Monday, October 8, 2012

Lorena Knapp: Building Your Platform as a Writer

It's Alaska Book Week, during which we create a collective platform for Alaska's authors. But what about the other 51 weeks in the year, and your individual author platform? Read on!

Unless you've been systematically ignoring the evolution of the publishing industry, you've probably heard about the need to build a platform as a writer. Rachelle Gardner, literary agent, says:

"You need a platform if you want to sell books, period. You need something, whether you’re going to traditionally publish or self publish."
The Importance of Having an Online Presence
As much as we wish we could spend all of our time writing and have agents and publishers knocking on our doors begging to let them publish our masterpieces, we can't ignore the business of writing. Are you pretending an online presence doesn't matter? Or that you'll get to it "someday?"

Your book sales if you ignore the importance of an author platform.
Photo Credit: Flikr
Sure we’d all love to just let our writing stand on it’s own. But if no one can find it, no one will read it. As much as I love to write, it isn’t just for me. I want to share it. I want to develop a connection with my readers. 
This isn't going to work anymore
Photo Credit: Flikr
I've even heard stories of writers being asked when an agent is considering representation: How big is your email list? How many subscribers do you have? I’d like to answer that question with a specific number rather than an excuse and promise to get started.

With the changes in the publishing industry, more and more responsibility has fallen on our shoulders to promote our writing. This is where your platform matters.

Photo Credit: Flikr
But what exactly is a platform? How do we build one?
About a year ago I decided to take on the project of building my own platform as a writer. I’ve created a blog (and a subscriber list!) and have a following on Facebook and Twitter. Though I’m no expert, I’ve learned some important lessons, tips and tricks along the way that will save you time and effort. I’ll be sharing these in my upcoming class Building your Platform as a Writer. It will be held in Anchorage, October 27 from 9am-noon.

We will look at:
  1. What exactly is a “platform” and how do you build one?
  2. How do you find a focus for a blog and create a “tribe” of followers.
  3. How can you use Twitter and Facebook to build relationships and create a community of readers?
  4. And most importantly, how can you spend time building your platform and still have time to write?
You don’t need to be a technical genius to build a platform, just a willingness to learn. I’m looking forward to having you join me. Click here to register.

Lorena Knapp is a medivac helicopter pilot. She uses her time between flights to write and build her platform. Prior to flying she was a public school teacher in the Anchorage School District. She’s been published in Alaska Magazine and blogs at BigStateBigLife.com.


2 comments:

Twylla Alexander said...

I live in New York and unable to attend your workshop on Building Your Platform; however, it sounds very interesting, and I'd like to know more. Is it possible that you have a synopsis, something I could read from afar? If so, I'd appreciate any information you could send my way. Thanks! I enjoy your blog, also.

Lorena Knapp said...

Twylla, thank for commenting. I will be posting the handouts on my blog. I'll share the link here once I upload them. Glad you're enjoying the blog! :)