wood platformI’m thinking of Dad and his carpentry (Blog “Built to Last” May 18, 2015) and comparing it to a writer and her platform.

Blueprint: Who you are.

Foundation: Mission (What you are about? What are you accomplishing now? (3-5 years) What’s your Vision? (5-10, 20 years)

Building blocks for the platform are the personal and professional connections you have. What are the relationships and social media outlets that you use? Blogs, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram.

Tools for the building: Marketing materials and what you do with them. The varnish and paint that polish up your platform: business cards, postcards, brochures, bookmarks, give-aways, newsletters, flyers, press kit, web ads, podcast, You Tube, book trailer.

A dozen building blocks of a platform to choose from:

  • Your book(s) are certainly a part of your platform. Get blurbs, advance praise, testimonials, Amazon reviews, news reviews, Goodreads. See which groups connect to a local event, a business, a holiday. Write about the connection.
  • Website and/or blog with a large readership
  • E-newsletter and/or mailing list with a large number of subscribers/recipients. Organize your contacts. Keep cards online, contacts, a resource list. I confess I still use cross-referenced Rolodex files along with my email list and Mail Chimp. I just can’t switch over yet.
  • Learn social media basics. Take a course; hire someone.
  • An impressive social media presence on Twitter, Facebook. Join LinkedIn, Google + Join/launch a group. Add content material. Comment on other author sites, pages, profiles.
  • Strong past book sales. This seems to be a widely defined phrase.
  • Public speaking appearances. Book launch/tour in person or virtual. Same with blog tour; book events aka signings. Media appearances and interviews—in print, on the radio, TV, online.
  • Membership in organizations that support the successes of their members. My first experiences were with the Toastmasters International, the International Women’s Writing Guild, and the Write Group of Montclair NJ. These three served as models for what I look for and incorporate in writing and speaking groups. Research on and offline associations. Joining clubs, associations and groups with interests similar to your book can be very supportive. Create partnerships either in your writing, shared presentations, or marketing.
  • Write articles or a column for newsletters/organizations
  • Be a guest blogger
  • Widen your circle of influence—personal contacts (organizational, media, celebrity, relatives) can help you market at no/low cost to yourself. You can provide book blurbs, advance pr, bookings for each other.
  • Find a mentor; be a mentor.

What are the top five building blocks for your platform?

Next blog: Your Writer Platform and Relationships