WMBTSG Day 22 (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)

Welcome to day twenty-two of the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. Today’s giveaway is three copies of my soon-to-be-released book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform by me, Christina Katz.

I’m giving away three copies of my forthcoming book to three different people on the day of the Amazon spike. You do not need to purchase my book today to participate in today’s drawing and, even if you do purchase a copy from Amazon, you can also still participate. So everyone gets to participate today regardless of whether or not your purchase. 🙂

Get Known Before the Book Deal
Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform

by Christina Katz
Writer’s Digest Books, 2008
ISBN 978-1-58297-554-2
$16.99 paperback, 224 pages

About the Book
This guide comprehensively instructs writers on getting known before the book deal. There are numerous titles on how to market yourself and your book after publication, or after you land a book deal, but none focus on how you get known before you land a book deal.

Increasingly, book writers need to know: What can I do now to start getting known? How do I build a marketing platform that will attract the attention of editors and agents?

Many writers still believe that their credentials or education will be enough to impress agents and editors, only to find themselves stumped when asked to describe their “platform” that will support future sales of their book. Those who already know what “platform” means still struggle to weave self-promotion in with everything else they already do.

Get Known Before the Book Deal starts from square one and assumes no previous knowledge or experience in marketing/promotion. It walks you step-by-step through the whys and hows of becoming visible and cultivating visibility from scratch, while offering an economical approach. You don’t have to spend thousands to self-promote. More and easier access to Web tools means that platform-development is available to anyone with enough time, energy, and enthusiasm. With an emphasis on the most basic web skills relevant for years to come, this guide helps you get comfortable with the fundamentals of running a writing business or promoting yourself online.

This book also puts power and responsibility in the hands of you, the writer. Get Known Before the Book Deal empowers you to take charge of your writing careers and partner equally with agents, editors and publishers, instead of waiting to be discovered. With an emphasis on synergizing with other writers, editors, agents, association officers, booksellers, and in-house marketing people, you’ll be better prepared for authorship.

If you’re a totally unknown writer, this book will show you how to steadily increase your reach and visibility around topics that are most appropriate for your knowledge and expertise, with clear instruction in the basics of self-publicity and readership development. Introverts like to think they are exempt from self-promotion, so author Christina Katz shows all personality types how to become visible, how to thrive in the competitive marketplace.


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.


Today’s question:

Are you interested in becoming an author (or are you already an author)? How do you feel about the growing requirement for writers to build a platform before landing a book deal? Does it sound scary? Hard? Frustrating? Or possible, manageable and doable?

Is it clear what is being requested or are you like many folks who are not quite sure what platform means?

If this is your first post in the giveaway, please read “Da Rules.”

You may post your comments until midnight PST on September 22th.


54 Responses to “WMBTSG Day 22 (Comment to this post to enter today’s drawing)”

  1. 1 Margay September 22, 2008 at 2:38 am

    I know absolutely nothing about marketing, so the whole idea of building a platform is rather intimidating to me. How do you do that? What is involved? But on the other hand, I am willing to learn, and to implement what I learn, in my quest to not only become a published author, but to become well known as a published author. I was raised to believe that learning doesn’t end when you graduate, so learning to market myself will just be the next step in my education.

  2. 2 Heidi September 22, 2008 at 4:02 am

    Building a personal platform isn’t scary to me — I’ve been in business as a consultant and business coach for several years and understand the need for marketing buzz. As I’m moving from consulting and teaching to freelance writing, I find it’s sometimes frustrating to have my writing time stolen by platform-building tasks (like maintaining my blog or website, pitching classes or speaking engagements). I actually LOVE doing these things, I just have to focus and ensure they don’t crowd out my writing time and energy. The other concern (as I see it) is a need to feel that the platform I create is a faithful representation of who I really am. When I started freelancing my mom asked “so what’s your persona going to be? Will you be like Dr. Phil or Dr. Laura or Suze Orman (hard hitting and kind of brash)?” Um, no, I;m going to be like me — Dr. Heidi. 🙂

  3. 3 Meryl K. Evans September 22, 2008 at 5:19 am

    Building a platform sounds like we authors have to do what Miss America does — promote our favorite cause or charity. However, I believe authors building a platform means getting know for the topic they write about. But then if you write novels — maybe that’s where charity comes in since it’d be silly to build a platform on romance, having affairs, running away from bad guys. 🙂

  4. 4 Pam September 22, 2008 at 5:21 am

    I do consider myself an author, I have had 3 pieces published! I am confused by what a platform is and why I need one. It sounds a bit intimidating but I’m sure it realy isn’t. It may be similiar to selling yourself at an interview or on your resume. You want your good name out there so someone will hire you.
    Since I am new to book publishing, it is not clear to me what is needed for a platform, but I am sure I will find out soon. I am currently working on writing a children’s non-fiction book about Guinea Hens through ICL.
    Happy Monday everyone!

  5. 5 Wendy September 22, 2008 at 5:23 am

    After taking your Platform 101 class, I know much more about the process. I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book. It seems authors are called on to do so much more these days and having you spell it out is just what those of us who dream of getting published need. Your first book was so great at the practical, lets get this job done and done in between all the mama responsibilities that has worked so well at motivating me into a writing career. I already pre-ordered the book as soon as Amazon started taking pre-orders, but I know a few writers who are ready to take the plunge, but hesitate because it seems so overwhelming and complicated, I would love to share the book with them.

  6. 6 joy September 22, 2008 at 5:38 am

    I have an idea of what a platform means. Based on following your blog, I assume that blogging and finding your place on the Internet is a key to getting started. Develop a following, find ways to network with hundreds or thousands of people, then get your work published. It sounds manageable and doable, but I’m a person who works best with an instructor. Your book sounds like the perfect stepping stone for setting the foundation to my career. I am, like you, a writer mama, with a 4 month old who likes to sleep in. I use my mornings (hence my early post) to do my writing before the day’s routine kicks in. I’m excited to see what steps your book lays out, and I’m going to add your new blog to my following. Thanks!

  7. 7 Ginny September 22, 2008 at 6:39 am

    I don’t much like needing to “grow” a platform, but I understand why publishers like to see it from potential authors. To that end, I have been slowly trying to grow a platform for a book I am currently writing. I have been shopping the proposal around to agents this year while writing and platform building, and I’ve got to say, it’s hard. Surprisingly, however, I do like doing the research into places to market the book and I’ve had a great deal of positive reception for my topic (this is a non-fiction book).

    So, the hurdle to getting an agent and publisher is, at this point, far bigger than the idea of marketing my book; I know exactly where to market it and believe there is a sizable audience for it. It’s just getting myself known well enough to impress agents that’s hard.

  8. 8 Cathy September 22, 2008 at 6:42 am

    At first, the whole platform thing made me nuts. I mean, I have to work like a DOG getting myself known as well as have the most splendiferously written manuscript ever just to get out of the slush pile. Meanwhile, the celebrity du jour who decides to pen a book is smiling and yakking with Oprah.

    BUT, then I had a reality check. Selling books is a business and building that platform helps sell books. And if a writer hasn’t proven herself willing to work on the platform, then why take a risk that she’ll work on selling her book? So,I’ve got to read Get Known, because I’ve got a book and I’m not Madonna. But I want a publisher to think I can make a return on his investment like Madonna!

  9. 9 Kristen September 22, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Before reading Writer Mama, I had never even thought about building a platform. Since my goal of writing is to eventually publish a non-fiction book or two (I have several ideas), I can see the importance of building a platform. I look forward to reading your new book to find out how to go about doing this!

  10. 10 Pam September 22, 2008 at 7:14 am

    I am not only interested in becoming an author, I am a published author. I have written an article that is to be published in May 09 in Grit Magazine. I also have a continuing story running chapter by chapter in Kidz Rule USA.
    As a new author, I have yet to become familiar with building a platform before landing a book deal. I am in the process of writing a children’s non-fiction book for a course I am taking at Institute of Children’s Literature. I think I will become familiar with it soon.
    I am a bit confused about it. But I assume it is similiar to marketing yourself for anything that you do, jobs, etc.
    It is not real clear to me what is being requested as a platform, but I am sure I will find out. It can be manageable if you make it that way!

  11. 11 Laural September 22, 2008 at 7:21 am

    I like to believe hard work can work – but it sure helps to have the steps outlined. The idea of platform-building seems exciting. What is daunting is the time likely required and the technical skills that I don’t have, such as to create and support a website. Looking forward to Christina’s book to take some of the mystery out of the process.

  12. 12 elizaj September 22, 2008 at 7:25 am

    Yes. I am interested in becoming an author. It’s really all I have ever wanted to do. I took a 30 year hiatus from dreams however so now I am playing catch-up. Focusing now on getting re-focused!

    Building a platform is news to me. Yes. It sounds scary. Hard. Frustrating. More scary.

    I wouldn’t have a clue how/what/where to start. Oh wait. Yes I do!! Buy Christina Katz’s book!

  13. 13 Gloria Oren September 22, 2008 at 7:49 am

    I am interested in becoming an author and am currently working on an autobiography. I think it’s important to have a following, a platform of potential buying readers ready, able and willing to buy your book when it hits the market. The idea of building one itself is scary, especially since it’s more than just word or mouth which is a piece of cake. Not sure that it is hard though, at least not much harder than writing the book and editing and revising it is. Frustrating? Perhaps at times, but so are some points of revision and writer’s block as well. I think having a platform helps land a deal in many cases, especially with an unknown author.

    If you can write a book and bring it to a publishable state, you can certainly build a platform, even if it means a bit of learning. As far as I know learning never killed anyone.

  14. 14 Abbey September 22, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Yes, I’m interested in writing a book – although I’m not yet completely comfortable with my topic/focus.

    Creating a platform is not overwhelming or intimidating. I have a background in marketing, so I understand the need to promote yourself and your ideas. I see it as another opportunity to tell an editor, “Hey, look at me! I know what I’m talking about!”

    I think creating a platform will also help me focus my ideas and build confidence in my area of expertise. Pitching an idea or book proposal sounds so abstract to me. Pitching an idea or proposal with a whole bunch of other things to back it up (blog, newsletter, etc.), sounds much safer!

  15. 15 Cheryl M September 22, 2008 at 8:00 am

    I am interested in learning more about building a platform. I am not planning on writing a book right now. However, I think that having a platform may help get your name out as an expert in a particular field and help you sell articles or your writing services. Maybe I am completely wrong and it is only for selling books??

  16. 16 jess September 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

    I’ve been writing for years (freelance) and have authored one novel. I’ve seen many changes in the publishing industry and can’t say I like them all. Platform? No, I don’t like the idea. I prefer to sit in my attic and write. 🙂 But I know I’ll have to join the crowd when it comes to promoting myself and my work or I’ll be left behind. I’ve brainstormed so many ways to get ‘noticed’ by editors, agents and publishers. I don’t have a strong handle on it yet. Regardless of everything else, good writing is a must, but there’s an awful lot to be said for having connections.

    I’m on the conference committee of our small conference to be held Nov. 15th. I’m in charge of speakers. I’ve selected a publicist who’ll speak to us on how to publicize ourselves before we sell. I’d love to win your book for a doorprize at our conference.

    I bought your first book–it was great! and look forward to buying this second one. It will certainly speak to and help a lot of writers–new and old. In my circle, ‘platform’ is the equivalent of a four-letter word.


  17. 17 Stefanie September 22, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I think as writers, many of us would prefer to focus on the artistic side of writing and leave the business side to others. Unfortunately, in today’s market we not only have to be talented writers, we have to be shrewd business women. We have to be accountants, publicists, and marketers. While I feel pretty good about the writing and accounting, the publicity aspect leaves me a little weak in the knees. I understand the need for building a platform, but definitely need many, many pointers.

  18. 18 Cat September 22, 2008 at 8:41 am

    The idea of building a platform makes sense to me, but I find the idea of it overwhelming–I have a hard time cleaning my desk, let alone marketing myself, and this seems like one more thing. And I have no idea how to get started on it. Which I suppose is the purpose of your book! I’m a published writer, but am very disorganized on the marketing side of things, and know I should get on the bandwagon with this idea, because it could only help my career.

  19. 19 Anne-Marie at The Write Spot September 22, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I’m not actively looking to become a published book author (too busy blogging!). But I work with a lot of writers who are looking for an agent or a book deal. And at the last writer’s conference I went to, it was all “marketing platform” buzz.

    I help writers start creating a marketing platform by using blogs and social media like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook. Social media, while time consuming, is practically free. It gets you exposure as an expert in your field, helps you network with writers/agents/publishers, it gets your work out in front of others, and blogs especially help them create an audience for their work.

    Bottom line – it’s not all about writing the book anymore. Instead, it’s about building up a readership before you get the deal, and it’s about knowing your audience and the marketing trends. The process is manageable, but it’s up to the writer to decide how much time they’re going to devote to writing as well as developing their marketing platform.

  20. 20 Judy September 22, 2008 at 9:06 am

    I do consider myself an author since I have had several pieces published. But I want to become a well-known author/expert, and the sooner the better. Building a platform makes total sense to me as it will help me focus on a specialty or topic, market myself, and help me to become known as an “expert”.

  21. 21 Mimi Greenwood Knight September 22, 2008 at 9:10 am

    The whole idea is a bit overwhelming to me. The realization that you can take a fresh approach to a topic–write about it, in fact, as no one has before.
    You can offer camaraderie and comfort to your reader, polish and hone your prose until they sing and craft the perfect book proposal–trimming and whittling it down to a crisp, irrepressible appeal.
    You can endure months–maybe years–of rejection from a long line of agents and publishers, still polishing, still honing, still crafting, still trimming and finally realize the holy grail of all writers–that elusive book contract. At last!
    Wasn’t there a day when that was enough? Wasn’t there a time it was someone else’s job to take it from there–someone who’d been educated in marketing and publicity–leaving you free to court the muse and give birth to another inspirational creation, another super tight proposal. It seems counter productive if the goal is getting great books into the hands of eager readers to have the authors of those books occupied not with writing more but with promoting the ones they’ve already written. Or is it just me?

  22. 22 Celestial Goldfish September 22, 2008 at 9:41 am

    I am an author of short works, but the end goal is to be a published novelist. I definitely see the benefits of a platform or an expertise; I explored the option of doing magazines and the like after reading Writer Mama, but I lack a real platform or strength. I’m not particularly good at this whole motherhood thing, and my experience isn’t the norm (my son is autistic) but at the same time I haven’t dealt with the issue enough to make mounds of material. I have a college degree, but no job skills.

    I like fiction because I can play with my imagination and not rely so much on real-world skills. Still, marketing oneself is important. I have a website (www.bethcato.com) and business cards. I’m just quite shy and not particularly confident, and therefore I don’t sell myself well.

  23. 23 Maribeth September 22, 2008 at 10:02 am

    Although I only have had a few small pieces published, I would like to consider myself an author. As far as platform building, I am not sure if my idea of what it is is correct.
    I would think publishing credits are a large part of the platform, considering most agents and publishing houses tend to shy away from first time authors.
    I love to write, but I seldom write about writing and sometimes I think that is a factor against me.
    I have to be honest and say sometimes I never feel like I am going to have anything major published and other times I feel like, Of course I will. Either way I am addicted to the craft, as long as I can do it, I am happy. However, the thought of being known before the book deal is very appealing. 🙂

  24. 24 Elizabeth September 22, 2008 at 10:12 am

    What’s the definition of author? My byline is on a book; my name is in a fiction collection. I don’t have a book deal. But are the published bylines part of building the platform or is that part of being an author? Building the platform doesn’t sound scary to me, it sounds like that is what is necessary these days to get to the book deal. I just wish I had an agent to help guide me in building the platform.

  25. 25 Mar Junge, c3PR September 22, 2008 at 10:12 am

    Mimi – it’s not just you. There was a time when being a good writer was enough. But today, publishers can’t support large marketing departments because book sales are down. Plus, since there are fewer “eager readers,” many major newspapers have slashed their book review columns to the bare minimum, or eliminated them completely, so even the best books don’t get the “buzz” they used to.

    With every published book now such a financial risk, and the market so tight, authors must be more competitive. Besides being a good writer, you have to learn to promote yourself and your work. The good news is that once you have a platform, you have a clear sense of why your book is worth publishing and can use social media to enhance your credibility and create market demand for your product. Christina Katz does this extremely well. And best of all, she’s willing to share this “how to” knowledge with us in her new book.

  26. 26 Mindy September 22, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I am just breaking into the writer’s world, but building a platform seems like a neccesity. Marketing is the key to any business. The thing that troubles me is the time spent away from my other writing. I’m sure I am like others in that I have so much I want to write and so much I need to write, and that all has to fit into the busy family schedule! So to add blogging, etc on top of that is my challenge. Well, let’s be real, since I have yet to actually be published, it is all a challenge for me and this is ALL new. Wish me luck!

  27. 27 rowena September 22, 2008 at 10:27 am

    I have wanted to be a published writer since I was 15. I am 38. I’ve been working on the writing thing, but only sometimes the publishing.

    I need to get cracking.

    Building a platform does not actually scare me, if it is what I think it is, although I am not actually sure if it IS what I think it is. I think it has something to do with getting out there and having people know your name and know your “product.” Which, I think, is more yourself than your writing, although perhaps the self could be known through your writing. I think this may be confused understanding though.

    It doesn’t intimidate me because I have really enjoyed my forays into the blogging world and getting to know people that way and being a part of the creative and the writing community. I keep wanting to start new blogs about new things. Maybe I’m getting addicted. I also keep wanting to start creativity classes, and sell arts online, and help others be creative. I think this is part of it. I hope so, otherwise I could just be spreading myself too thin.

  28. 28 Annette S September 22, 2008 at 10:28 am

    I like the idea of building a platform. In fact you could say that one of the reasons I took my current communications job was to immerse myself in a platform I’ve merely dabbled in–that of local politics and community engagement. I think that building a platform helps a writer develop rich ground of subject matter from which to draw. It also helps transform a writer into an author, and I do draw a distinction between the two. Anyone can be a writer, but for me, being an author means becoming an “authority” on something. Building a platform is one way to become recognized as an authority, and from a marketing standpoint, it appears easier to sell books when you’re considered an authority on something.

  29. 29 Cara September 22, 2008 at 10:47 am

    Once upon a time, I believed that to become a best selling author, you simply needed to write a book with best selling potential. I am not so naïve anymore. Breaking into the mysterious world of agents, editors and publishers it seems, is no different from any other endeavor in life. It’s all about who you know, and how you market yourself. Networking is as fundamental to a writer, as the writing process itself. Is that fair? As my dad was wont to comment, “Who says life is fair?”

    And just how do I feel about that? It’s simply the way the world works. If I need to market myself, along with my writings, then so be it. It’s not all negative though. Through networking and keeping my pulse on the writing world by means of the internet, intensive reading, and talking with more people than I can acknowledge, I’ve enriched myself as a person, as well as an aspiring author. So like most things in life, platform building can be turned to your own advantage!

  30. 30 Katrina September 22, 2008 at 10:48 am

    I’ve freelanced for a while, but not published a book. While I understand the concept of platform building, I know, well, nil about how to do that. Or maybe I’m doing something right now without realizing it. If so, I could not only take better advantage of it, but expand using the techniques in this book. I admit, I’d rather hand my efforts off to a publisher and let them do the rest. At least I think so, but that’s unlikely to happen, so I think I should arm myself with the book!

  31. 31 Mary Jo C. September 22, 2008 at 11:34 am

    I never knew “platform” until I read “Writer Mama” and then all my years of marketing school and job experience kicked in. However, as a writer (I’m not an “author” in my mind until I publish something book-length)I’ve been just picking up pub’l credits where I can . Not too wise if I want to build a platform, have a niche.

    I have no problem with the idea that I need to work to get my name out there besides just my writing. I love networkig and finding the right connections.

    Though I’m more interested in fiction writing and very curious how platform comes into play with that genre.

  32. 32 Amie H September 22, 2008 at 11:38 am

    I have a background in PR and marketing, so I understand the need for a platform – I just haven’t really applied it to my own writing career yet. I guess I am one of those people who wants everything to be just right and to know exactly what direction I’m going in before I begin, but I think as with many things in life – with a platform – although there is planning – at some point you just have to dive in and take a risk. I am still trying to clarify my specialization and work on my writing craft, but I would like to be a published author someday. I am building up clips and laying the groundwork for what I hope will be an exciting lifelong process of becoming what I already am. A writer.

  33. 33 Cheryl Rainfield September 22, 2008 at 11:41 am

    Building a platform seems mostly do-able; I think I’m doing a number of things already, through maintaining a blog and site. I wish there was more out there, though, for authors of novels–it seems a bit more foggy to me, how to create a platform and come up with creative promotion ideas for novels. I also wish I could just put more time into writing–but I understand the need to help promote.

  34. 34 Sherrie Kendall September 22, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I’m just now beginning to learn about platform building (thanks to “Writer Mama”). I most certainly need to read your new book to better educate myself! Building a platform feels a bit like creating a portfolio. Both require a refining process, which forces me, as a writer, to know myself and my work more intimately. As a busy mom, I like the idea of being required to have a platform, because it gives me a concrete focus for where my writing is going. I believe my platform will provide me with a greater sense of accomplishment as a writer. I have yet to publish, but the idea of building a platform will generate more purpose in the process of becoming a writer and getting known.

  35. 35 writethejourney September 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    Glad you put in that last part about those of us who might not know what a platform is. I’m one of them. I imagine there’s a lot more to it than networking. So, it sounds mysterious to me. What is involved? Where do you have to be in the writing process to begin? Does your novel or manuscript have to be ready? I’m looking forward to finding out more.

  36. 36 Cile September 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    Yes, the idea of developing a platform sounds overwhelming if that includes having a website or being on Facebook or one of the other public internet sites. Blogging? Forget it. I do well to answer emails from family and friends at times.

    Sometimes though there are captive audiences… like soon there’s a college reunion I’ll plan to go to, plus there’s an even more dated high school reunion coming up.

    Since my possible book has to do with health care, I’d love to get an endorcement from Suzanne Gordon who wrote Nursing Against the Odds, a tremendous journalistic accomplishment that describes the time lines of the managed care reign of error (opinion of one who feels patient care should be paramount to profit) that I lived through. Yes, I’d love to read how to promote the work that my colleagues and patients deserve to have written. Their stories cry to be told.

  37. 37 JulieP September 22, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Its intimidating. Really. No matter my PR or marketing experience, the fact that I have to already push to be published, and then push again to market myself is, simply, intimidating.

    It used to seem like once you’re published, the publisher markets your work. Makes sense on paper, of course. They invest in you, they work to make their investment worthwhile.

    But it also makes sense that we have to market on our own. We are the writers of our own books. We are the ones who live it, love it, know it. And no one can sell you like you do.

    Philosophy aside, do I know what to do? How to do it? Even with a marketing and PR background, I’m sure there’s a heck of a lot to learn in this area.

  38. 38 Renee September 22, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I do have a question. Do you mostly need a platform if you are publishing non-fiction, where you need to come across as an “authority” on a particular subject? I never really thought about that distinction until I read the question today.

    In any case, I understand the need to grow a platform, especially if people are looking to me to provide them with expertise and help in an area where they want to grow. I think it is so much easier to grow a platform in today’s world, where you can take advantage of social networking sites, create a blog for just that book if you want, and contact editors and public relations contacts so much more quickly!

    In any case, I am super excited about today’s giveaway. I can’t wait to get my hands on the new book, as I learned so much from “Writer Mama.”

  39. 39 Jaymie September 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    The idea of building a platform is intimidating – as if writing isn’t intimidating enough on its own! I can understand why the platform is helpful. There are so many books out there and people like to know who they are reading and why they should pick your book over all the other choices. But when you have anxiety about writing and wonder if anyone will care about the things YOU care about, the idea of creating a platform on top of the writing itself seems overwhelming.

  40. 40 Jen September 22, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    I absolutely do want to become the author of an entire book (I’ve “authored” essays for anthologies, but I know we’re talking full-length books here). I have wanted to be the author of my own book since I first learned to read. I’d hold the pages of a new book up to my nose and breathe in deeply, then turn it over and imagine how my name would look on the cover.

    Growing a platform does seem scary and hard. It takes a lot of confidence and faith in one’s self to put herself out there as the expert with a product people want.

    I’ve discovered that beginning to build a platform is a lot of work and takes a lot of thought. As I work toward becoming an author, I know that I must simultaneously work toward building my platform. Working diligently and slowly on this is the only way I can manage it. It does not happen overnight.

    Although the concept feels overwhelming, I do believe that with the proper knowledge, direction, determination and hard work it is possible and doable.

    I can’t wait to read GET KNOWN. Congratulations!

  41. 41 KatiN. September 22, 2008 at 2:15 pm

    I recently added a podcast to my platform and am still climbing that technological ladder. And the next element I have on the drawing board will require even more technology skills, creativity, etc. I don’t think I would keep building my platform if I wasn’t having so much fun at it.

    One aspect that I very much enjoy is the direct feedback from my readers. Without blogging, podcasting, using social network sites, and expanding my platform to include new internet technologies, I would have little opportunity to learn about my audience. But with these internet tools, I can draw a comprehensive picture of my audience, their needs and wants. Which in turn, helps refine my platform, fuel creative process, and define content.

  42. 42 Laura September 22, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Oh, yes, I’m interested in being an author! I consider myself a ‘real’ writer, because I have gotten paid for the one article I’ve had published. My long-term goal is to have a career in writing books. In the short term, I’ve been working on writing articles & personal essays. Because of this, one day I picked up this book called Writer Mama at my beloved Barnes & Noble. Though I had not intended to buy anything that day, I found great advice, and ended up purchasing it. Reading through it, I learned that to be a writer nowadays, you have to have an online presence. I immediately started a blog. I know that I should next add either Face Book or My Space, but I need a teenager to help me figure that one out! Beyond these steps, I am unsure what I need to do to ‘build a platform’. And yes, it does sound scary to me, but only because I don’t know what to do next. Guess I’ll be heading back to Barnes & Noble, and looking this book up.

  43. 43 Sue Fagalde Lick September 22, 2008 at 2:49 pm

    I have published several books. With each one, I have learned more about this platform business. That’s a good thing because the demand that authors have a platform has really been increasing in recent years. Personally I do understand what it’s all about and I enjoy the process. I resent the time it takes, but I love giving talks and participating in platform-building events. I enjoy the PR and I like talking about my subjects. I think that’s key. If you aren’t passionate about the subject, don’t even think about publishing a book on it because your platform will always be shaky.

  44. 44 Tricia Grissom September 22, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    I mentioned this on my blog in May, but I’ve been hearing that now fiction writers need a platform! I’ve heard it from more than one agent/editor at the writing conferences I’ve been to.

    The more places you can sell books, the greater shot you have at getting published, no question about it. It’s becoming a more businessy business every year.

    I’m dying to get my hands on your book because I think the people who do it the best at the beginning are the ones who will be long term authors. Sign me up!

  45. 45 Erika September 22, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I consider myself a writer (of articles), but aspire to be an author of a book one day. In terms of building a platform, I do think it sounds like a lot of work, but my background is in marketing so I hope that it will provide an opportunity for me to use all my skills together. I’ve done press tours, public speaking, etc. – it would all just be so much more fun if it was for something I was so passionate about like my own book, rather than the latest file management software program (my past life in high-tech marketing).

  46. 46 Stephanie Craig September 22, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t know what you mean by building a platform. I haven’t heard that phrase before. So being ignorant of what is expected, I think writing the book would be harder than building the platform. Perhaps that is because I am currently in the writing phase. The posted questions intruige me, and I know I will be more successful if I can figure out the answers.

  47. 47 krysk September 22, 2008 at 6:12 pm

    Sign me up! While I have had a few pieces published I am still working towards considering myself an author – that word just sounds so official! I compeltely understand the importance of building your platform – I rushed things when I first started out freelancing and then have taken huge steps back only when I felt myself running into a brick wall! I am currently taking Christina’s 101 class and love it. It is a lot of hard work and soul searching, but I view writing as my business and my platform is simply my business plan. It really makes a great deal of sense to take things one step at a time and work things through – it is especially nice to have Christina share her knowledge!

  48. 48 Kristin September 22, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    I’m currently editing my first book of non-fiction. I’ve spent as many hours brainstorming and working on building a platform as I have working on the actual book. For non-fiction, building a platform prior to landing a book deal is imperative. Unless you’re a celebrity with a built in audience, you need a solid selling base and need to be seen as some type of authority in your particular field in order to have a shot at being published. Building a platform for fiction work…that’s a little fuzzy to me. I’ll need to buy Christina’s book.

  49. 49 karen September 22, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Yes, I would like to become an author. There, I’ve put it out there. Eeek! A platform? Thanks to you, I have an idea what a platform is and how darn hard a person needs to work to build one. It it more than a little intimidating for a person just starting to think “specialty.” I understand how and why a platform is useful in the world of sales, but darn, it is still a lot to swallow.

  50. 50 Sarah K. September 22, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Writer Mama opened my eyes to a whole new world in regards to writing. So I can’t wait to see what new heights Get Known Before the Book Deal will take me to! At this point, the only thing I know about developing a platform I have learned from Writer Mama. All I have done in regards to building a platform for myself is submit some of my writings which will hopefully end up in print and am trying to start a blog, but am still a little confused even with how to go about doing that. To make a long story, I don’t know too much about building a platform and find the task slightly daunting, but also look it as a challenge which I can’t wait to tackle! 🙂

  51. 51 Adrienne September 22, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Marketing, uggh. i hate doing it largely because I think of it in terms of awful “networking” ie, having lunches, meetings, cocktails, etc with people I don’t know and don’t necessarily want to talk to but have to talk to in order to sell myself. I have the old fashioned idea that the quality of my work is what sells me and is the only selling tool I need. I built a ten-plus year business as a freelance grantwriter without a web site and with minimual networking. Once my business took off, I barely did any marketing. I didn’t have to. I simply focused on a core group of clients and worked with them for years.

    I’m writing a non-fiction book, and I know that I’ll need a different business model. If it’s accepted for publication, I’ll need to do a lot of the work usually done by a publicist: sending it to the media, coming up with article slants about the book, arranging for book readings, giving interviews, etc. Many, many things tat I, introvert that I am, would rather never have to do.

    So I’d love to see if there are ways of marketing that won’t leave me so discouraged about the work I’ll have to do. I’ve been thinking of doing a web site and probably will, but that’s passive marketing. After all, I have to get people to the we site, don’t I? There must be some marketing techniques which won’t feel like a violation of my time and personality. I’d love to find out what those techniques are and start in on them before I start sending out my manuscript. The more marketing I do in advance, the easier it will be to sell the book. I know that, but I wish all I had to do was write the book.

  52. 52 Rosemary Lombard September 22, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Writer? Author? Those terms are used so inconsistently it’s hard to know which to apply– maybe both. I’ve published little stuff, some paid, wrote a more technical review of my research, and am working on a general audience nonfiction book.

    Self-promotion seems so arrogant, but I’m finally conquering my natural shyness. I learned to play the game at a professionals’ job club when my employer left the state.

    For the book platform this harder edge (joining, volunteering, asking, presenting) is beginning to pay off, leading to a few public presentations, an agent, photographs, and a sequel by somebody else about the research. Beyond that, I know some of what I need to do– professional articles, popular articles, blog, website, social marketing, U-Tube. There’s a full-time job in itself! How discouraging! (But don’t you want to see the videos on U-Tube of a pancake tortoise calmly riding a Roomba and a box turtle drawing a picture with her beak on a vertical surface?) See, I can advertise! The most puzzling thing is the timing—-how to talk about the book’s contents before it’s out. A reader has to follow the book step by step to understand the animals’ accomplishments.

  1. 1 WMBTSG Day 22: And the winners are… « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on September 23, 2008 at 8:48 am
  2. 2 WMBTSG: Thanks to our week four sponsors! « The Writer Mama Riffs Trackback on October 7, 2008 at 12:04 am
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