Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Platform for Us Pre-Pub Folks by Kathy Halsey

Recently there was a brilliant guest post by Tara Lazar on Alayne Kay Christian's blog  entitled "You Are Your Platform." So many of us worry about issues such as: 
Where we are online?
How many followers do we have?
Are we "linked in" to as many possible places as agents/editors want us to be?
Tara Lazar is correct. We can not be everywhere and part of our platform is us. And, if we were everywhere, when would we write? So let's all take a deep, cleansing yoga breath and look inward.
 I decided not to wait until I was published to be my own platform. I am making parts of the published writer's dream possible for myself through volunteering. I see it as an internship until a contract is signed. I inventoried my passions and skills. That is where my energy and time goes.
My Inventory:
1. Book lover/indie bookstore lover - I contacted Changing Hands' owner Gayle Shanks and volunteered to do book talks. Her sister, Vicki, had the same idea and voila- the Grandma's Club was born! Benefits for  my platform? Public speaking, connections with bookstore, 20% off books, contact w/my soon-to-be readers- parents. grandparents, kids. Oh, and Vicki and I have been on the local news for a feature spot on our club. Our own kid lit tv time!

2. Former English teacher/librarian - Malcolm Gladwell indicated in THE OUTLIERS we need 10,000 hours to become experts. My career helped me log lots of hours reading mentor texts. I love kids of all ages, so I volunteer at my local elementary with the reading interventionist. Benefits? Picking up kid lingo, seeing current trends in the school library, and connecting with staff so when my book comes out, I may have an author visit lined up.
3. Educator with a new subject- I know a ton more about writing and the process after two years. A middle school English teacher invited me to present to her Young Authors' Club. We discussed craft, business and I had them write an elevator speech for a current WIP. Benefits? My first author visit with feedback and roses! I am reworking my presentation for the next visit now.

I am lucky to get all this experience BEFORE I hit the "big time." Create who you want to be NOW and it will happen. I challenge all of you to do a skills inventory and weave it into your writing career! Share it here in the comments and let's cheer each other on towards a publishing.



17 comments:

  1. Luv your already out there, platform Kathy & the internship label idea.
    They are each so lucky to have you volunteering.
    And you enjoy such a boost from each event.

    Brava!

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  2. Ummm, don't be tought you u-self - you are good!
    My calendar here on paper said Nov. 12, so that's what I am happy with.
    The day that you read in the blogger queue was the day I created it. :)

    j a n

    @BkSeedStudio
    Bookseedstudioi

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  3. Wow! You already have it happening! I commend you on taking it by the horns and making it work. I really like the opportunities you've created. I do worry a bit about the whole platform thing. I know I 'should' have a domain name, flashy/slick website, etc. But I went simple and free. I started yet another blog using the free Blogger. I adapted it to actually be a pretty robust author site. I also looked at what I do everyday: I am a librarian/tech guru. That is a pretty big 'platform' too. Yesterday I taught a professional development class for my district in which I publicly announced that I am officially a writer. That took some guts for me to say, but I do feel like folks heard me a little differently when I said that. Anyway, Great Job Kathy! You are an inspiration for us all!

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    1. Yes, Todd, your platform is a great one to launch from. i forgot to even ask how the workshop went. Glad to here you say it to the lay audience, You, TB, are a writer!"

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  4. Your hard work and getting yourself out there will come in handy. And, I can tell tha you love what you are doing.

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  5. HI Kathy: I consider becoming a published author as a journey that evolves over time by learning and growing. It is so important to think about time managment, finding a balance to promote your writing and most importantly, make the time to write. My suggestions are: Be professional and friendly. As you suggested introduce yourself to the owner of independent bookstores. Introduce yourself to librarians at a public library and a school library. Spend time volunteering and reading as you encourage the love of literacy. Consider using social media, including, Facebook, Twitter, Wordpress or Blog, Pinterest, and Google + posts and hangouts. Update your signature line on your email address. Trust and believe and enjoy the journey as you read, write and create every day. ~Suzy

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    1. Trust and believe and enjoy, most days I do, Garden Girl!

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  6. You're a great example, being proactive and getting yourself out there! Thanks for sharing, Kathy!

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  7. Impressive, Kathy! I did something similar--volunteering at my kids' school, chairing the Love of Reading Week committee, organizing author visits, volunteering in the school library, and working one-on-one with below grade-level readers. It's so much fun interacting with the kids and it's great to make connections at local schools. I did "practice" author visits with my F&G copies of Backhoe Joe, so when the book launched, I already had some experience reading it to kids of different ages. Great post & I look forward to celebrating your first PB contract soon! And looking forward to meeting you at the SCBWI-AZ event this Saturday :)

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    1. Lori, TY for responding to this. Glad to know I am going in the correct direction and am following your lead.

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  8. You are so right, Kathy. We need to concentrate on our writing, but you are using your time wisely in your visits and book clubs. Good ideas!

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  9. Your skills inventory is a great way to focus, Kathy! It's overwhelming sometimes to think about all that platform building. Your choices are not only great for your writing, but also a gift to those you are guiding and helping. Well done.

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    1. Patricia, you are always so supportive. Hugs.

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  10. Not only are you being proactive about building your platform, but you are putting your skills to good use NOW. Great ideas!

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