Our Mission Statement:

The mission of Pens & Pages Writers Guild is to facilitate and encourage writers of all genres, to share resources and tips about the writing process and, most of all, to provide a positive and productive forum that will encourage and support each writer in his or her creative endeavors.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Thoughts on Platform from the PPW Conference

Well, I wasn't able to make it to the last PPW meeting, and who knows about the next, so I'll write a blog about some of the thoughts I had on the conference, before they are driven out of my head by too much potty talk (yes, we are potty training here, and I am mildly appalled by the amount of time that I spend discussing bodily functions every day).

This year, as last year, one of the main messages I got out of the conference was that publishers, even the big name publishing houses, expect writers to spend a good deal of their own time and money promoting their own books.

Part of your ability to sell books depends on what is called your "platform". Your platform is basically the pre-existing audience for your books, and/or the things about you that would make people want to buy your book. For example, a person who is a medical doctor has a better platform for a book on health than I do. A famous child psychologist with a national column has a better platform for a book on discipline than an equally experienced child psychologist with no column, because the psychologist with a column has a pre-existing group of readers who are likely to buy her book.

Platform doesn't necessarily depend on professional credtials, however. Platform depends in part on what you are an expert on. If you are a mother of five, that can be compelling experience to sell a book on dealing with sibling rivalry. Your hobby can make you an expert. Mark Williams, one of the speakers at the conference, has several books on fly fishing published. His passion for fly fishing and finding the best spots to fish made him an expert in that area.

Having several shorter articles published also helps build platform when trying to sell longer pieces or a book manuscript.

Web presence can be a part of platform. I personally follow two blogs by writers. One of them has a novel forthcoming that I will buy the instant it hits Amazon. The other has a book I may or may not buy, but will definitely look for in the library.

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