Here's the third installment of author Christina Katz's guest posts on author platforms. Christina's new book Get Known Before the Book Deal will be available next month.
20 Dual Questions About Your Author Platform
#3: When Does a Platform Make Sense? / When Do You Need a Platform?
By Christina Katz
Imagine this: you pull up to the drive through window at Platforms R Us. A voice comes over the intercom. “May I take your order?”
“Sure,” you say. You already know what you want. “I’ll take one blockbuster bestselling author platform, please.”
Unfortunately, platform development—how visible and influential you are in the world— doesn’t work this way. In fact, platform development is more similar to the slow food movement, than the fast food business model. I work with over a hundred writers a year, and if I’ve learned anything from paying close attention to their success rates, it’s this: scattered efforts yield scant results.
A lot of writers today feel pressured to get a platform and get one FAST. This attitude reveals a common misunderstanding about platform as something you “get” rather than something that you cultivate professionally over time.
You can’t go buy yourself a platform despite all the infomercials popping up online that say that they can provide you with all of the “insider secrets” so you can. The principle of slow and steady development applies to everything writers already do: selling previously written work, pitching ideas, and completing assignments. Why should platform development be any different?
Question #3: When Do You Need a Platform?
As soon as you decide you wish to write a book for traditional publication, you’ll want to get started building your platform. The bottom line is that platform development takes concentration, clarity and follow-through, abilities repeated by successful authors hundreds, if not thousands of times throughout the duration of their writing career.
Clearly there are certain skills that all writers need to succeed today. Developing a solid platform is one of them. But this is not an overnight occurrence, and therefore anyone pressuring you to hurry up and “get” one, might actually be doing you a disservice in the long run.
Don’t try to “get one:” build one instead.
My question for you: When will you need a platform? What are five small steps you can take in the direction of becoming more known in the next week? Why not take one step each day. This is the road to incremental platform development—the only sensible kind of platform development for busy writers.
Please share your experience by commenting to this post.
Christina Katz is author of Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author Platform and Writer Mama, How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids. She started her platform “for fun” seven years ago and ended up on Good Morning America. She works on incremental writing career development with one hundred students a year and is the publisher of the e-zine Writers on the Rise. Christina blogs at The Writer Mama Riffs,Get Known Before the Book Deal and Writers on the Rise.