Platform Tips––Part V

bullhorn Dividing a stage into four parts, each week, we’ve been talking about one section of platform. The first section was a blog. Section two was social media. Section three is marketing. The fourth section of platform building is Contacts & Education. Click to Tweet #amwriting #platform

There’s an old saying… “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I refute that by saying both are important. You must educate yourself and expand your level of contacts.

diplomaEducation

I remember the first writer’s conference I went to. It was in Philadelphia, and I had no idea what to expect. Hoping to find interest in my writing was the primary reason for attending. I’ll admit I signed up for the appointments first, then the education. In 2009, I’d just completed CWG’s (Christian Writer’s Guild) Apprentice Program. I wouldn’t have had to take it, probably, but I wanted to see what I didn’t know.

Since 2009, I’ve attended probably attended a dozen writers’ conferences, both small and local, plus large and distant. With each conference, I meet new people, learn new tips, and sometimes, really learn something I didn’t know before, even if it’s something I already know about. I learn a different twist, angle, or way of thinking about it.

Contacts

Join a writer’s group or organization. I joined ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) to make more contacts, plus receive further education. Also, because of my affiliation with CWG, I expanded contacts that way.

Why should you expand your contact base? Here’s an example from my life. Even though I have a long way to go, I’ve come a distance.

acfw-earlybird-17If I’d never taken my CWG classes, I wouldn’t have met my current mentor. As a result of meeting her, I joined ACFW. That organization introduced me to a lovely older woman who owns a literary agency. I met her two years ago.

ACFW allowed me, an unpublished author, to become an area coordinator for my state, and start a chapter.

In the meantime, CWG folded, and my mentor started her own informal group of former students and others, called ANN.

A young man named Young emailed me out of the blue last year and wanted me to write for a new website, A3.

Later in the year, he became a literary agent. Now, he is my agent.

This is why both education and contacts are important in platform. Education helps you become a better writer. Contacts help you move toward publication.

Bite the bullet. Spend the money. Go to a conference and learn. Make contacts. Grow platform. Click to Tweet #amwriting #platform

What about you? Have you attended writers’ conferences? Which ones? Leave a comment and let me know.

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