Building Author’s Platform in a Variety of Places

Sometimes building platform involves more subtle activities than those normally discussed. Typically, I tell my clients to blog, speak, find opportunities to guest blog, write articles for publications, e-zines and directories, and get involved with social networking. However, in your “spare time” you can get involved in a host of other activities that will help you build platform. Indeed, you may actually find these activities enjoyable and fulfilling—and you might already be doing some of them.

First of all, since you probably enjoy writing and spending time with other writers, you consider joining and getting involved in a writer’s club or group. The bigger the club the better. For example, I am a member of the South Bay Writers, the largest branch of the California Writer’s Club. I recently even ran for an office. This may not seem like platform building, but it is.

Because of my affiliation with this club, I managed to get my first speaking gig with the California Writer’s Club (my branch) and have since landed two more gigs with other branches, an opportunity to teach a workshop at the East of Eden Writer’s Conference and to teach one for my branch as well. Plus, I taught a small session at the Northern California Writer’s Club spring retreat and that has landed me the chance to teach a longer session in the fall. My speech was written up in the club’s newsletter, as was my run for office. All of this gets me known within the club and in other branches. Getting known might later get me readers, which means book buyers.

Think about what other clubs or organizations you can join. Maybe you already are a member of these clubs. You might consider getting more involved so more people will know who you are. For instance, if you are writing a book about parenting, are you a member of the local school’s parent teacher association? Have you volunteered for anything or run for an office? Get more involved and let people know who you are. Do you belong to any other parenting-related organizations, like Mother’s Against Drunk Driving? Our high school has a Home and School Club, which organizes many of the special programs and speakers for parents. You could become a member of a similar group at your school. These are great places to get your name out into the community.

Another way to build platform is through the chamber of commerce, professional groups and other organizations related to what you write. I belong to a Jewish renewal association—actually two, one local and one national. Get active on committees or on their list serves or yahoo groups. Many of these organizations have conferences; you can attend these or ask to become a presenter. I have attended and presented at the Jewish renewal conferences as a way to build platform for my Jewish spiritual books, and I have attended, volunteered and, most recently, also presented at the San Francisco Writer’s Conference as a way to build platform for my writing-related books.

So, look around. Get involved. You’ll have fun, meet people and build platform as you do.

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