Platform. Platform. Build your platform!
As writers provide quality content, nurture community, and meet readers’ needs, their platform grows. This process requires time, effort, consistency, and patience. But sometimes, as Jami Amerine learned, a message shared through a personal blog touches the hearts of readers, gets shared until that good post goes viral, and expands the writer’s reach unexpectedly and quickly.
Though Jami entered the blogosphere reluctantly in March 2015, she faithfully encourages readers with courageous transparency, authenticity, wit, and wisdom from the trenches of life. One heart-felt rant posted on her blog, Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors, whisked her into an instant platform and changed the course of her writing journey.
After “An Open Letter to My Children: You’re Not That Great” went viral, Jami gained an agent’s representation and signed a two-book contract with Harvest House. Stolen Jesus: An Unconventional Search for The Real Savior, her debut book, is scheduled to be released on October 1, 2017.
Please help me welcome Jami, as she encourages fellow writers and shares her adventures since entering the blogosphere at top speed.
Congratulations on your upcoming book and the exciting things God is doing in and through Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors, Jami. Please share how God blessed you with an “instant platform” through your blog.
Thank you, Xochitl. Honestly, I had given up on publishing the minute I learned about platform. It seemed daunting and unrealistic to me. Who am I? Just a mom. I wasn’t even a “writer.” After attending the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, I left convinced I would never be published but that it was fun to write. A few writers convinced me to blog. I admit now, I believe myself a needle in the haystack. I was okay with this. Maybe the greatest act of faith is oblivion and relinquishment. I expected nothing. When I posted “An Open Letter to My Children: You’re Not That Great,” I had 69 loyal readers. Two days later I had 690,000.
What was your initial response to that first viral post?
I was in shock, undone, and humiliated. I was harshly irritated when I wrote the article and had posted it with misspelled words, from my phone while at a dance recital. I couldn’t believe the response, or face the comments. I was receiving death threats and accolades. I wrote a response, “Then a Riot Broke Out in Target,” and my numbers skyrocketed.
What challenges did you face after that good blog post went viral?
My newfound audience wanted more and I didn’t know what to say next. My agent encouraged me to sign up for Write 31 Days, a blogger challenge for the entire month of October. The night before, I still hadn’t chosen my topic. I was crying in my bathroom, reading another venomous comment, and it came to me like manna from heaven: “Stuff I Wish You’d Quit Saying.” The viral status went over the million read mark within the first three days of October.
You encourage writers to build their platform and increase opportunities for posts to go viral by participating in syndication. Please explain the concept of syndication and share your top tips for bloggers as they explore this option.
Syndication is when an online magazine publishes your material and links back to your site. They usually only pay for unpublished works. Currently, I rarely syndicate because I have a good following.
I appreciate your genuine relationships with your blog readers. How do you nurture those connections with such a large following that seems to be continually growing quickly?
I just comment. I love them. I care what they say and what they are going through. As my numbers increase, I have one fear: I don’t want to lose touch with any of them. Readers email me and send me private messages. They ask for prayers or pray for me. I feel like they’re my real life friends. I confess this to God: Let me stay grounded in this, and please afford me the time and resources to be with these readers.
Through authentic encouragement, you continue to establish great network connections with other writers who share your target audience. How does connecting with and supporting other writers better your blogging experience and expand your reach?
Well, I was very convicted of “greed” with my platform. This was laughable, so I decided to share all of my tricks.
The greatest message I like to convey to “Jesus Bloggers” is you don’t have to look behind you. Your message and words are different from the other guy. Trust God with your platform. Share what you know generously. He didn’t bless you with the gift of words to stress you out. He moves how He moves and saves how He saves. If your words meant eternity for JUST ONE… would you be satisfied?
What has been the greatest reward you’ve experienced through the whirlwind growth of Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors?
Freedom in Jesus Christ. I didn’t even know what I was saying, until I started saying it out loud. He is a good Father. He loves me. He died for me. I was “saved,” but I didn’t believe in my salvation until He started unfolding the story of Stolen Jesus. All the bad theology, all the misinterpreted emotions, hurts, hardships and joy have brought me to a place where He trusts me to shout GLORY and know what the heck I am talking about. I can’t believe what He is doing. I can’t believe what He has done. I am sad I lost so much time fearing Him and bathing in condemnation, but I wouldn’t change it–if it was only for one reader to stop and look at who Jesus is… I am truly blessed.
What final word of encouragement would you like to share with writers who are navigating through the blogosphere?
Keep writing. Trust Him to move your words. The reality is I gave up, in my weakness, but people stopped and read some of the harshest words I have ever written. God can do whatever He wants whenever He wants. Every time you start to wonder, ask Him, “How can I bring you glory?” Sit back and let Him be God. He is really good at it.
Thanks for inspiring us, Jami. I’m looking forward to seeing what God has in store for you as you continue to honor Him and minister to readers through and beyond Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors.
To connect with Jami, you can receive email notifications by subscribing to her blog, Sacred Ground, Sticky Floors, join the community on her Facebook Author Page, and follow her on Twitter. You can also support her newest adventure, The Easy Wife, a Grace Podcast she launched with her sister, Stacey Todd in December 2016.
Jami will be joining us in the comment section of this post to answer questions as she continues to inspire us to use our God-given voices through blogging.