If you are ordering or buying my book, Get Known Before the Book Deal, there's a good chance that you might wonder what other books to get with it.
To set the record straight, I never intended to cram every possible thing on platform into one book. Instead, I intended for GKBTBD to be a helpful primer. The book you'd likely read before or with Michael Larsen's How to Write a Book Proposal (learn more) or Elizabeth Lyon's Nonfiction Book Proposals Anybody Can Write (learn more).
There's a time and a place when writers tend to think about platform and that's when they are on their way to a writer's conference to meet agents and editors for the first time.
In Get Known, I'm suggesting that you think about platform as far before then as possible.
I am not sure that it would have been wise for me to cram in chapters on social networking, book promotion, and self-publishing into this book. In fact, I take that back: I am SURE cramming it all in would have been a bad idea. Get Known is a primer, not an encyclopedia.
To illustrate my point, a grateful reader recently e-mailed me and said:
"I particularly like the short chapter style [in Get Known]. I think that format makes the book "user and reader friendly" particularly for creating a writer's platform, something most writers find confusing.
You weave a seamless guide that ends with the reader saying, "I can do this!"
That was my intention. To help writers get platform and get that they can build theirs over time.
Also, let's get real. Social media books will likely fare much better as e-publications and Get Known was written for traditional print publication. What I had in mind was that like Larsen's and Lyon's books, the book would become a reliable book in its field. A great starting point with many books in many forms to come before and after.
Get Known covers the basics of platform development. If you read it and start to brainstorm ideas, as many readers say they do, then your platform will be off to a great start. Then, when you approach an agent with a book idea and that agent says, "So tell me about your platform," you won't be standing there with your mouth hanging open wondering what she means.
As I wrote in my last post on the definition of platform, the primary objective of Get Known is to help writers understand platform, so they can get theirs in gear.
So will there be more to do after the steps in Get Known?
Yes, there is always more to do. There's writing the book. There's marketing the book. There are all the breakthroughs in technology that are going to happen during the lifetime of your book (you hope). In these times that includes social media and reviewing other people's books in a variety of formats.
But the stage covered in my book is clearly described on page two. It's the preparation stage before writing a book proposal and pitching a book. Or, perhaps, you can develop your platform and your book concept simultaneously. I've seen people do it.
But whatever you do, don't try to throw the whole deal up overnight because it just doesn't work. And if you project an unholy urgency, that's just going to turn people, agents and editors included, off.
If I know one thing about writers after working closely with them for the past eight years, it's this: we get easily overwhelmed. We don't always need or want an encyclopedic approach. Sometimes a primer is all we need to get the idea and get going in our own way. And I hope you will actually be in the process of your platform and not just trying to use my book to wrangle a buck.
Because if you are a writer just starting to think about platform development for the very first time, you really don't have to think about social networking, book promotion, and self-publishing all at the same time...unless you are ready for all that.
I suspect, if I had tried to throw everything that's hot now into the mix of Get Known a lot of writers would have walked away completely overwhelmed.
What do you think? Should I have taken an encyclopedic approach and tried to cover everybody's everything and kept the whole thing up to date for traditional publication? (Would that even have been possible or would the book have already been outdated by now? I think so.)
Or do you find what's in Get Known to be enough? I'd like to hear what you think.
Happy platform building, writers!