I hope everyone's been having fun and learning new stuff and putting it into action this month, but did you know this is actually not the first platform challenge I've ever hosted? The first one actually led to the formation of a group on Facebook called Wordsmith Studio, and they've recently contacted me to invite everyone from this challenge to like their group on Facebook (and connect with everyone there). Click here to view their group on Facebook.
For today's platform-building task, research markets for getting your writing published. Of course, I'm going to suggest checking out the latest Writer's Market, because I edit that book. But there are some other methods to researching markets that don't involve a trip to the bookstore or library below.
But first, you need to know what you're researching:
- Magazines and online publications. Any writer who does shorter form writing (like poems or prose that has fewer than 8,000 words) will want to investigate magazines and online publications as possible places to publish their writing. Unless you write picture books, that is. Some longer form writing may also find a home in publications.
- Book publishers. For this market, writers need to assemble a book-length work of writing, whether it's a collection of poetry or short fiction or an entire novel or how-to book.
- Literary agents. For fiction and nonfiction writers who wish to get published by one of the major publishing houses that only accept agented material, well, literary agents is the way to go. There's actually a great agent blog on this site hosted by Chuck Sambuchino (check it out).
- Contests. For some writers, contests is a way to break in. They've helped propel many a career, but enter with caution. Many charge entry fees, which can add up quick, and the competition is usually tough. Enter contests that will provide a great deal of visibility if you win and that offer some sort of premium if you enter (like a copy of the winning book or subscription to the magazine). Then, you can still have something even if you don't win.
The 2016 Writer's Market Deluxe Edition combines the power of print with the power of online to create a power-packed listing research tool of awesomeness!
Seriously, here's what writers get:
- Thousands of listings for magazines, book publishers, literary agents, contests, and more!
- Articles on the business and promotion of writing, covering everything from submissions to taxes and more!
- Submission Tracker tool that helps writers keep track of submissions.
- Webinar titled "How to Build an Audience and Business With Your Writing."
- One-year subscription to the WritersMarket.com site.
- And so much more!
How Does This Help My Platform?
While platform can help writers find more success with their publishing goals, publishing can help writers increase their platform. Writers who work diligently to get published can create a sort of self-perpetuating platform machine of greatness. This is also why many bestselling authors write and publish several books before they break out.
Remember: Your platform is your reach to your target audience. If your writing is getting published and reaching your target audience, then you're building your platform.
Quick anecdote: As an editor/blogger, I often feature interviews on my Poetic Asides blog about poets. How do I find my poets usually? Through new books that are published and/or poems that I read in journals/publications. So getting published can help a writers platform in many ways through one act.
What If I Can't Afford a Market Guide?
I feel you on this one, but in the case of Writer's Market, there are editions at the local library, I'm sure. Also, you can search on Google, follow markets on social media, and connect with other writers at live and virtual events (like this one).
Where there's a will, there's a way, and if you're taking part in this challenge, I'm assuming there's a very strong will. Make it happen.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which includes editing Writer’s Market and Poet’s Market. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.