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Status: Releasing Entranced on February 17!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What's My Platform?

It seems to be a hot topic. All the agents and authors are talking about how important it is to have a platform. How it's critical for getting published, and after that, for getting an audience.

I've been wracking my brain to figure out what my platform is. It's not a non-fiction book, so I'm not a highly qualified expert with years of experience to extol. It's not a novel about Girl Scout adventures, so I can't pull out all of my GS paraphernalia and relive the glory Brownie days. It's not about religion. It's not about high school. It's not about teenage pregnancy or abuse.

But it does have bits and pieces of many of these things. It's a book about overcoming adversity. That's not really a platform, though. It's a suspense novel, a thriller. I suppose I could learn to dance like Michael Jackson...no, bad idea. Should my platform be about writing the book? Believing in yourself? Should it be about who I am? A young mom who carves time to write while sitting on the couch and the kids are sleeping? Should it touch upon the religious aspect of the book? About believing Christ even when it seems like God's abandoned you? Should I focus on the teenage aspects? The fears, the fights, the crushes, the self-doubt?

It worries me not to have a solid platform. Like the question I saw on many publisher sites, "What makes you qualified to write this book?" Um...I'm the one who has the story in my head? What was Stephanie Meyers' platform? "How to Survive a Vampire Bite"? When I walk into a high school and ask if I can speak to the student body about my book, what am I going to say? "I was a kid once. So I want to talk to them about this book I wrote." Yeah. Great platform.

Those of you who are writers out there, what is your platform? Are you still working on one? How did you come up with it?

Sequel Stats:
today's goal: 66,893
actual: 66,953
tomorrow's goal: 68,953

15 comments:

M. Gray said...

I'm Aristotle's great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, Granddaughter.

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Platforms are more about how you're going to get word out about your book than what your book is about, or how you're qualified to have written it. Obviously, since it's being published, you're qualified to have written it! ;-)

This blog right here, with you 30-odd followers, is a platform. It's getting word out. Your twitter, platform. It gets people interested. =)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Yes, but...when I go up to the librarian, telling her I want to give a presentation about how many people follow my blog won't get me very far!

What am I supposed to talk about?

Mireyah Wolfe said...

Platforms are marketing--plain and simple. How you're going to get people to buy the book. So talking about it with people is building a platform.

Kate said...

What can you talk to students about for 30 minutes? That's your school visit platform. Creativity, writing process, time management, imagination, believing in yourself, goal setting, overcoming obstacles.... All these things can tie back into being an author. Good luck!

Karen Gowen said...

No platform Tamara are you kidding? What about the fact that this stems from a ms you wrote at age 13? dreams coming true? persistence? You have everyone's attention the second you hold up the book and say, "This was started when I was 13", and then tell your story, which I believe was at one time posted here on your blog. That story is your platform.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Whew! I was afraid no one would be interested in that story! Okay, that can be my platform. I can definitely talk about that for half an hour!

Karen Gowen said...

Yes, and people will definitely listen for half an hour!

Jaime Theler said...

Finding a platform is a challenge. A good place to start might be the theme of your book. You say it's about overcoming adversity, but what adversity specifically? Good luck!

Stephanie Faris said...

When I was a top blogger on MySpace, I wrote a ya novel about a young girl who started up a blog. I thought it would have been very catchy to tie the two together. Still trying to get the book published to no success and I have a small fraction of the blog readership I had back then...

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

that's the thing, Jaime. I don't think I can use the book as a platform, at least not the subject matter. It's a thriller, suspense, purely fictional. I can talk to people about dealing w/ a kidnapping...but that's like, so out there! And I'm no authority on the matter!

Suzanne said...

"What makes you qualified to write this book?" Um...I'm the one who has the story in my head?"
ROTFLOL! I know, sometimes I feel that way too.

I know this sounds like a pat answer, but it's not: pray. If God has encouraged you to take your story from your head to paper and to seek publication, He will guide you each step of the way (frustrating as it can be along the way). When I first started blogging, I had no focus and no idea what to write, but when the time was right, God directed my attention to my blog and opened my eyes to what I could write about. I was shocked to see the number of hits increase the way they did. But then, I always underestimate what God can do. So please understand that I'm not just being patronizing when I say to pray. He really does come through for His people when we faithfully follow His calling.

M. Gray said...

I agree with Karen. I would say the whole writing-this-book-since-I-was-13 would definitely be your platform.

Melanie J said...

Yep, I think you've found a platform. I wondered the same thing for myself but then I found something pretty obvious. I write romantic comedy and there's an element in my first two books of online LDS dating. Guess who met her own husband that way....? Platform? Done.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

no way, Melanie! That is so awesome. What a wonderful interlude to your platform!

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