I am so excited to introduce you to Donna McDine, my bloggy friend and "go-to" person for all things marketing. Donna has been extremely helpful to me in my quest for a "platform." As a new writer, the whole "platform" thing is very intimidating. My book is not even published yet and already I am finding that I need to market it....HOW?? Fortunately, through some stroke of super good luck, I found Donna. If you don't know her, Donna (who is MUCH too modest to toot her own horn) is an award-winning author of several books with Guardian Angel Publishing, the editor of Guardian Angel Kids and the mastermind of Author PR Services her marketing/pr company. Donna knows public relations. She recently agreed to guest blog and let us in on all her marketing secrets.
Building Your Platform: Tips for Marketing Yourself
By Donna M. McDine
As freelance writers and marketers we all know the benefits of having our own blog to interact with others. Topics can vary from your own freelance writing career, hosting fellow writers and others from the publishing industry, to your writing muse. How to broaden your outreach beyond your blog is imperative in marketing yourself well before your first publishing credit, for magazine, book, or both.
Whether you are an aspiring writer or an established author I am sure you have heard the phrase “build your platform.” Early on in my writing career when I heard this phrase I envisioned someone standing on a train station platform or the 1920’s newspaper boy standing on a soapbox announcing the latest newspaper edition. You may be thinking at this point, “I’m not an expert, why would someone listen to me?” I implore you to put your negative thoughts aside. We all have something valuable to share through thoughtful words of support, our time, and sharing our personal experience as to what has worked for you and what hasn’t. You will be surprised how quickly you can develop relationships in-person and in cyberspace by engaging with others on a specific topic and taking the time to listen to them. A true give and take experience makes it positive for all involved.
Developing, maintaining, and growing your platform does not need to be expensive or consist of monumental daily tasks. Take baby steps each and every day and you will be delighted how each effort turns into a positive impact. I’d like to focus today on five tips that have worked for me in developing my outreach and creating my platform…
1. Guest Blogging: An example of guest blogging is
’s offer to host me today. Reach out to
your network or search for guest blogger opportunities and pitch a topic to the
blog host. Be sure your topic is within the realm of their blog focus. Sharon
2. Discussion Forums: Search online for discussion forums through Yahoo Groups and LinkedIn for your topic of interest and request to join the group. Take the time to visit at least one to two times per week to join in on the current discussion or post your own topic you would like to chat about. Again, it is important to stay on topic of the particular group.
3. Guest Reader: Approach your local library and elementary schools and offer to volunteer as guest reader for FREE. This effort shows you have interest in your community well before your book is published. The valuable connections you make will help you get your foot in the door later for Author Visits. It also invokes that your efforts are not all about you, but how you can give back to your community. Believe me, people will remember this!
4. Writer’s Conferences and Workshops: Attend both in-person and online writer’s conferences and workshops to help broaden your network and hone your writing skills. Have business cards on hand to provide to everyone you chat with. Ask for theirs and be sure to jot down a note specific to each conversation so you can follow-up with a “nice meeting you” email.
Check out your local Social of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators chapter www.scbwi.org and the FREE Muse Online Writer’s Conference (all genres) http://themuseonlinewritersconference.com/ for conference opportunities.
Search online for writer’s workshops you can partake in and ask your librarian if they know of any writer’s groups for your genre in your area.
Online you can start with…
· The CBI Clubhouse http://cbiclubhouse.com/clubhouse/ answers, encouragement and empowerment for today’s children’s writer.
· Working Writer’s Club www.workingwritersclub.com to learn about their membership based site.
· Writers on the Move www.writersonthemove.com is another great networking resource and many members offer webinars throughout the year.
5. Newsletters: Subscribe to newsletters in the publishing industry. Especially those that provide up-to-date submission request information. While reading a newsletter make note of individuals featured in an article and send them a congratulations note. You will be amazed how appreciative people are for the recognition. Suggested newsletter,
· Children’s Writer - Newsletter of Writing and Publishing Trends - http://childrenswriter.com/
This is just the “tip of the iceberg.” May a suggest Christina Katz’s book, Get Known Before the Book Deal for a comprehensive guide in building your platform. My copy is highlighted and earmarked to the hilt and I refer to it constantly.
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have. Results are NOT guaranteed I’m sharing with you what has worked for me.
If, like me, you need to build a platform or have more questions about marketing, I cannot recommend Donna's service highly enough. Also, check out her blog Write What Inspires You.
Donna's award winning books may be purchased here.
Thanks so much for a wonderfully helpful article Donna...Have a great weekend everyone!