Thursday, September 30, 2010

Building a Platform for Your Writing Career

Song of the Day: Billionaire by Travis McCoy feat. Bruno Mars

    Hello all! I usually post about Literary Magazines today, but I think I'll move it to tomorrow because I was inspired by a recent blog post on the Writer's Digest website. Today's post is inspired by Jane Friedman's post, Fiction Writers Need Platforms, Too. It's about how fiction writers should be building platforms for their writing careers. Friedman says,

    "what separates successful writers from NOT-successful writers (no matter what the genre), is platform, or visibility to a readership. If a novelist is unable or unwilling to develop a platform for his writing career, he will find that his books don't sell and the publishers lose interest fast. A novelist should never rely on the publisher to make his book sell."
     I couldn't agree with this more. The more you promote your name as a writer, the better off you are. People will know who you are, and will be more inclined to pick up your material. Friedman lists ways that writers should start targeting their audience to develop their platform. According to Friedman, "these are all discussed in the book, Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz, which has a special chapter on fiction-writing platforms."

The following approaches are from Jane Friedman's Post:

Look at how and where you write. How have you developed your fiction-writing chops? Through critique groups? Online workshops? Creative writing programs? Lounging at Starbucks? Whatever writing community you participate in, that leads to a part of your platform. For example, if you are a graduate of an MFA program, that makes you part of the MFA community, and gives you a way to build visibility with that community. If you are an expert critiquer in online workshop settings, and word spreads about you, then you're building a platform. Think about your interactions with other writers and how you network. These can provide the seeds."

"Community/regional presence. Also think about your interactions within your community or region, which may or may not be connected to writing. Can you establish programs relating to reading, writing, or the themes in your work?"
"Special relationships. Maybe you were mentored or coached by a notable writer or someone in the community. Or you have connections with people in the media (whether family or friends or colleagues), or with other influencers and tastemakers. Who do you think will be willing to help you? And how can you offer something in return?"

"Look to your work. What themes, topics, or things are explored in your work? It's likely you will return to the same themes or topics throughout your writing career. Becoming known as someone who explores certain themes or topics in life can make you interesting and visible to particular audiences. And that's what platform-building is all about: Knowing what audiences will be most interested in your work, and always thinking about how you can be more visible to them, and reach out to them in meaningful."

I've also added some of my own thoughts. I think social media is a huge part of building platform.

Twitter: I know it's crazy, but it's true. I was definitely the leader of the anti-twitter revolution, until my friends Pam and Marquita encouraged me to stop fighting that war. They told me that it's great for writing careers. You can follow author and other writers, publishers, agents, etc. It helps you make connections and stay on the "up and up" with information in the literary world.

Blogging: Not only do I love blogging, but it also helps me get connected with other writers. In addition to that, it's a learning experience. There are some great blogs out there with information on techniques and resources for writers.

Here is the link to Jane Friedman's Post:

What about you? Are you starting to build platform for your writing career? In what ways?


  1. Yay! We're glad we crossed you over to the "Twitter" side. :)Great info as always, btw.

  2. Really cool info :) And platforms are uber important for ALL writers-so glad that you brought this fact to writer's attention.