Friday, September 4, 2009

A Writer's Platform

I was referred to two articles today on writing and getting published. It’s nice they come at the beginning of a long weekend when I expect to be able to focus on my writing while my husband revels in the return of football. Of course, I may join him for a few interludes since I enjoy football too.

Though both articles have good advice, they have different focuses. One is on keeping up one’s confidence as a writer, while the other is about the importance of having a “platform.” A platform? In publishing terms and as I understand it, a platform relates to how many people you know and therefore how many might be interested in buying a book you get it published. An extensive platform lowers the risk to a publisher of putting out a product no one buys because they never heard of the author.

Platform is one area in which I can feel at least a measure of confidence. I have more relationships than I can keep up with, and I appreciate them all. I’ve enjoyed a rich and varied life on three continents. I am blessed with multiple circles of friends from different eras of my life, including:

• My growing up in Africa—and now through Facebook a whole new generation of those who grew up there after I was gone.

• The boarding school and college I attended

• Forty years with our mission large organization, including dozens of former students and even more coworkers

• Those who have been interested in our work over those forty years, many who have invested financially at one time or another, including those in fifteen states on our current statement of gifts received today

• Folks in seven churches in five states who have invested in varying degrees in our ministry during those years.

I didn’t mention family, but of course they count big time, and some of them are my greatest pillars of support. I don’t have a large family, but they all have friends, too. As I said, I am blessed.

Now if I can just keep those relationships going until I find a publisher . . . They don’t all know about my writing dreams, but a good many do. In fact, recently when I felt the need for concentrated prayer for my efforts, I got positive responses from eleven wonderful friends in nine states.

That must count something for the beginning of a platform.

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