Memoir PanelTake heed. A successful writer platform is about relationships. Writers need a connection with readers, their cheerleaders, key people, movers and shakers, other authors, bloggers. Who is your target audience? (Age, gender, geographical location, interests, where do they spend time online/offline?)

Disclose about yourself–personal likes, dislikes, or hobbies in your platform. Show how smart, funny, clever, droll you are.

Hmm, to show it you have to know it. This may require some time with yourself. I have some writing colleagues who protest, “Oh, just let me write. I can’t go out and speak, promote, or market.” Well, okay… yet they love it when someone loves their writing. It’s rabbit hole thinking if you want recognition but don’t put in an effort to get just a bit of it.

I spent years working with people who were depressed, in trouble, or unhappy. And they just couldn’t figure out why. Suggesting “You may have to take a look at yourself” provoked a physical shudder.

But I also spent time working with men, women, and teens who were relatively happy or okay. They still loved their kids or spouse or parents after decades of family life, but were overly self-effacing and sometimes downright critical and negative about themselves.

Ex.#1: Counselor: Wow, a national commendation for your career achievements from the state. That’s quite an honor.

Client: Yeah, well it’s really nothing.

Counselor: Come on, it’s Something!

Ex.#2: Me: Yipes! You got a silver medal in junior swimming! Fantastic!

Him: Yeah well, it’s not the gold.

This carried over into minimizing or not sharing about their writing work, book, or career accomplishments.

I think some platform avoidance or phobia has a perhaps a teensy bit to do with an old outdated idea of not tooting your own horn. Especially with women. Research shows men get more promotions and kudos more often because they do speak up. Let people know about the article, review, and book.

How you use your platform depends on your style. Some of us are extrovert. Some are introvert. Your style emerges from who you are, your personal integrity, your authenticity. The real you! That comes from knowing yourself and what you stand for. Then get up on that platform!

Take look at what you have done in life–family, raising kids, college, owning a home. There must be some financial savvy there. If you are 35, 45, 55, or older and in good health, there must be some awareness of nutrition or really super genes. If you are a college grad, post grad, have national certifications, licenses, or accreditations, you did something to get all that. Awards, appearances, achievements, testimonials. All of these are part of who you are.

So yeah, it is tooting your own horn a bit. Look underneath the tooting. That’s where the blueprint was made. What are your good qualities? Smarts, persistence, integrity, humor, thoughtfulness, loyalty, compassion, trustworthiness?

Please don’t assume no one cares about what’s going on in your writing life. Tell folks in person, in emails, in articles. Assume there are a million people out there like you, and start connecting with them. Write your mission statement about why you’re on fire about your topic. Post it. Reread it every time you get online, make a call, go out the door. Stay jazzed.

  • Get together. Let folks know when and where you are speaking, performing, teaching.
  • Write to your favorite authors, bloggers, leaders in your genre. Read their sites; make comments, connect through social media or send an email that says, “You are an inspiration.”
  • Start conversations. There are people who are jazzed about the same topics that you are. Find them on Google, Twitter, visit forums for five minutes a day. Do it in person too.
  • If have a blog, you know the mood swings that come from seeing comments or finding no comments. Leave comments on other sites. Ask questions on your blog or give feedback on other author blogs.

Share. I bet you have a lot going on right now. Share your ups and downs. People like people who aren’t perfect. Please leave a comment for me about your writing life.

Next Blog: A 15-Minute Plan to Lay Your Writer Platform Foundation