Tag Archives: village books

Now This is How You Do Platform

These days, becoming a published non-fiction author is all about platform. Your platform includes all of the activities you do that give you access to your intended audience, such as public speaking engagements, blogs, and media attention. A good platform also increases your credibility as a future author. Christina Katz’ helpful book, Get Known Before the Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform has a wide range of suggestions on how and where to invest your effort and build your own author platform.

I’ve expanded my platform recently by publishing articles in regional parenting publications, developing a writer’s workshop that I’ll present this summer, and blogging here and at Easy to Love But Hard to Raise.

I recently met an author and film maker with a platform worthy of my envy. Chris Morgan is a scientist, conservationist, and founder of Wildlife Media, a company dedicated to creating natural world films to fund conservation. I attended Chris’ reading and book signing for his new book, Bears of the Last Frontier: The Adventure of a Lifetime among Alaska’s Black, Grizzly, and Polar Bears, at Village Books in Bellingham. The book is breathtaking with pictures and journal entries about his close contact with a variety of bears. During his presentation I was delighted to discover that Chris’ three-part film series, Beartrek: Bears of the Last Frontier, on PBS’s long-time staple, Nature, began this past Sunday night. I’ve programmed my DVR to catch his up close interaction with many bears within their own habitat. Even if you missed the first episode, I’m sure you’ll still be able to appreciate the next two in the series. Chris is also working on another film due out next year.

I’m used to reading about New York and L.A. authors made famous on Oprah or morning television with amazing, diverse platforms that reach a national audience. I think to myself, I can have a solid, respectable platform, but I’ll probably never attain that kind of attention. Chris is the first author with an astonishing platform who also happens to live in my little town. Here in Bellingham, Chris is also working with Conservation Northwest on the North Cascades Grizzly Bear Outreach Project. He has a convenient web site that lists his entire platform in one convenient place. He’s got a blog, a twitter following, a company called Insight Wildlife Management to help others manage their bears, and an eco-tourism company that takes regular schmo’s like me into the wilderness to see bears up close.

On paper, I’d expect Chris to be completely exhausted. I’m worn out just looking at all that he’s able to accomplish. But he’s also inspiring me to continue to expand my platform. When I get the chance to interview him for a future article, one of my first questions will be, “How are you able to juggle such a diverse array of projects in addition to spending time with your family?” Chris also has a son. He has certainly earned my admiration and respect and I can’t wait to see what he’ll do next.

Year End Inventory

One of my writing mentors, Christina Katz suggests cataloging your accomplishments before setting goals for the new year. Give this a try before setting your New Year’s Resolutions.

Here are my writing-related accomplishments during 2010:

  • I published 10 articles in local and regional publications
  • I have 12 articles already written that can be circulated as reprints and published elsewhere
  • I took two classes: Writing & Publihing the Short Stuff and the Dream Team
  • I completed edits for a personal essay, Finding My Way, that will be published in the anthology, Bless Your Heart, due out in Fall 2011
  • I wrote ~70,000 words of my memoir, and polished about 10,000 more
  • I blogged at least 3 times a month right here on my own blog all year long and converted my old blog to WordPress (highly recommend it)
  • I joined my county writers and publishers group, Whatcom Writers and Publishers, and attended two meetings
  • I joined a critique group and connected with at least 4 other writers in my town. Some of them are in my blog roll to the right.
  • I opened a separate bank account to hold earnings from writing
  • I started telling people that I’m a writer when they ask what I do
  • I narrowed down the kind of writing I’d like to do in the future to two niches: assisted reproduction and environmental conservation & toxicology

I’m sure there are a couple that I missed but that feels like a lot of success for one year.

Looking ahead, I came up with these goals for 2011. Please let me know if you would like to help me acheive any of these aspirations.

  • Publish more than ten articles this year, hopefully at least one will be in a national publication
  • Finish the draft of my memoir and revise it until I am satisfied, and then submit my proposal to at least 10 more agents
  • Earn some money writing this year
  • Increase my blog readership, and explore blogging strategies, such as guest blogging
  • Consider taking a personal essay class and/or a class on platform development
  • Start publishing small stuff in my newer niche: environmental conservation & toxicology
  • Attend two conferences this year, Pacific Northwest Writers Association meeting and Chuckanut Writer’s Conference
  • Meet and get to know the owners of my local book store, Chuck and Dee Robinson at Village Books
  • Publish a personal essay or short story in an anthology—I’ll check out Chicken Soup for the Soul, Cup of Comfort through Adams Media, and Seal Press

I hope that your year has been as productive and rewarding as mine and that you will achieve any goal you attack in 2011.

Happy Holidays!

Lorraine Wilde