“If you want to be a nonfiction author, you’ve GOT to work on building your platform?”
I perked up when I heard the word “platform” mentioned for the umpteenth time at my first writing conference.
Building my what? I didn’t expect this advice at a “Christian” writing conference. In fact, I didn’t even know what the workshop leader meant by “platform.”
Hands popped up all over the conference room, asking questions about “building a platform.”
“Can you give us more information? Another frenzied writer whined.
A few seats down from me, an older lady with a wrinkled brow mumbled, “Yeah, what does she mean by ‘platform’?”
“I didn’t think ‘Christian’ writers should focus on building a platform,” someone whispered. “Is that even scriptural?”
The murmurings continued …
I felt my blood pressure rise as I listened to all of the questions and observed the body language of the writers all around me.
I shook my head in disbelief as I considered all that I had done to prepare for this moment, particularly the last five years of writing courses. Is she saying that I need to study marketing now? Oh, great!
A few days later, I abandoned my first writing conference early for a family crisis. So, I didn’t get a chance to hear more about platform building.
Overwhelmed, my thoughts about building a platform and my mother’s untimely death left me dazed and confused. Should I even go forward with “writing for publication” right now?
One workshop leader warned us against “quitting your day job.” But I had just turned down the offer to teach writing again that semester. I needed to help with our on-going family crises, and I wanted to pursue writing for publication.
After the conference, if someone even mentioned the word platform, I would voice my favorite quote from Gone with the Wind, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow” (Scarlett O’Hara).
I did start following Michael Hyatt’s blog on the advice of another writer. At that time, he served as CEO for Thomas Nelson Publishing; so, I welcomed his expertise. Plus, I heard other writers talking about him being an expert on “platform building.”
When Michael Hyatt published his book, Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, a few years later, I ordered a copy, hoping to improve my own “platform.” And I recommended it to writers seeking help in that area.
Yet I sill struggled with all the details of platform building—blogging, social networking, speaking, and writing. With all of my other responsibilities, commitments, and family crises, I knew that I needed to stay up-to-date with publishing info to get published.
I JUST SIGNED MY FIRST BOOK CONTRACT!
Now, I look forward to staying connected with Platform University, as I anticipate my first book launch!
What resources have helped you fulfill your dreams?