platform simply means building relationships with like-minded folks. Like Bryan Allain says, it means having a “Killer Tribe.” If you don’t get anything else from this post today, don’t miss this: if people see you genuinely investing yourself in your platform–whatever that is–they will invest in you. I have experienced this firsthand; it is both humbling, and inspiring.

Yes, swing for the bleachers when you sit down to write, know the rules of grammar, sentence structure, etc. (Know how and when to break them, too). But don’t be afraid to invite people along on your journey, don’t be afraid to support them in theirs, because as magical as writing is, the real magic happens in the hearts and minds of people. If you have a message, you want to get it out there, right? Being connected means removing the barriers to get that message out.

Believe me, people today want to feel connected, want to share their stories, and want to share in yours. Let them see you believe. In your work–and in your platform.

Content is king, but being connected never hurts. If good, clean writing is a beautifully baked wedding cake, prepared by a master baker, then being connected is the frosting, and all of the decorative work on it. While being real, and working hard, make your cake as attractive as possible.

Have you ever been to a wedding? Imagine with me the moment the cake is brought out. It is a monumental moment, one preserved forever in photographs? Now imagine that cake–so skillfully blended, baked, and assembled–coming out completely unadorned. It is entirely devoid of frosting, fondant, frills.

No matter how delicious, would you eat a piece of that cake?

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randomlychad

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Christ-follower, husband, dad, blogger, reader, writer, movie buff, introvert, desert-dweller, omnivore, gym rat. May, or may not, have a burgeoning collection of Darth Vader t-shirts. Can usually be found drinking protein shakes, playing with daughter, working out with his son, or hanging out with his wife. Makes a living playing with computers. Subscribe to RandomlyChad by Email

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  • Ya know Chad, I think it is not this simple as being connected and having good content. I think there are other parts of the equation and some are hard to put a label on. I think it is this equation.

    Good remarkable content+relationships+timing+likability=being published
    That’s my theory at least. Timing is an essential part of the equation that is really hard to explain. Plus there is a likability in there as well.

    • Oh, for sure, Jim--but that’s a topic for another post. Because the flip side is that execrable content like the 50 Shades series hit at the right time and blew up.

      Today, I merely touched on the aspects I have a better handle on. Sure, one needs to know the market, know what an agent accepts, etc.

      Clearly defined goals never hurt, either.

      What I’m getting at is more about removing the barriers that often stand between great content and the world.

      • Chad, I know one of your goals is to be published. But I must ask this; why do you want to be published?

        • Because it is a lifelong dream, Jim. More than that, I believe I was made for more than just tech support, because I have seen how my words have touched people’s lives. And it may be naive, or cliché, but I believe I have something to say.

          And certainly not for notoriety, or fame, but to bless. If by sharing my story, I can help one person connect with God, then my work has been worth it. If I never get published, so what? It’s said that unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground, and dies, it abides alone. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try.

          • You are already doing much more than tech support now. I don’t doubt that you want to be published for the right reasons; keep doing what you are doing, you are MUCH further on your way than you think you are!

          • Thanks much, Jim--as are you! You’re such a great light to so many.

          • Thanks Chad. I really appreciate that. We just need to keep a grinding!!!! 🙂

  • I think Chad wants to be published because he wants an audience. I really think it’s that simple for most of us. We write. We want people to read it.

    • Sure, Larry--to an extent that’s true. I have an audience now, but it’s more than that. While on the one hand I’m willing to give it up; on the other, I can’t imagine any other outcome.

  • Good post. Making initial contact is the easy part. Staying connected is the challenge.

    • Thanks, Kevin!

      Oh, for sure--I will be the first to admit that I struggle maintaining connections.

  • Now I’m hungry for cake. Thanks, Chad.

  • Ricky Anderson

    I blogged for years on the “if I write it, they will come” approach. Then I quit for a year or so and just read blogs. That got me interested in trying again, only now I knew fellow readers. Then I bribed them and stole them.

    • Bribery works pretty well eh? Well, that and cookies.

      😉