Monday, May 15, 2017

Platform? What's That?

Platform? What's That?

Platform Is A Must

I asked myself that a lot when I started writing for publication, and I did a lot of research to find the answer. Finally, I boiled it down to this.

#1 Decide what you want to be and become an expert.

I wanted to be Young Adult and Middle Grade book author. That was simple. To become an expert wasn’t. But I signed up for SCBWI, I attended conferences, I joined a critique group. Several. I wrote, I read. Over the years I learned a lot about writing and marketing. I also learned that becoming an expert takes a while, and because nothing remains the same, you can’t just stop and be smug about what you know.

#2 Establish a presence online.

Tell people who you are and what you do. I set up a webpage and a blog. I signed up for Twitter and created Facebook pages. I joined Goodreads and LinkedIn. 

#3 Connect with other professionals in your field. Network.

I began locally. My critique group was the beginning, then I started meeting other writers and agents and publishers at conferences and by doing presentations or sitting on panels.

I offered to do workshops for writers, and now do that yearly. 

#4 Be clear, be consistent and be constant. (The 3 Cs)

This was excellent advice, simple to remember, but challenging to maintain. I’m still working on this.

#5 Ask for help.

Get feedback from those who know what they’re doing and are doing it well. I appreciate all the people I’ve connected with online and in person. I love their feedback on my work and really appreciate it. 

After doing this for a while, I figured out I just had to be me and tell people who that me is, using the principle of those three Cs. Your platform won't happen overnight, but it will grow and mature if you stick with it. 

“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”
~Judy Garland


24 comments:

Pat Hatt said...

Great quote at the end. And yep, have to sure go platforming away to win the day.

Bish Denham said...

Good advice. For me finding a critique group has been the hardest thing to accomplish...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee - great thoughts ... and wise words ... cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Those are all good tips!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Become an expert - that is SO important.

Juneta Key said...

Great tips.

Sandee said...

Great advice and I too love the Judy Garland quote. Very sage advice.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Barbara Fisher said...

Decide what you want to be and become an expert is excellent advice – the deciding is the hard bit. Maybe we can all be expert in one thing for a few years, and then change direction? I’ve been an accountant and also a bookseller (books of different kinds). I'm supposed to be retired now, but I’m hoping I still have time to become an expert in something else. Never give up striving would be my advice.
Great quote at the end.

Yvonne Ventresca said...

Thanks, Lee! Love the Garland quote.

nashvillecats2 said...

Loved the quote. Good post Lee.

Yvonne..

Jacqui Murray said...

All good suggestions, Alex. I especially like #5. That may be the most difficult, too.

Denise Covey - Author said...

Great post Lee. Love the Garland quote.

Sharon M Himsl said...

This is excellent advice but no small thing to do.

SHON said...

Great post! Thanks.

Lux G. said...

Amen. I should have known these things when I was starting. I learned lessons the hard way. But at least now I know. :)

Jean Davis said...

Good advice! I've found networking has been very helpful and a lot of fun too.

Christine Rains said...

Marvelous advice! Asking for help was something I had trouble with a decade ago, but these days, I'm always brainstorming with other writers and sharing info and ideas.

Robert Bennett said...

Great advice. I definitely need to work on the networking. Such is the problem of a horrible secret-introvert that never likes to share their passions with real people.

Mirka Breen said...

All good advice.
I must say that I've done most of these and I don't know that I have "a platform." Frankly, a platform is mostly about *one thing expertise* and I haven't made peace with being a "one thing" sort of writer. By this I mean "the one you go to about writing mysteries, romance or horror/ethnic stories specific to that author/writing for one age group only or even knowledge about fly-fishing.

Stephanie Robertson said...

Oh, wow! How do I sign up for the Insecure Writer's Support Group?

I'm doing my very best to network, work the social media scene, and blog like crazy. I still feel like I'm inching forward at a snail's face in getting visitors to visit and comment on my blog, www.sweetgumlife.com

I really like your Judy Garland quote, and I agree with it 100%:
“Always be a first rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.”

Someone else once said: "Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)"

Tyrean Martinson said...

I like the three C's but I'm sure that I need to work on them still.

Nice post, C. Lee!

Chemist Ken said...

I need to work more on #3. It's the only way to learn.

Lynda Dietz said...

This is an excellent post. Of course, I love the Judy Garland quote because it's such great life advice in general, but you have so many good points that are incredibly practical.

It's tough to choose which one is most helpful, but I know without a doubt that getting connected with people in this community has been huge for me. The support and advice is invaluable and has helped me to become better at what I do in addition to aiding in the progress of those Three Cs you've mentioned.

Thanks for the reminders!

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Great advice! The reason I started my blog was because of what a number of agents and editors told me about having to establish a platform. Whether or not I achieved that AT ALL doesn't even matter to me any more. Now, it's just a way to establish and maintain connections with a bunch of wonderful people.

I agree about being yourself. If YOU aren't the best Michelle you can be, who WILL be?