I recently attended a writing conference and thought I’d share a few things that I learned with you.
The speaker Curt Iles, talked about “Building your Platform.” He made a good point that the number one thing you should do before you even begin building your platform is to search inside yourself for the real reasons you are writing or whatever it is you are focusing on, in the first place. For instance, I am writing for children because I love little kids. My goal is to give them a chance to laugh, dream, and use their imagination and that’s what I want to bring in to their lives. So my platform should be ways in which I can reach children, their parents, or wherever children may be.
Once you know what your goal is, you can begin building that platform because that platform is what determines how far and wide your ripple effect will go. Do you have online presence? If so, what type of audience are you focusing on? Is it made up of just other writers in your field or do you have a presence in other types of audiences such as mothers, readers, gardeners, music lovers or whatever type of audience you are trying to reach?
Does your platform include speaking engagements? If so, have you included Civic Clubs such as Rotary Clubs in your plan? Or even Senior Adult Groups? Those types of groups are always in need of different ideas and speakers for their meetings.
Curt emphasized that libraries are an author’s best friend. Get to know your librarian or someone in that library to build a relationship with. Find someone to be your champion.
He described writer’s as though we were in line at a Chinese buffet. We are hungry for everything so we pile our first plate with everything possible. Then we go back for seconds with only the things that were our favorite. When what we really should do is build your platform one bucket at a time. Do a lot of little things over and over until you find out what things work best for you.
Here are a few other good tips I learned:
1. In a picture book, you should have a maximum of 3 characters. I knew that you shouldn’t have an abundance of characters because the child will get confused, but I didn’t know there was a number.
2. If you are a member of SCBWI, by notating that on your return address for submissions, it may help your manuscript from getting thrown into the slush pile.
3. A good time to visit schools is either right before the leap test or right after.
Here are a couple of good resources the speakers gave us:
1. Fantastic book on Platforms is “Building Your Tribes: Tribes by Seth Godin
2. www.lifehacker.com – great site about technology uses
3. www.hootsuite.com – a site to help you hook all your social networking in one place
4. www.bobstaake.com/bookdummy.jpg - a good site to view a template of how a PB is set up.
Have you attended a writing workshop lately? Do you have one good tip you’d like to share with the rest of us?