April 02, 2009

Platform...really?


I don't know about you but I keep hearing about platform. I'm still not sure I understand completely what it is, but here is what I understand. It is your presence in the community you are trying to be successful in. It is who you know and how many you know and how many know YOU.

I don't know about you, but my platform...like those crazy shoes...is pretty wobbly. I don't know what I am doing yet. I know some people, but not many know of me. I feel unstable, unsure, and seem to go forward cautiously, a little fearful of falling on my face!

Platform is about sale-ability. Agents, editors, and publishers want to know that they can sell your book. (and make some money) They want to know that you can get people to buy the book and the way you do it is to have a following.

So how do you get a following? You get so busy blogging, joining sites, making connections, joining loops, etc that you don't have much time on the one thing that got you to go get a platform in the first place. Yep...like...writing a book!!!!

I don't know about you, but I just want to write without worrying about getting my name out there. What does it matter really? If God has decreed my book get published, then He will pave the way. My goal should not be to "have a Platform", but to learn the craft.

Learning the craft includes doing some of those things I mentioned earlier. Taking time to go to conferences, joining Writing Groups, entering contests, and connecting with other writers are all worthwhile endeavors in honing the skills needed. But I'm not going to stress over it.

I am going to rest in the knowledge that God knows my path. I just need to trust Him to make that path known. He will direct it. It may be a winding road with an obstacle or two, but those challenges just make the destination all the sweeter.


9 comments:

  1. I love your post esp. the last paragraph. I trust the Lord with my life in all aspects. Beautifully put.

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  2. I think platform building is similar to building our writing craft. Both come slowly over time. If we just work steadily, we'll make progress on both, eventually.

    That said, I am convinced that we can do all the platform building until we're a mile high, but if we don't write an EXCELLENT book, it won't matter. Readers won't follow us if our books don't keep them hooked.

    So ultimately, I think readers help us build upon the platform we've already begun to establish. So let's just keep plugging away at gettng our stories polished, and as you said, trust the Lord to lead us on the next steps!

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  3. No worries, Sherrinda. Platform is way less important for fiction writers. Like both T. Anne and Jody said, God knows his plans for us and a great book will sell if people hear about it, but a not-so-great one won't sell no matter how many hear about it.
    I believe Donald Maas may be the one who is against writers blogging. Not sure, but I thought I read something where he basically says we blog and don't write. LOL

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  4. At the conference I went to last year I took a session on Platform. They emphasized the need for it with non-fiction mostly. For non-fiction you want to build speaking engagements, share your wealth of knowledge, prove you know your stuff.

    For fiction, however, it's not as necessary as craft. It's helpful they said, to have an online presence, and if it comes down to them accepting one book over the other, of course they'd pick the one with the greatest contacts, platform, but that's rare, I understand. Craft still trumps all!

    I agree with Jody, we need to mindful of platform, put the seed in place to grow one, but our main concentration should be on writing well, learning the craft, and actually, in doing so we tend to grow our platform, too.

    Writing articles and contributing to devotions, etc. can help build that contact list as well, and is great for honing the craft.

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  5. Thanks T. Anne, I have really been learning the trust factor in a big way. He is good!

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  6. Great advice, Jody. I have already tried to instill in me the idea of the "slowness factor" and have put a goal of publication in 5-10 years. Surely I can learn the craft in that amount of time!! SURELY! ;)

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  7. Jessica, I hadn't heard that about Maas, but it rings true for me some days! I get consumed by the black blog hole when my time gets sucked in, never to reappear.

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  8. Eileen, I don't think I could ever write devotionals or articles. I don't know why, I've been a pastor's wife for 20= years, but I never feel like I have any wisdom to share that nobody's heard already.

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  9. Hi Sherrinda my cousin is a wife of a pastor too. You remind me of her.

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