Monday, November 8, 2010

Platforms ~ Last Notes with Agent Natalie Fischer

I've been thinking about my personal platform, lately.

NO, not those platforms; although, they are really funky and totally something I'd wear...NOT.

In reality, I have more than one. We all do.

I've already shared with you what I learned about Queries and First Chapters during my webinar with Natalie Fischer. Now I'd like to share with you what she mentioned about personal platforms.

Seeing how I'm such a geek, let's begin by exploring my Mom platform--my image, because that's really what we're talking about. How others perceive me.

~ What makes me the mom I am: characteristics, strengths, beliefs, weaknesses?
~ How do those make me different from someone else?
~ How can I tap into those to make me appealing to someone?
~ What am I bringing to the table?
~ Who am I interested in attracting? (You are those you surround yourself with.)

Replacing Mom with Writer, here are a few brief answers:

~ quirky imagination, drive/hard worker, multi-tasker, life's wisdom, organized, study the craft, creativity, scope of mind mapping
~ a healthy combo of openness, drive, & humility; easy to work with, passionate brainstormer
~ design an inviting website, blog, Facebook fan page, author page
~ freelance work, experience raising kids from birth through teen years, range of what I will write: YA, new Tween, MG, Picture Books,
~ wide-range of readers, teens, middle grade, adult

I could go on, as I'm sure you could too. But I'll stop there.

During my webinar, I asked Ms. Fischer about platforms, explaining that I write YA but also dabble in other areas--second most dear to my heart is MG. Due to time constraints, our discussion wasn't lengthy but it did deepen my insight into how an agent looks at a writer. It's almost like dating with the potential for marriage.

She mentioned: although having multiple areas of experience is wonderful, when first starting out a writer should focus on one area. Establish yourself in one genre--let's say published a few books in the YA paranormal. This way, the agent can help you create a fan base.

Then, take a risk and explore your other manuscripts in different genres or age groups. Most likely, your fans will follow.

At the time, I had half-written my MG series--REMEY and the FANTASTICAL TRINKET BOX--and was contemplating converting my current YA ms to 1st POV. Our discussion helped me make the decision to concentrate on my YA ms, get it out there and hopefully ignite enough interest to get me representation. I'm still exploring ways to move forward with Remey's story, but I'm not concentrating on it.

Any writing is great exercise. Period.

I'm also designing my website, so over the next few weeks don't be surprised if you see a few changes around here. Yeah, I'll probably change my mind a few times. Bare with me, please.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing with you what I learned at MuseCon about how to use Facebook, websites, and Twitter, to promote your platform.

What do you think? Have you explored your platform?

I'm over on Oasis for YA, today. I've come up with a quirky little list about writing schedules. See if you fit one.


  1. I've heard it's good to focus on one genre to start with. Mine is upper middle grade fantasy. I don't have a super platform yet because I don't have a blog. But I do try to be a good friend on the blogs I follow and try to be on Facebook some. For me, that's all I can handle for now, but I hope that I will have friends who follow me when I do start a blog. The important thing is to do what we can do at the time without causing ourselves to totally stress out.

  2. This was a great post! Great advice, I know as new writers we stress over what genre to write and whether or not we should bend to current trends. I like the idea of narrowing the focus and perfecting one thing in particular.

  3. Great post! And very timely seeing as it's something I've had to keep in mind over the past few weeks. I think many writer dabble in various areas. We're artists, it's expected. And I know too well how hard it is to choose what to focus on! But it has to be done, and it's so great you're getting some professional advice about it! :o)

  4. good stuff! I like how you changed the mom to writer--got me thinking!

  5. Awesome post! It's important to concentrate in one area. I'll have to do that once I get an agent but for now, especially with my short stories, I'll write different genres.

  6. I love how you talked about your mum platform, then applied it to writing. Great advice and tips - looking forward to learning more.

  7. Wow. This was a fantastic post, Sheri. Seriously. I am bookmarking it forever! :-)

  8. Great post! I've spent the past year blogging and have made strides in finding my voice. Hopefully, it will continue to grow and evolve along with my followers and my skills. ;)

  9. Sounds great!!! Awesome post. I love the mom to writer platform. <3

  10. Great post! I'm working on my platform, focusing on YA sci fi. It's great to hear this info from a great agent. Thanks for sharing!

  11. sounds like Natalie offered a lot of great insight on this. Building a platform is exactly that- I wouldn't say it's a fan base- just an area where I can express myself, make friends and connections and LEARN until I get a foot in the door. I think once you've got an agent or a book deal your platform changes. At least, that's the impression I get sometimes.

  12. Great platform, amazing post! Exactly what I needed to hear today, glad I stopped by before rushing into my revisions, gave me time to focus and think about my platform.

  13. I have--remember this was buggin me, too. I tend to stay in YA, but I've been playing w/one chick-lit, a historical, a SciFi, and even a saga. Just to see what I like most. So far I like them ALL!!! No help there... LOL~ :o) <3

  14. Great advice to stick with one area for a few published books and then it might be possible to branch out :)


  15. Great post. I was one of the people at Natalie's webinar also. Her advice made me think about my platform as well. :)

  16. This is a great post. It took me a long time to ask "what makes me stand out as a writer?" as opposed to, "how do I make my novel stand out?"
    Brilliant post.

  17. Hi Sheri,
    Yeah, platform is a big issue that seems to creep into the back of my mind like a giant parasite! I'm still working on it. Yet another change today on my blog banner and web banner. Hopefully this one sticks!

  18. Sheri!
    Yes, I've puzzled over/read about/conquered the writer's platform. JK about the "conquered" bit... You've probably already read Christina Katz's GET KNOWN BEFORE THE BOOK DEAL, but if you haven't, I highly recommend it. My focus for my blog is reviewing from a YA male POV. Most of the blogs I see are either adults (like librarians) or females. My problem: work, life, writing, etc. slow down my platform building. Plus, I live in the boondocks, so my networking is almost entirely internet built. Nothing wrong with that, but I don't just "friend" everyone I "meet." I check connections bc there's some fruitcakes & scammers out there on the interwebz, ya know? So I guess I'm at the platform point of "Slow & Steady Wins the Race."

  19. Excellent post, Sheri. Deciding on one's "brand" is important, especially to new writers. Keep the message clean and clear. One can always branch out later.


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