Updates

Status: Releasing Entranced on February 17!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Developing A Writer's Platform

Again, I must thank the LDS Storymakers Conference for helping me understand platforms.

What is a writer's platform? Basically, it's your special angle that sells you. Not necessarily your book (because you're an author and you write lots of different kinds of books), but you. And in selling you, the book will naturally follow.

It's the special angle that will get you into schools, libraries, luncheons, firesides, anywhere where you can go and talk to people. But remember: you're not going to plug your book. You're going to plug you.

How do you find your special angle? If you don't know your platform, you will after this blog. Let's get started. Sometimes it's easy and obvious. Answer these questions:

What kinds of books do you write?

Who is your audience?

Why do you write what you do?

Who do you hope to impact?

What is your long-term goal?

In answering those questions, you've started to come up with something to talk about. But now you need a one-sentence 'mission' that kind of encompasses you as a writer the way a query hook encompasses your book.

If you're like me, you can't think of anything because you keep thinking about your book. That's the thing: LEAVE YOUR BOOK OUT OF THIS. Of course it's going to be a part of it. But only because it's a part of you.

Look up a list of adjectives. Just Google it, you'll find lots. Now look at the good ones (hopefully you won't have anything negative to put as your special angle) and pick 3-4 that mean something to you. Here are the ones I chose: Reach, Empower, Elevate. These three words describe what I would like to have happen to people.

Now you've got your adjectives. Think about something in this world that you are passionate about and would like to do something about. This can be anything, though if you write non-fiction, it will very often be your book topic. Think now. Is it political? Financial? Educational? Be specific. "I want to change the way our president is voted into office." "I want to make the public education system safer for inner-school kids." Mine was: "I want there to be stronger families and fewer broken homes."

Okay. You've got your issue(s) and your adjectives. Now you are going to combine them. Attach those adjectives in however way you can, and you've got a strong, passionate mission. Here is mine: "Reaching children, empowering women, and elevating families through writing."

My platform doesn't have anything to do with the subject matter in my YA books. But it does have everything to do with WHY I write about what I do. And it has everything to do with how validated I feel as a woman, doing something like writing. And I can't think of a better way to help families than by helping the wives and children that are creating future generations. (The husbands just kind of get mopped in there.)

Now when I answer all of those questions above, I can think of my platform while doing so. I can target each group, depending on who my audience is.

Sharing time! What's your platform? (Even if you're not a writer, what's your mission statement for your business/life?)

Picture from http://internetceomoms.com/?roadtohealth

18 comments:

Jen said...

I started blogging to find myself as a writer and I ended up making a platform for myself. I have a local bookstore that I blog for on occassion and I was excited to have them backing me as well for the novel I'm currently writing. I attend several other places such as libraries and local coffee shops, making a name for yourself is key, and it would be really exciting to have my book published and be able to have these places allow me an appearance to get my name out there!!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Good for you, Jen! That is so awesome to have such an in. I didn't start making bookstore contacts until I was under contract. We need more bookstores around here!

Annie McMahon said...

I love your mission statement. I'm glad we share similar values.

Good point. A platform isn't about promoting your book, it's about promoting yourself. Awesome post!

Talli Roland said...

What a great post! And a good reminder that we must brand ourselves, along with our book(s)!

My platform? To make writing and all writing-related things entertaining (through the frequent mention of cupcakes, caffeine and wine).

Stina Lindenblatt said...

This is a great post. Now I'm going to have to figure what the heck my platform is.

Elana Johnson said...

Dude, I was in this class! I thought it was powerful too. And I just created my one-sheet with my power statement. Wasn't Cindy a great teacher?!

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Elana, Cindy was fantastic. I loved her class. Actually, yours and hers were my favorite! I loved that I walked in with nothing and walked away with something.

Elle Strauss said...

That was very helpful, thanks for sharing. I like your platform, I share the same values.

MT said...

I hadn't even considered this. Thanks for opening my eyes to a new concept. :)

KarenG said...

Great points Tamara! How is it that something so simple can be so difficult to actually do?!

sarahjayne smythe said...

Great post. You really lay this out for us. Thanks so much. :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Elle, I think many of us will find we are passionate about the same things. But that's okay! At least we don't have to compete with each other!

Karen,I can't imagine it would be difficult for you! You've done a great job with your platform!

smile4kenny said...

A great post! This is something simple I never actually think of. Thanks for reminding us

Jo said...

I came to your website from Twitter to find out why you were packing and moving. (Congratulations on the nice new place!) This writer's platform information is valuable... I'm going to pack it up and move it to my TO DO list.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Thanks for wandering over here, Jo! Glad you found some useful information!

Sangu said...

What a great post! It's really made me think about the fact that we need to brand ourselves, and know how to market ourselves best as writers. It's always been about the book for me, but I'm so glad you've reminded me that a writer's career extends (hopefully) beyond one book!

Danyelle said...

Awesome post! Thank you for sharing and giving examples. :) I like the thought that platform isn't so much about the books as it is about the person behind them. :D

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Thanks, Sangu and Danyelle. That was what I mostly got out of it, too. Our platform is about US, not our books!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...