We hear that word a lot these day—Platform. I confess, I used to cringe away from it. The whole concept seemed so overwhelming. Where did one begin?
In February, my first nonfiction book, Winning Him Without Words, released. In July 2012 my first novel, The Soul Saver, will release and is a fiction counter part to Winning Him.
All of this began with a blog and the simple purpose of helping others. That was the “heart” side of it. The practical side slowly came into view as our online presence grew. This dramatically shifted my writing focus. I needed tools to maximize our platform and keep it growing!
Thus, the last two years I focused my conference pursuits to the area of marketing. With the sessions offered at the last two ACFW conferences, I’ve found ways to make that seemingly overwhelming task of building a platform doable and even enjoyable.
And not just from the workshops, but also from talking to other authors and gleaning from their experience as well.
This is truly one of the strengths of the ACFW Conference is the diversity of knowledge and skill levels. Here are some suggestions of when and what to tap into:
1. Are you just starting to think about building your platform? Now’s the time to be a sponge. Absorb as much as you can from workshops focused on marketing and branding. Talk to other authors and ask where they started. This is where you want to figure out what your market, niche and identity are. Where can you fit in and what need can you fill?
2. Already know what and whom you’re writing for? Focus on sessions and workshops that give you concrete tools and direction. Talk to authors who have a presence established and ask them, “What’s working the best? What’s not working at all?” Collect as much information as you can with the goal of examining and assessing after you go home. There are a lot of choices out there, so it’s not really about finding the right way but about finding the way that will work best for you. Be discerning. No one can do it all.
3. Have a growing platform but want to consider new avenues? Here’s where the fun can really start. Make those connections with other authors who share similar goals and topics or genres, and find out how you can help each other. Share concepts and brainstorm possible ideas of working together as small teams to cross promote each other. These are great opportunities to reach more readers and build your presence in more areas.
Before the conference, assess where you’re at and determine what you need most. Then go with that need in mind and stay alert to opportunities to talk to other professionals in the industry. No matter what level you’re at, you’ll find a multitude of resources right at your disposal. And there’s just something fun and stimulating about sharing ideas with others on the same journey.