I'm Building My Platform and Having Fun In the Process
Contributor
I have been working to build my platform for my first novel, Dakota Blues. It's mainstream fiction, about a middle-aged exec who, suddenly unemployed, takes her first real vacation in years, a camping trip with a 90-yr-old pal. While on the road she is forced to realize that she has been sleepwalking thru her entire life. At first I viewed platforming as kind of a pain, but then I read Get Known Before the Book Deal by Christina Katz. She said: if as a writer you seek to find reception for your ideas, to be heard, and to make money being heard, then a book is only one version of that. Right? Other activities such as speaking, blogging, freelancing, etc. also produce that outcome, and they support book sales. So what niche can you be happy with, that will feed your soul and your writing, and help build your customer base in an organic, ethical way? This idea changed my opinion about platforming, from "isn't it a damn shame I have to do all this publicity work myself?" to "It's a business. I'm a small business owner. The book is just one aspect of my business." My niche is about women who are in denial (because I used to be, I love this topic.) The reason I think I have something to say about it is that I spent my entire career in human resources, learning about and working with human behavior. I read about this topic constantly - what makes us tick? Why are humans motivated to do what they do, even if it harms them? And the subset of that is women who live in denial. Whether it's an abusive relationship or being paid less than men for the same work, whether it's painfully self-effacing behavior, or being abusive themselves - as Dr. Phil says, somewhere, there's a payoff. What's the payoff, and what is the price? This is what fascinates me, and I could stand behind a podium, write blogs, or author a whole novel about this topic, but I didn't realize it until I read Katz' book. I recommend it.

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