I’m not talking about building a deck on the back of your house or any other wooden or otherwise physical materialistic platform. What I am talking about is your platform as a writer.
Many people think writing is simply sitting down in front of a computer and putting their thoughts down in some order, then sending it along to an agent or editor, getting a few rejections then an acceptance and life is golden. Not so!
Way back 100 years ago or more, writers could hand write their work on parchment and bring it physically to a publisher, hoping they will like it. This often required traveling to New York in order to meet with the publisher in person or mailing it in. There has always been some form of competition, but none so strong as today. With all this new technology booming out the gates at warp speed, writing and a writer’s approach to it as well as submitting to those who will publish your work, is changing quickly.
So, what does all of this have to do with platforms? In its basic sense, platform means your ability to market yourself!Rarely, does a writer (particularly in fiction) send out a first manuscript, get it published right off, and end up on the best seller lists without any effort. This is a BUSINESS, just like any other. People are not going to buy what you have to offer unless they KNOW what you have to offer!
Building a platform BEFORE your work is even sent to a publisher or agent can help get you a foot in the door if you do it correctly. Persistence and promotional savvy are vital commodities. You have to promote yourself. In the beginning, you will get little, if any promotional help from the publishing company. Here are a few ways, in today’s technologically-
laden society, to build your platform:
- Web Presence. You cannot be in business today without a website! Period! Your website should focus on your work, but also give readers interesting tidbits and fun reading. Add a blog and keep it current, Add forums, contests, newsletters and anything you can think of that pertains to your subject.
- Make sure you know your target audience and frequent other websites in that genre. Offer to guest blog, link to them and be sure to attend their networking forums.
- Make it clear that you’re the go-to person in your area of expertise. Join professional organizations, get certification if this is available, join Who’s Who listings and sites such as LinkedIn.
- Send press releases about your books and projects to media that would be intererested in promoting you.
- Hold a publicity event, such as talk in a public place (get permission first) for people interested in your topic.
- Make or buy your own book trailers and other video content on YouTube. Do podcasts or publish e-zines, newsletters, etc.