Creating an author’s platform feels a lot like raising children.

When I became a new mother way back in my twenties—which now seems like a lifetime ago, because it was—I was young and uncertain of how to be the perfect mom, but I had the desire to learn.

As most new parents do, I overly protected my firstborn. I didn’t want him to ever get hurt, or get too dirty, or be out of my sight for fear of ‘stranger-danger’, you know, all of the things that new parents fret and worry about.

Fortunately, by the time my second son was born, I had put to rest a lot of those first time parenting fears, and I became more like; “Yeah, go ahead, eat dirt and play in the street!”

Well, I wasn’t exactly that careless, but you get my drift. We can’t protect our children their whole lives from getting hurt, or dirty, or even playing in the streets, and truth be told, we don’t want to.

What I have discovered now that my children are adults, having obviously survived the pitfalls and turmoil of childhood, adolescence, and teen-age drama, is that all those things we attempt to protect our children from in their earliest years eventually will happen at some point, and that is where we see the greatest growth in our children’s lives.

There is also a ton of frustration in raising children. I still remember the day I snarled at my sixteen-year-old son as I chewed him out about one more thing he’d done to piss me off! By then he was taller than me, so I had to look up at him while shouting in my motherly tone; “I hope you have children just like you!”

Now jump ahead about twenty years. My son has two teen-age daughters who challenge him at every turn. When he shares a story about his estrogen-charged girls causing him grief, I just smile.

Revenge is a dish best served cold, and it can taste pretty damn sweet!

But along with frustration, a bountiful amount of joy comes with raising children.  Plus there are decisions to be made regarding their futures, how to handle discipline issues, not to mention physical, mental, or emotional problems that can arise that a parent must deal with.

And being a parent requires putting other person’s needs in front of your own, for just as long as that other person needs you, but, with the hope that at some point in the future our fledging offspring will leave the nest and fly on their own.

Parenting 101 completed. Job done.

So, what does any of this parenting have to do with launching my author’s platform? Everything!

Creating and launching my author’s platform brought up a lot of fears, similar to those I had when I first became a parent. I was exposing work that I had given birth to, and I was sharing it with the world.

While growing my brand as an author, I’m also learning a whole new industry, and trying figuring out how to stand out in the big-wide pond of self-published books, without losing my identity.

In preparing to release my first novel out into the world, I heard the fear screaming inside my head; stranger-danger! I was terrified to let my fledgling, newly-published novel out into the world. Something bad might happen. People may not like it, much less buy it. It might get dirty. Someone might throw mud at it. OMG! Why would anybody want to do this to themselves?

Because I’m a storyteller, and my desire to share my story is stronger than my fear. As a creative soul, I need to create. I have a deep-seeded need to leave a legacy that marks my time on this Earth, something that says; “I was here”.

I’ve also discovered that growing my author platform needs to happen a little bit at a time, and organically, just like a child. I have to feed it, clothe it, keep it growing in the right direction, and make corrections so it will become all that I hope it can be. If it gets mud thrown at it once in a while, well, that’s just life.

As the parent, I’ll pick it up, brush off the mud, and put it back in the race. That’s how we grow.

And that mud? I’m using it to learn from, to improve and hone my writing skills, and to make adjustments as needed so my author platform can be all I hope and strive for it to be. I’m learning that for my novels to become books that can stand on their own, based on their own merits for the long haul, then they’ll have to eat some dirt and go play in the street.

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