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?)
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