Monday, May 3, 2010

The Dreaded "P" Word: Platform

The word platform connotes a certain mental image in my mind. And it’s not a pretty picture. I see a sweaty, burly carpenter covered in sawdust. He’s unshaven, rugged. His clothes are tattered and smelly and plaid and denim, and he’s intent to measure twice, cut once. He saws, hammers, builds. He toils many months in the blazing sun, pouring rain, heat, and cold. In the end, he inspects his work, makes adjustments, and gives final approval, then hands the masterpiece off to its new owner.

Seems like a lot of work for something the builder cannot keep.

As an aspiring author, I’ve been advised to build my platform. No, I don’t think agents and editors want me to build a deck. Although, that would provide a nice writing retreat on clear days, but no. The platform to which they refer consists of everything I’m doing right now to establish an audience who would someday read my book. Those might include the following:
• Regularly post blog entries.
• Guest post on other people’s blogs or participate in blog carnivals.
• Actively participate on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
• Do public speaking.
• Teach workshops or courses.
• Do radio and/or TV interviews.
• Network with others in the field.
• Attend writers’ conferences.
• Publish articles.
• Do whatever I can to establish readership and a fan base.

And, oh yeah, write that book while I’m at it.

It’s not a pretty picture. The efforts wear on me. I’m covered in Post-it notes, my glasses askew. My hair’s disheveled. I wear plaid. I am intent to measure twice, cut once, so my words are sharp and accurate. I write, I cut, I build, toiling months in my element. In the end, I will inspect my work, make adjustments, give approval, and hand it off to its new owner—the Reader.

See, my work is not something I can keep. The written word must go out. The stronger the platform, the more masterpieces get passed on.

3 comments:

Heidi Bylsma said...

I can so relate. In putting together a new book proposal, I wanted to have something I could legitimately say about a platform...goodness. It has been a lot of work. When I went to Mt. Hermon Christian Writer's Conference, I had the blessing of being taught by Laura Christianson of http://www.bloggingbistro.com for the entire week about using social media for building a platform. WOW! It was incredible and fun, but actually doing it is time consuming and hard! I can totally identify with what you have said here. Thanks for saying it so well. It feels better to know that I am not alone. :-)

Steadfast Ahoy! said...

Platform. Interesting. I guess that is what I am doing with my blog...building a platform. The book is a VERY LONG WAY OFF.

Jodi Whisenhunt said...

Heidi, you are definitely not alone! I'm jealous you got to attend Mt. Hermon. Someday... I will check out Laura Christianson's advice. Thanks for the link!

Rosemary, hold steadfast :)

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