What the heck is a platform? Do I need a saw?

by Amber Keyser
Published on: May 4, 2011
Categories: Business of Writing
Comments: 7 Comments

I belong to a Yahoo group called NFforKids, dedicated to discussions about writing nonfiction for young readers.  In a recent discussion thread, we’ve been discussing (1) involvement in social media and (2) platform.  The two topics are closely related in my mind because effective involvement in social media (as a professional as opposed to strictly for fun) is about creating a brand or platform for oneself and still being real (that’s critical).

Inspired by a great workshop by Deborah Reber at SCBWI-WWA a few years back, the Scrivas held a working session to develop our “brands.”  At first I struggled to combine my nonfiction books about science and my fantasy/adventure fiction.  Now some might council that I use a pen name for my fiction and keep the two separate, but that would mean twice the work, right?  I mean, who has the time to maintain a social media presence for two online persona?

As we worked through a variety of exercises (including writing mission statements), I focused on the connections.  I like being a scientist because it’s about understanding how the world works.  I like writing fiction because it’s about understanding how people (and by extension, the world) works.  I use “story” to bring nonfiction to life, and I insert natural history (science) into my fiction at ever turn.

These realizations inform the way I decided to present myself on my website and in my interactions on social media.  I write about science and adventure for young readers because I’m trying to understand how the world works.  It’s been incredibly powerful for me to figure out what drives my curiosity and dedication to writing.

Go ahead, try it!  Explore your brand.  It’s not crass.  It’s empowering.  Who are you?  What are you bringing to the world?

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7 Comments - Leave a comment
  1. Very nice post, Amber. I used to teach high school English back in the Dark Ages and what you wrote is clear enough that it would be useful to teens in writing a theme or defining themselves.

    • Amber Keyser says:

      Thanks for the comments, Janet & Mary. I can’t tell you how much working on a mission statement helped me to focus my projects and sell myself both in queries and in person.

  2. Janet Lawler says:

    I am printing this off – excellent food for thought as I mull over whether to blog, what my focus would be, and how to fashion future promotion. I write across genres, have had fiction/rhyme published, but also have non-fiction and prose work under consideration at a few houses. There is a thread of the natural world throughout, and you have just helped me take the first baby step toward figuring this out – thank you Amber!

  3. Great post, Amber! I know the meetings on creating our “brand” definitely changed the image of “branding” for me, too. Before I thought branding sounded so corporate, but then I found it really helped me to focus on what I wanted my writing career to be all about.

  4. Melanie says:

    Thanks for sharing this post. Very helpful. It makes sense because really both my non-fiction and fiction are coming from some of the same inspirations.

  5. Pam Torres says:

    I was just working on my pitch for an upcoming conference and was thinking about this. Great post! Happy to have found you southern NW sista’s. I’m jealous, what a cool group you are.

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