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Guest Post from Author Christina Katz

Hi Writers,

Apologies again for my failure to keep up with the blog as of late. We've been going through a marketing restructuring at F+W Media, the parent company of Writer's Digest, so I've been assigned some new duties and am figuring out my new work flow.

Since I've been so busy I've enlisted the help of one of our authors, Christina Katz, to help me out with a guest post. Christina is the author of Writer Mama, a great book for moms who are also cultivating writing careers, and the forthcoming Get Known Before the Book Deal (November 2008). She always has great advice for managing the business side of your writing career and in this post shares some about "author platforms". Enjoy.

20 Dual Questions About Your Author Platform

#1: What’s a Platform? / What’s Your Platform?

By Christina Katz

The toughest part about growing a platform that will eventually help you land a book deal is getting started. You probably know by now that you need a platform. You may have heard the buzz about it at a conference, online or even in writing publications like Writer’s Digest magazine.

But even with all of this information, it's still easy to be confused about where the heck to start. To simplify the process for both of us, I’ve divided platform development from start to finish into twenty questions. Each week, I’ll answer a question and then you will answer a question. By the time we’re done, you will have a solid understanding of platform-ese (the language of platform) and how to use words and more to construct your best possible platform at this time.

Question #1: What’s a platform?

The word platform simply describes all the ways you are visible and appealing to your future, potential, or actual readership. Platform development is important not only for already-published authors; it’s also crucial for aspiring and soon-to-be authors. Your platform includes your Web presence, any public speaking you do, the classes you teach, the media contacts you’ve established, the articles you’ve published, and any other means you currently have for making your name and your future books known to a viable readership.

Your platform communicates your expertise to others concisely, quickly and decisively with clarity, confidence and ease. How visible are you? How much influence do you have? How many people know and trust you? If others recognize your expertise on a given topic or for a specific audience or both, then that is the measure of your platform success.

My question for you: Do you already have or have you ever had a platform on a particular topic? Please share your experience by commenting to this post. I’ll give some examples later. Right now I would rather hear about you.

Christina Katz is author ofGet Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Build an Author PlatformandWriter 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 www.thewritermama.wordpress.com, http://getknownbeforethebookdeal.typepad.com and http://writersontherise.wordpress.com.

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