This is part of the Bittersweet Book Launch case study, where Dan Blank and Miranda Beverly-Whittemore share the yearlong process of launching her novel. You can view all posts here.
by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Dan and I had a meeting yesterday in which, among other things, we discussed that our big job right now is to get to the heart of the story we want to tell about me. That means aligning all my social media selves– from Twitter, to Facebook, to my website. Making sure that all those versions of myself, including Bittersweet, lead back to the essential me. This is so so SO hard to do, but it’s necessary, and will be reiterated again and again over the course of this next year and beyond– I’ll be revising my “about” pages ’til the cows come home.
One of the instructions that stuck with me the most when I started the Building Your Author Platform course was Dan’s insistence that one should only start a blog about something she is passionate about. “If you don’t love to cook, don’t start a blog about cooking, because you’ll get bored and you’ll stop doing it, and not only will you lose readership but you’ll disappoint yourself” is about how he put it. I love this idea, and feel it can be applied to nearly all professional aspects of my life (and some personal too); the notion that it’s not worth putting time and effort into a website, or a social media outlet, or a book, if you don’t have the hunger to fight for it.
So I sat down and made a list of all the various parts of me that exist out there in the world, and what I came up was disparate and strange but also, yes, me. Dan reminded me that this newly aligned author platform should not exist in *spite* of my unusual childhood and a very artistic family and the mom/ writer/ cook/ maker I’ve become, but that those are the parts of me I should be putting out there, under the umbrella of my name. “You are a maker,” he said, “and I think that’s what you want to put out there in the world, because that’s your most honest self.”
Hearing it put that way felt like a celebration (and also a bit terrifying– more on the balance of terror and thrill in another post). And it made my job a little more concrete, if enormous. Should I have a blog on my website? What should that blog do? What should the tone of my newsletter be? How do I make sure the voice that appears on this blog is consistent with my editorial (and authorial) voice in the Friendstories Project?
But it’s always good to start small, right? So last night I sat down and did some thinking, and revising, of my Twitter profile. Here’s a glimpse at my revision (which will be revised, and revised and revised)…
Twitter on 7/14/13:
Current Name: M Beverly-Whittemore doesn’t come up when you google my name, but it’s the longest I can make my name on Twitter- ack. How to fix this?
Current Author Pic: This is my current headshot but it could be crisper (higher res?)
Background Pic: not up to brand- what would I imagine it to be? Eventually a cover shot of Bittersweet? Probably depends on what the cover ends up looking like. In the meantime it should be something that evokes both the feeling (and place) of Bittersweet, and also the larger “me”
Current Bio: “Novels about the American family: BITTERSWEET (Crown, June 2014); SET ME FREE (2007); THE EFFECTS OF LIGHT (2005). Brooklyn, New York * mirandabeverly-whittemore.com.” But that’s not really what I write, is it? Dan made the good point that all my books are about outsiders, people seeking a place to belong– people like me. That needs to be in there somewhere. Should I change it to: “Novels about hoping to belong(?)” or “Novels about outsiders(?)”. Also, the book pub date has been moved to May.
New Twitter (7/15/13):
Still need to get a crisper author photo in there… and maybe edit my bio: “Novels about searching to belong(?)”