What’s a platform anyway?

A few weeks ago I was a panel member at a writer’s conference workshop. The subject was building a platform. Today, I’d like to share a few points that we made at the workshop. But first, here’s my go-to person for all things writer-ly, Jane Friedman, who tells us what platforms are and are not: "What editors and agents typically mean by platform They’re looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience. Let’s break this down further. Visibility. Who knows you? Who is aware of your work? Where does your work regularly appear? How many people see it? How does it spread? Where does it spread? What communities are you a part of? Who do you influence? Where do you make waves? Authority. What’s your credibility? What are your credentials? (This is particularly important for nonfiction writers; it is less important for fiction writers, though it can play a role. Just take a look at any graduate of the Iowa MFA program.) Prov … [Read more...]

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Another rant – this must be my rant week

So I’m frustrated. I am in the running for a prize at the My Gutsy Story contest site. Up until yesterday another contender and I kept taking the lead back and forth, but now I’m seven votes behind. I’ve sent out two group emails, posted the contest info all over the place on Facebook, tweeted about it, other folks have tweeted about it, and just today created an event to ask people to over there to vote. And out of all that I have forty-five votes. I need seven right now just to tie the first place guy. And I would think that wouldn’t be so hard to do. Don’t people respond to requests like this anymore? Is this going to make me lose some of my FB friends and make me seem like a pest? It really isn’t pesty, I don’t think. Just a simple request: Click on a link, look on the right sidebar, find the Polling place, and click on my name. Should be a piece of cake. I can’t even get my family to do it. So now I’m at a loss as to how to draw folks in and to click where I’ve a … [Read more...]

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Outline a novel first or just go for it?

A recent discussion on LinkedIn in my Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors and Writing Professional group was about the question: Do you write with an outline or without one and just from your mind? The answers are all over the place, some for an outline, some against an outline and for the free-writing approach, and some for a little of both. I am of the outline-before-writing school of thought in most cases. When I worked on proposals in the aerospace business, the maxim was plan the writing before you write – that was to have a top level outline, annotate it with details and a graphics plan, get it approved, and then begin the writing. For my novel I did it a little less formally. In the first novel workshop I ever took, I learned these steps: write the first scene, write the last scene, and write a middle scene. Then write a list of scenes that go in between and start filling in the details of those scenes. Once all that is done, go back and fill more details: results of r … [Read more...]

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Birthday post mortem or how I’m moving forward

Just about a year ago – on Mother’s Day and near my last birthday – I achieved a huge goal. My memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, A Mother’s Memoir of Living with her Son’s Bipolar Disorder and Surviving His Suicide, was published. In it I tell the steps I took in living with the loss of my son. First and foremost I chose to live and take care of myself as a woman, wife, mother, writer. In hopes that my story will inspire others to find ways to survive their own tragic experiences, I’ve devoted most of this last year marketing my book. I have become increasingly more engaged in social networking, through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, I had a blog tour through Women on Writing (WOW), radio interviews, and many speaking and book signing engagements. I’ve also embarked on a whole new writing career – writing for the Huffington Post That’s Fit and Healthy Living columns, the Naturally Savvy website as its over sixty expert, PsychAlive, a website that focuses on suici … [Read more...]

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Go traditional or self-publish – good advice on LinkedIn

I started a discussion on LinkedIn in the Authors, Writers, Publishers, Editors, and Writing Professionals group asking: “If your publisher went out of business, did you look for another publisher or take the self-publishing route?” I got a lot of encouragement for trying to get another traditional publisher and a lot of good solid information about how to self-publish. I even had an offer from a self-publishing resource. Here are a few helpful comments that came back: Dottye: If you had one publisher interested in your book, your chances may be good another will - if you are considering self-publishing, Mark Levine wrote a great book on the top self-publishing companies to consider and those to avoid. Check out www.millcitypress.net for a 100% royalty free company. Lori: If you self-publish, whether you go electronic or not, you still need to be prepared to take care of the distribution and marketing yourself. Typically, folks with niche markets that dovetail with their bu … [Read more...]

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The Independent Author Network

I recently joined The Independent Authors Network and I think it is paying off already in turns of book sales and reach. I recommend it to my author friends out there who have stagnating sales rankings, and who don’t get a lot of marketing coverage. Now I think tweeting about my IAN involvement is a necessary part of my marketing work. Here are few bits of information about the network. But I suggest you click here to find out more and to determine whether it’s something you’d like to do. And if you decide to join, click here. In the words of The Independent Author Network: Q. What is The Independent Author Network? A. The Independent Author Network is a group of like minded authors who are self published or published by a small indie press. The group is open to authors who are active social networkers at sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc. The group works together to support and promote each other online. Q. How does I.A.N. work? A. Members are asked to T … [Read more...]

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Social network and novel work updates

Social Network Update I’ve now joined BranchOut and Pinterest – as if I needed more social network connections than I already have, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Goodreads. I really don’t know what BranchOut is all about and Pinterest is even more of a riddle. A recent pin on my Pinterest for the home board According to their websites: BranchOut makes it easy to search for jobs and see inside connections in your network. Our quick tour will help you discover BranchOut's powerful features. Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes. Best of all, you can browse pinboards created by other people. Browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests. I haven’t really worked with BranchOut yet because I haven’t been actively looking for a job – but of course one never knows. … [Read more...]

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Blatant bragging

This book is getting lots of kudos As of today my memoir has twenty-two reviews up on Amazon. Twenty are five-star, and even though they wrote terrific reviews, two people gave the book only four-stars. Really what’s up with that? But rather than complaining I’m just going to shout out Hip, Hip Hooray. I am just so thrilled with the response and with people’s reaction to the story and the writing in my book. Never in my wildest dreams did I think people would react so well to my words. A friend told me last night that she was just going to read my book to support me, and she found once she opened it she couldn’t put it down. She kept raving about it. Now I couldn’t ask for more than that. Plus, when I asked her to post a review, she posted almost immediately. That’s a true friend. I thank her so much. So, if you’re reading this and you’ve read my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, please post a review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and/or … [Read more...]

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Is my marketing program beginning to pay off?

So, it looks like there’s been a little movement in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On, Amazon sales ranking this week. It went down from as high as in the one millions to the 700,000s earlier this week, and back up to the one millions again and down to the 300,000s today. Does that mean two books have sold? I have no clue what those numbers mean. But hopefully all that has been going on in the last few weeks has spurred some sales: my talk at the American Association of University Women in mid November, Marla Miller (Marketing the Muse) highlighting my platform earlier this week and posting my July 19, 2010 blog piece about my journey to getting published yesterday, my showcase on The Hamilton Gallery with links to Amazon for book purchases, and another five-star review up on Amazon yesterday. It’s really been a yeasty time. Plus I’ve had more and more Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter connections, and I look forward to a piece about my work and book in a future issue of the Did … [Read more...]

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Midweek Work Progress Report

This week has been very productive. I’ve sent off my second piece for the PsychAlive website, and I got word from the editor that it’s ready to go live. The piece is called “Comforting Those Who Grieve.” I’m still awaiting word from my Savvy Over 60 editor about when my November piece for them will be up. I also started working on a piece for a new blog I’m interested in called, Heartache to Healing, founded by grief coach, author, and speaker, JoAnne Funch. Hopefully, the piece will be good enough that I’ll be allowed to contribute there once in a while as well. And I started working on my speech that I’m scheduled to make on November 19 for our local chapter of the American Association of University Women. It was suggested I talk about the mental health and suicide prevention services available in our area. I’ll do that and expand the speech to tell my story of healing after my son’s suicide that I describe in my memoir, Leaving the Hall Light On. And surprise, surprise, I … [Read more...]

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If you Like me, what’s the point?

My memoir book cover photo by Madison Poulter There is a thread going on, on LinkedIn that goes like this: I’ll like your fan page and Amazon book page if you like mine. So I’ve been responding to a lot of those requests, and now I'm up over twenty-five new likes in just the last week. But, I wonder what’s the point? Do these new likes translate into book sales? So far, I don’t think so. A few people that I've met through my social networks have said my book is on their list, but I haven’t seen a bump in my Amazon rankings as a result. So with all this social media networking – over 900 Facebook friends, over 400 Facebook fans, almost 250 LinkedIn connections, and a constantly growing list of Twitter followers, I wonder where it is all getting me. And I find that keeping up all the connections is a lot of work. Okay, I won’t be so down about it all. I’m only into this marketing game about six months. I’ve got to give it more time. Plus the fact that my book is a hard sell – li … [Read more...]

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