Sunday, 24 October 2021

T The Pro-Active Author

Platform Essentials: Time, Focus and Tools

Recently I taught at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference in Asheville, North Carolina with over 400 people live and over 100 attending virtually. It marked my first live event in over a year with this pandemic. I taught a continuing workshop about a publishing buzzword—platform. My continuing class was called What's a Platform and How do I Create one? While I work at my own platform every day (in many different ways), I do not often teach others about this important publishing topic. I will be giving much more detail during my workshop—and I would encourage you to attend in person (where you get the greatest value) or virtually (still valuable in many ways).

I've been thinking about some of the platform essentials and in this article I want to focus on three key elements: time, focus and tools.

Time

Everyone has the same amount of time  in each day. How are you using this limited resource? Do you waste it or do you make the most of it? Your awareness of how you are using this resource is important. Are you stuck in meetings or other things which require a lot of time? Continually evaluate and make adjustments to get the most mileage from each day. As I grow older, I'm keenly aware of the value of my time and the limited nature of it. Because of this awareness and my own personal bent and curiosity, I have created an intense schedule in my life. If I'm honest, the intensity of it is something I have made and filled my day with phone calls, emails, writing projects, and much more. 

Focus

Focus is another limited commodity. Do you have a big goal in mind such as write a book or sell a book? How are you focusing your time to gain more readers or entice people to learn about your book and then buy it? There are many different paths and possibilities in this process and much of your platform size will boil down to your focus. What proactive steps are you taking each week to grow your audience and build your email list? The world is full of shiny objects to take your attention off your focus and on to their product or video or article or book or ______.  Every writer (including me) needs to keep this goal and focus in mind as you go throughout your day.

Tools

I don't want to overwhelm you in this section but I use a number of tools every day. The key is to try these tools and use the ones which are effective for you. No one can be everywhere or do everything. You will have to make wise choices in this process and keep doing these things bit by bit. As I've written in the past, that's how you eat an elephant (one bite at a time).

One of my continued interest is communication and using different tools to become a more effective communicator. It has always been ironic to me that editors and agents are in the commuication business yet many of these people take a lengthy time to communicate. It's one of the ways I've been different in this business is to step up my own communication ability. While I can't control the speed of communication from others, I can control my own patterns—and I use a variety of tools in this proces. I encourage you to be aware of the different tools and use them effectively. Here's a few of the tools I use (some of them many times each day): Hootsuite (my main social media tool), my email list, mock up shots (a tool for creating various images), a variety of lead magnets or generators (follow this link to learn more details), various websites, websites, pop ups (I am not a huge fan but know they work so I used them), guest blog posts, comments on other blogs and many other things.

Here's some other wise details to consider in this process. No one can do everything. Every day you (and I) are making choices in this process—so make wise ones which will lead to your goals for your writing life. It's not easy or simple for any of us. Also keep working on building and maintaining your relationships with others (readers, editors, agents and other publishing professionals). Who you know is often as important as what you know. I encourage you to keep knocking on new doors and seeing what will open for your life and work.

These details are some of the platform essentials. I will be teaching in much more detail at the conference. I'd love to hear your comments below.


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Platform essentials boil down to three elements according to this prolific editor and author. Get the details here. (ClickToTweet)

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Columnist: Terry Whalin

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W. Terry Whalin, a writer and acquisitions editor lives in Colorado. A former  magazine editor and former literary agent, Terry is an acquisitions editor at Morgan James Publishing. He has written more than 60 nonfiction books including Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams. To help writers, he has created 12-lesson online course called Write A Book Proposal. His website is located at: www.terrywhalin.com.

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