The Page a Day Writers Group

PLATFORM, PLATFORM, PLATFORM!

Posted on: November 12, 2013

By Trish Wilkinson

At the Writer’s Digest West Conference in Los Angeles, I talked to two agents and representatives from two small publishing companies during the “Pitch Slam,” a sort of speed dating between authors and professionals who represent authors.Image

Two agents and two editors asked me to send them either partial or full manuscripts for Two Feet, No Shoes, my YA novel about 15-year-old Taekwondo Olympic hopeful, Maya Cipriano Solis, who steals away from L.A. to Jalisco, Mexico to see her dad and discovers not only do family members want her dead, but she’s been living illegally in the U.S.

Sounds great, right?

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The thing that keeps ringing in my ears, though, is how Susan Fine at Susan Finesman Literary listened to my pitch, told me my story sounded intriguing and asked for the first twenty pages, and then asked me what I did outside of writing. When I stuttered a bit, surprised by the question, it seemed she struggled not to roll her eyes. This interchange took place in 90 seconds, as specified by Pitch Slam rules, and I hadn’t practiced talking about my platform.

My cheeks flashed warm when she told me before she would consider representing me, she would Google my name to see what kind of platform I’ve developed. It occurred to me that although I’ve done myriad things to develop my platform – a member of MANA and Hermanitas, helping young Latinas to navigate high school classes and college applications, working with all kinds of future professionals to construct their strongest possible personal statements for Common Apps, coaching students to improve middle school, high school, and college essays, troubleshooting beginning novelists manuscripts on all kinds of levels, giving workshops on various subjects from goal setting to creative writing, my memberships in several writing organizations – I realized most of these things are not posted online. I’ve been such a slackard that when Twitter changed formats, I lost all my followers, and I’ve only recently started following and collecting new followers. My Grade by Grade website is completely outdated and inappropriate for my fiction platform.

Argh. When I pondered the amount of work I’ll have to do to recreate my platform, I felt completely overwhelmed.

Then I read Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform by Christina Katz (Author of Writer Mama) – and I still felt overwhelmed!! Ha!Image

The good news is that Katz presents a solid how-to. She helps writers develop a clear focus and construct an effective initial presentation for their platforms, while continually building on their experience. My goal is to get everything in place before Christmas. If I think of all the work I have to do at once – photo shoot, writing tons of copy, putting up a new website, starting a new blog, connecting all my social media, formalizing and posting my speaking engagements… – my heart starts to pound. I wonder if I’ll ever get it all together.

Then I go back to my notes, refer to Katz’s book, remind myself to breathe, and handle one thing at a time.

Poco a poquito, se llena el jarrito. (Little by little, you fill the little jar.)

Soon, I’ll be posting the links to my new website and blog. You’ll see. 🙂

If you’ve done some of the platform legwork, post your links, so I can check them out and leave comments!

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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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