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It’s no mystery that if you are going to be a writer who wants to be read you will need to establish a writer’s platform. In fact, a platform is a vital component to getting published. Literary agents, publishers and even indie or hybrid outlets will most likely expect you to have one established.
Craft is what you write whether you compose graphic novels, memoirs, poetry, genre fiction or academic literature. The end product in print or online is your creation. Platform stands in the balance between craft and creation:
With my first manuscript up for sale, I’ve given much thought to my own writer’s platform. Because I have a background in marketing communications, I have an understanding about basic marketing principles.
A platform launches one’s writing the way a rocket platform launches a space shuttle.
Despite the abundance of media on the subject of platform, I still felt that some areas were nebulous. How can my platform be a shining star for my career if its obscured in space fog? I need to clarify just what my platform is and how it can be effective to my goals.
And let’s pause and consider career and goals for a moment. The reason platforms are different is because different writers have different goals; different publishers have different expectations; thus different platform serve different roles. As you read, consider where you are at on the writing career spectrum:
There’s no right or wrong to why you write. It might satisfy your need to express and you enjoy creating word art among other word artists. You might have a compelling story to share. Maybe you’ve harbored a dream to be published one day. You might even decide that an income-generating career from written communication is one to pursue.
Be clear and know why you write. It matters to your platform.
March 28-29, 2015 I attended the LA BinderCon, “a symposium to empower women and gender non‑conforming writers with tools, connections, and strategies to advance their careers.” I was a scholarship recipient and expressed my need to better understand where I was in my writing career. I built a social media platform, a literary community and have a publishable manuscript. What next?
My biggest light-bulb burning moment clicked when I recognized certain repeated themes, community being one. I also asked questions, listened and came home with gaps in my knowledge filled. I was inspired to return to my personal essay roots after believing that outlet was long dead. I better understand how the markets have shifted, not declined.
Richard Bach once said, “We teach best what we most need to learn.” With that thought in mind, the best way for me to assimilate all the knowledge and information I gained in LA at BinderCon is to break it down into a series of posts. After much consideration, I see that decoding the writer’s platform is essential to my success and most likely to yours.
In fact, many in my community are deliberating issues stemming from platform building. Some mention the workload and others question its effectiveness. Norah Colvin wrote recently about Making Choices. Yes, we do. And I hope I can share timely and practical insights so that you can feel confident and good about the choices you need to make regarding your writer’s platform.
Therefore, I’ll combine what I gained with what I know about marketing in a series, Decoding the Writer’s Platform. Here is what I’ve outlined:
- The 4 Building Blocks of a Writer’s Platform
- Building Block 1: Branding
- Building Block 2: Community
- Building Block 3: Credability
- Building Block 4: Audience
- What You Do with Your Platform
- Time Management & Effectiveness
- Keeping Craft Creative
- Why Community Matters
- Platform Tips From the Stars
As this develops, I welcome comments to foster discussion of this topic. Examples of what you’ve learned, stories of success and questions will help us all as we decode the foundation of our careers as writers, whether we write for fun, business or realms in between.