"Platform, Product, and Promotion"
By Joy E. Held
PLATFORM, PRODUCT, AND PROMOTION. Write these three words on a slip of paper and tape them to your forehead. Okay, tape them somewhere around your writing space so they will always be on your mind. Why? Because we write to connect, and these three words should serve as your launching pad for everything you think, write, and do as a writer.
Platform is your message, the reason you write. Yes, even fiction writers have a purpose for writing their stories. Platform isn't only for non-fiction writers. It's all about connecting with readers, and platform provides a reliable jumping off point regardless of genre. It helps identify not only the story basis and background, but it helps writers find those specific readers who will most enjoy your story. For example, if you write sweet contemporary romance (which is your product, by the way,) you wouldn't search for readers, reviewers, or publishers whose main interest is paranormal urban fiction. Having platform guides you to like-minded souls who will appreciate and support your work.
Product is obviously the book(s) you write and publish. But product expands beyond just your books. It includes a website devoted to your product(s), a blog where you connect and conceive with your ideas on issues, and the opportunities you have to promote your writing such as presenting at writer's conferences or speaking to local groups, i.e., public speaking. And this ties you into the promotions aspect of the package.
Promotions are non-stop for writers and include regular "get the word out" efforts in your blog, speaking engagements, newsletters, direct snail mail campaigns, and bookmarks to name a few. The idea is to have a cohesive approach and appearance and you need platform, product, and promotion to be a writer in the fast paced world of contemporary publishing.
How do you start? With your writing, of course, but from there try writing out a one or two sentence statement about why you write what you write. This is your platform. Work diligently on your manuscript(s) and get a website and blog up and running or back in gear if you've already created them and let them slide. This is your product. Last, stay active in the world of writing and publishing by blogging on a regular schedule (whatever you can manage, anything is better than nothing,) attending writing events (at least one per year,) and spending whatever your tiny budget will allow on promotional materials such as business cards. This is your promotion.
For a website/blog, try blogger (this host) or wordpress.
For business cards and post cards try Vista Print.
Would love to hear your thoughts on platform, product, and promotion. If you can see around the piece of paper taped on your forehead, please tell me about the ideas you've tried.
Many thanks to the concepts of authors Bob Mayer, Jen Talty, and Kristen Lamb.
Be well, write well,
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity
Copyright 2012 Joy E. Held