The Page a Day Writers Group

What the He@! is a Platform, and Why do Writers Have to Have One?

Posted on: November 26, 2009

Oye! And I’m not even Jewish.

A platform is the author’s structure for creating recognition and a following for her book. Publishers are in the business of selling books, and before landing a contract these days, authors have to prove they can sell ’em, especially in nonfiction.

Gone are the days when the publishers provided the bulk of the publicity for a new release. Now the author has to take on the responsibility of getting the word out. The trick is to sell enough copies to get subsequent book contracts. Spending time creating websites, blogs, setting up a social media network (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), attending conferences and book signings takes lots of time and energy, but these things are a must these days.

I’m writing a nonfiction book called Grade by Grade: Excellent Elementary Education Made Easy, or is it Grade by Grade: A Parents’ Roadmap to Their Children’s Success in School, or is it Grade by Grade: A School Success Toolkit for Parents? Lately, the title has been changing daily to create just the right impression. What title will tell parents that between the pages, there is a wealth of down-to-Earth information and a treasure chest of fun activities and how-tos, for just about any situation, for kindergarten through sixth grade kids, grade by grade? Are you out of breath? Me too! Then the name has to change on my www.gradebygrade.com website and Facebook profile, Plaxo profile, Quepasa profile, LinkedIn profile, Twitter profile  … You get the idea.

I suppose once I figure out how to get the numbers up on my blog, make comments regularly on all the social media sites, and collect more email addresses to subscribe to my newsletters, my platform will feel like steel beams instead of a house of cards. For some authors, it seems almost effortless (I wish I were one of those), but for most of us, we slog through it. We hand out cards with our web addresses and such printed on them, network at conferences, link to each other’s blogs, speak at workshops, and add “friends” to our online social media accounts. Luckily there are friends and family to keep telling us, “You can totally do this!”

And for those authors out there who find this whole platform thing a piece of cake, I’m happy for you. I hate you just a little, but kudos anyway.

If you’re doing the platform dance and tripping over your feet a bit, you’re not alone. It’s OK. If we keep at it, we’ll make it to point B, steel support beams all the way, baby – eventually.

Trish Wilkinson

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Who are we?

The Page a Day Writers Group is a diverse collection of wonderful writers based in San Diego, CA. We've been meeting monthly since 2004. Our primary function is in-depth writing critique, marketing and brainstorming, but there's usually some wine, chocolate and ribaldry involved too. We write fantasy, humor, literary fiction, nonfiction, romance, thrillers and YA. Join us on our journeys to publication and the wonderland beyond!

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