I forgot my first rule of blogging in my last post: never complain about a problem without also presenting a solution to the problem. I started to write about the solution but I got caught up in the problem. So I though I’d tell you the solution to “My Life Is a Circus and I’m stuck in the Freak Tent.”
The good news is “Get Known Before the Book Deal” by Christina Katz. My apologies to said author. It’s not her fault my life is an island of chaos at the moment.
That is the good news – Katz’ book and the idea of building, growing and nurturing a platform while you’re still writing the book.
One of the best things about “Get Known Before the Book Deal” is that Katz presents authoring as a process rather than an event of writing the book and then looking for a publisher.
I liked Seth Godin’s definition of the process which she uses in the book. “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission asset, build a blog, build a following, build crediblity, and build the connections you’ll need later.” (Seth Godin)
That, in a nutshell, is what Katz’ book is about — the process of developing your platform as a writer/author.
Another of the best things about “Get Known Before the Book Deal” is that the process she describes – knowing oneself, knowing what your strengths and weaknesses are and finally, knowing your readership is something everyone must do for themselves OR we are our own worst enemy.
Tantamount to the process of platform building is integrity – the idea that you know who you are and that you align yourself with your passion, speak to your own resistance (which means tucking it under your arm and moving on), and that you are confident about your expertise in the topic(s) you’re writing about.
Joining in community
Then the challenge becomes taking it out there. Take a deep breath and take who you are, what you believe and take it to the next level – community. Katz outlines a plethora of ways to reach out to, and become part of, community – in other words, joining in and making things happen out of your passion, with your integrity intact. Those ways include active membership in relevant organizations, performing volunteer work, teaching what you’re passionate about, making public appearances to share your expertise, writing and having articles published, and offering your talents up for service. Katz gives real world examples of how promoting oneself with integrity is possible advises how to do it and remain in service to community. It is truly inspiring.
In the Process
I am, despite this week’s blog to the contrary, in the midst of creating a platform. I am on part three in the book and I’ve made many strides in some of the areas she talks about. The book though, is a guide that is so useful in the nitty gritty world we live in where we are bombarded with visual and auditory messages constantly, where we have to hone in to focus on our goals, set aside those tasks better done by someone else and be there for ourselves and for others. I sometime get lost in the daily grind, churning out the work I need to do and living life in the present – choosing what to focus on and not letting the minutia take over.
Focus, focus, focus
My final point is in relation to focus. Writing is, by nature, an isolating task. Promoting ourselves, on the other hand, is about community and using our passion as the juice to rise above what doesn’t matter. Promoting yourself and growing an author platform is anything but a task we do alone. So there has to be a paradigm shift, in my experience, to transition from writing to promoting. I appreciate people like Katz who remind us where we’re going, what’s important, and guide us in having our dreams realized.
In addition to “Write Christina Katz has also written “Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids.”
She is also a teacher and speaker who also hosts live workshops, e-mail classes and telephone coaching. Find out more on her website.