Saturday, July 18, 2015

All Write Now! Conference Notes: Janet L. Cannon on "Building Your Writer's Platform"



When I first heard that the opening group session at the All Write Now! Conference at SEMO was "Building Your Writers' Platform," I thought, Oh, no. not that again.
 
It's not that I don't care about my writer's platform, I really do. It's just that I've read about that same topic and have heard speakers talk about it several times over the past few years. 
 
But, I'm happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. 
 

Whoever said "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," was wrong because I learned a few new tricks, courtesy of technology teacher, Janet L. Cannon, who gave an enthusiastic presentation, supplemented by questions and comments from the audience. 

Here are some suggestions which bear repeating:
 

* Know your audience

* Expand your public platform -- participate in social media, present workshops, win contests, join clubs, attend conferences/workshops, meet agents/editors/publishers and other writers

 * Expand your circles of interest (e.g., gym, church, volunteer activities)

 * Put your writer’s signature on your e-mails (Note to self: Do this!)

 *Make a plan (short-term, mid-range, long-term)

 * It’s okay to fail; if one way doesn’t work, try something else

 * Have a Plan “B”

 * Post questions and engaging content

 * Respond in a timely manner

 * Publish a small collection of your work

 * Focus, but not on sales; overselling turns people off

 * Use photos and videos in your posts

 * Have color wheels or call-to-action buttons (orange is a stimulating color--I didn't know that!)

 * Build relationships; have a circle of writers and friends (I love that the emphasis was on building relationships and not on "networking")

 * Don’t pay for followers (but it's okay to give away free stuff, like books or samples of your work)

 * Use #Hashtags to increase searchability (but your post has to be public, and don’t use too many #hashtags)

* It's all right to mix professional and personal information on your blog or website because your readers want to get to know you

* Show your personality

 * Your attitude determines your success

 * Always be professional, even if others are not (this was repeated three times)

How about you? Any words of wisdom to pass along about building your writer's platform?

15 comments:

  1. I think using photos and videos are eye catchers, and they always make me pause and scan. Great tips from Janet. Thanks Donna for the recap.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Linda,
      I try to use photos when I can work through the technology. ;-)

      Delete
  2. I have no words of wisdom, but I concur that this was a captivating presentation. As was yours! Well done.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Val. It was great to see you and Pony there, and congratulations on both of you winning writing awards.

      Delete
  3. I don't need a platform at this time but lots of good info here if I ever do. Interesting she warns against overselling...I find this happening a good deal, and I agree it is turn off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Claudia,
      So true! Writers who continually push their books are annoying.

      Delete
  4. This is great for people like me, who wander through social media like Gretel in the Black Forest.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Tammy,
      Well put!
      I'm with you on social media; I get lost.

      Delete
  5. I guess I'm more concerned right now with making myself write than worrying about a platform. Guess I need to add "become proficient at multi-tasking" to my list.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pat,
      Like you, I need to become proficient at multi-tasking.

      Delete
  6. And "stop overusing the word, 'guess' " is next.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

    ReplyDelete
  7. Really good tips/reminders! I really like the concept of it not being so much about selling as it is about building relationships. I do have an email signature which has two links, one to my blog and one to my story collection on Amazon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Madeline,
      Glad you enjoyed Janet's tips and reminders.
      You are ahead of me in social media.

      Delete
  8. Another great post, Donna, with such good information. I think that a writer's platform is very important, and I know I have a long way to go on that, but to me, the writing should always come first. I've read several articles recently by agents who say that yes, they consider platforms, but the very first thing they look at is the work. I'm trying to remember that and not feel so frenetic over everything I'm not getting done :) Again, thanks so much for posting this. I always so appreciate the fantastic information I find here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Great information, Donna. Thanks for sharing. One of the biggies, I think, is that while social media is great for "getting the word out," she is absolutely right about the overselling. No one wants to be the recipient of that. Still, so many authors do it!

    ReplyDelete