This is based on Robert Brewer’s April Platform Challenge. He ran this challenge originally in April of 2012 and I did not discover it until the middle point of August when I was researching a post I wanted to do on building a brand/platform for an author. I read his challenge and thought. “I could do this!” and then my competitive spirit kicked in and I thought, “I could do this better!!!”
I am going to follow along with Mr. Brewer’s Challenge and add in my own tips, tricks and twists as we go. I will also always link back to his challenge so you can compare and follow along with both challenges simultaneously.
I decided to create my own 30 day challenge to be taken by my readers in September (if you are playing along this month) or at anytime that you discover it. Before we get to the specifics of the challenge let’s unpack a few concepts that will help us understand what our goal is this month.
What is an author’s brand?
“Brand” is such a packed word. It is a marketing word. It is an ad executive or public relations specialist word. It’s a salesman’s word. A brand is literally any “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” as defined by American Marketing Association‘s Dictionary. What does it have to do with writers?
Writer’s have a brand. Would you agree? Let me toss a few names out there: Louis L’Amour, Danielle Steele, and Stephen King. I am sure that you knew these authors’ names, what genres the authors’ usually write in, maybe a book cover popped into your head, and I can never see the names written without thinking of the fonts usually used on the covers of their books to print their names. A brand is everything we just mentioned. It is all of the things that you know about an author and their books just from their name alone that helps sell them to readers.
So do writers’ have brands? Successful ones do.
What is an author’s platform?
This post by Jane Friedman is one of the best definitions of this difficult concept that I have found. A platform is everything you do online and offline to build visibility and authority. I like to think of it as who is listening to you and the things you do to make sure that you are someone worth listening to. We build our platform in a lot of ways; social media like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, e-mail newsletters and every way we touch and interact with our reading audience.
Building a platform is not something we do in just 30 days (or 60 or 90 days even). Platforms are built over a career with focus and effort at making and connecting with a wide network and building a loyal following and readership. It is not something that can be done for a month and then never thought about again.
However, you can start with a month. We are going to build our platforms together. We are going to start off in the right direction and put up some signposts for those readers who take up these challenges later. The comments need to be full this month with tips and testimonies. Tell what worked for you and what didn’t work yet. Ask questions. Give answers. Let’s build our platforms as a community and share this experience as we all take on this challenge together.
DAY ONE CHALLENGE:
Our day one is a commitment to the challenge. How do we commit? We commit by thinking about and defining ourselves. How can we broadcast who we are to the world if we are not sure who we are ourselves. This is the same first day challenge that Robert Brewer presented and it is the right place to start. Who are you?
WHO AM I?
Name (as used in byline): Sean O. Murphy
Skill(s): Creative writing, film criticism,music journalism, hyper-local news, community news, blogging, social media and SEO basics
Accomplishments: Member of the Oklahoma Film Critic’s Circle, Judge of the Moore Reel Film Festival,Certified English/ESL Tutor by the College Reading and Learning Association, Member Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society
Interests: Writing. Reading. Watching movies. Listening to live music. Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom, Walking for pleasure and exercise. Being a father to my children
In one sentence, who am I? Sean O. Murphy is the father of two incredible children who enjoys reading and writing,watching movies, and listening to music for both work and play.
This is our starting point for defining our brand and thinking of ways we need to build our platform. Feel free to share your “Who Am I?” in the comments. I am interested in knowing who you are. Taking this first step is your act of confirmation that you are ready to devote a month to the challenge of beginning to think of your own brand and platform.
Ready? Let’s go!