What Is an Author’s Platform?

When an agent or publisher asks about your platform, what they’re really asking is: If you were to publish a book, who cares?

“Building a platform” is code for increasing the number of people who care what you’re doing.

For most authors, a “platform” includes a healthy dose of social media, a website, a mailing list, etc. But that’s not universally true. For instance, the CEO of a large company may not have any social media at all, but if her job makes people know and be interested in her, that’s a platform.

The key to successfully building a platform is to find a way to engage with more people in a way that you can tolerate, and that your new audience enjoys.

That includes publishing essays, articles, poems, or short stories in magazines, journals, anthologies, or the local paper. That includes speaking to groups, or even joining (or starting!) a new club.  There are a myriad of ways to connect with people—your personality will determine which ways you’re best suited for.

And for those of us that weren’t born with a silver spoon or a famous last name, and who aren’t the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, things like social media present an unparalleled opportunity to leverage our voice and gain a following.

There is never a bad time to build your platform. And you need it regardless of how you decide to publish or distribute your work.

If you’re traditionally publishing through a big or small publisher, they’ll want to see that you know how to connect with people. They’ll want to see that when your book comes out, there’s a big group of people that might make some noise about it.

If you self-publish, you’ll need the same group of people to make noise about your book. You’re the publisher, so you need the same thing out of yourself that any other publisher would need.

Or if you launch a blog, a podcast, a YouTube channel—you need a platform.

It doesn’t matter what you’re doing or how you’re distributing it, if you want to write on a professional basis, you need an author’s platform.

Not all platforms are equal. Just because one author has 10,000 followers on Twitter, for instance, doesn’t mean anyone will care when he has exciting news to share.  How he has built and cultivated that audience will make a big difference.  It’s entirely possible that another author with only 200 followers, half of whom love him to pieces and are super excited for him, can make far more noise.

Author Bootcamp, a 4-week professional development course for authors, will teach you how to build an author’s platform that really works. Numbers are important, but quality is more important.  We’ll teach you how to build and cultivate an audience that really cares what you’re doing and is ready to make noise for you.

Whether you’re starting from zero, or you’ve already built some platform, we’ll give you practical, common sense strategies for productive growth.

We’ll also cover some of the nuances of the business of publishing, so that you can be prepared to make smart business decisions as an author.  We’ll discuss the opportunities in each sector of publishing—traditional (Big Five), Small Press, and Self-Publishing—and how to identify and land good deals in each space.

We’ll also teach you some common sense techniques and strategies for building and protecting your business and your work.

It would be amazing to live in a world in which the quality of an author’s work was the only factor in their success. But in the real world, it takes a lot more than a way with words.

Authors who are successful are indeed talented wordsmiths— and they’ve learned how to work the business side of publishing as well.

You’ve got the words. Author Bootcamp will help you fill the rest of the professional author’s toolbox. Learn more and register to take this class (live or online) at bootcamp.ohiowriters.org.

Make 2019 Your Year to Write a Great Novel – OWA Winter Classes

Receive the guidance and support you need to complete a novel manuscript. The Ohio Writers’ Association will provide a 4-week intensive class, coupled with a 12-month support system for first-time novelists.  Log into your account and navigate to “Register for Classes” to register now.

Don’t have an account? Use this class registration form instead.

The month of November is almost over, which means that a significant portion of your writing community is hitting the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) wall.  No disrespect to NaNo, but writing a novel in a month is a serious challenge.  We have nothing but love and respect for those who pull it off, but for many of us, it may not be reasonable to crank out a novel that quickly, at least not with any expectation that the thing will be worth reading.

What if instead of writing a novel in a month, you make 2019 your novel writing year? (“NaNoWriYe” if you will?) We are offering a 4-week novel writing course in January, followed by a monthly support group check-in for the remaining 11 months. In December, we’ll celebrate all of the complete novels.  We think this is a more realistic goal, and with some guidance and support you can draft a great novel that’s worth writing.

Brad Pauquette, OWA President and Course Instructor

This course will be taught by OWA President Brad Pauquette.  Brad is an experienced developmental editor, with a client list that includes New York Times bestselling authors and professional athletes. He’s been working with new authors to develop award-winning books since 2009.

Over the 4-week course we’ll cover the fundamentals of crafting an effective novel, practical tools for organizing and executing your project, methods for time management and writing discipline, and narrative technique.  You’ll be equipped with the tools to proceed into your project with confidence.

For the support sessions, February through November, we’ll check in once per month to evaluate progress, tackle questions that might arise, and you’ll find solidarity with your classmates.  In December, we’ll meet to celebrate our finished manuscripts.

Class participants will also receive two one-on-one support sessions with the course instructor over the course of the program.

This is a picture of you, hard at work for 3-4 hours per week.

In order to complete this class and draft a novel, you’ll need to be prepared to devote 3-4 hours per week to writing independently, in addition to the classroom instruction time.

Writing a novel is difficult.  Regardless of your writing skill, it takes an exceptional amount of perseverance and forbearance.  This class will give you the tools, motivation, and accountability to complete the project.

This class will be offered in Zanesville, Ohio and in Columbus, Ohio, as well as online.

The price of the class is $499.  OWA Writer and Patron members save $30.  Register by December 15th to save an additional $20.  Class space is limited. We’re committed to small classes, even for the online group, so don’t wait to register.

To register: 

If you are a member: Log into your OhioWriters.org account From the “Member’s Home” screen, click “Register for Classes.” Select the class you’d like to take, and follow the prompts to complete payment.

If you are not yet an OWA member: Click here to go to our simple class registration.

4-WEEK INSTRUCTIONAL CLASS:
*Note: Due to a scheduling conflict with our classroom facility, these dates have been updated.
In Columbus – Wednesday evening, 6:30pm-9:30pm, January 9, 16, 23 and 30 – at the Ohio University Pickerington Center, 12933 Stonecreek Dr, Pickerington, OH 43147
In Zanesville – Saturday afternoons, 1pm-4pm, January 12, 19, 26 and February 2 – Columbus Publishing Lab Headquarters, 47 N. 4th St., Zanesville, OH 43701
Online (Live in Zanesville/Interactive on Saturday afternoons. Recorded classes can be watched for 7 days. Provided via Zoom, which is compatible with all computers, tablets, and phones.)

SUPPORT SESSIONS:
In Columbus (Wednesday evenings, 4th Wednesday of each month)
Zanesville & Web Participants (Saturday afternoons, 4th Saturday of each month)

Writers' Workshop

Frequently-Asked-Questions:

I can’t make all of the support groups, what should I do?
You’re welcome to take the classes, and come to the support groups as you’re able. We recognize that a year is a long time to schedule out, and you may take a vacation, change work schedules, etc. over the course of the year.  These support sessions are for your benefit, so just do your best.

Can I switch support sessions?
If you need to come sometimes to the Zanesville and other times to the Columbus support session, or join via the web, that’s OK.  Just let us know ahead of time.

How do I connect to the online courses?
Online courses will be provided via Zoom.  Learn more at Zoom.us.  It’s easy to connect and participate.  Specific instructions will be sent to individuals who register for the class.  You can connect to a Zoom class with virtually any computer, phone, or tablet device.

Can I ask questions if I take the course online?
Yes! Taking the class online is just like taking the class in-person, just so you’re watching live.  If you watch the recordings of the classes instead of the live class, you of course won’t be able to ask questions and interact.

Have a different question? Contact us today.

Blog Writing Class This Saturday – Registration Open

Blogging is like making chili. Do it well and you’re a hero, the stuff of legend. Do it poorly, and it’s just another pot of beans your friends have to pretend to enjoy.

Our blog writing class will be this Saturday at 9:30am in Zanesville, Ohio.  We have a few spots left. Login to sign up for classes today. Don’t have an account? It’s free and easy to create one. Register here.

Do you dream of influencing others on your own blog, or as a guest blogger? Do you plan to promote a book or product now or in the future?

Or perhaps you’re already blogging, but you’re just not seeing the response you anticipated.

Blogging is a unique craft. Just like there’s a difference between novels and advertising copy and short stories, blogging is a unique format with a different set of audience expectations. Understanding the blogging industry and the way that readers interact with your words is a critical step to writing effectively on the web.

Brad Pauquette will teach this class. Brad is an experienced web marketing professional with a decade of experience in publishing. He’s worked with hundreds of authors to produce and market their books, and to help them create effective content for the web. This class will provide practical instruction, real-life scenarios, and practice exercises.

Your class fee includes this Saturday’s class, as well as the writing for blogging workshop on November 3rd.

If you can blog effectively, there is so much to be gained–changed hearts and minds, viral publicity, advertising and affiliate income. But blogging poorly is simply a waste of time (yours and the readers).

OSU doesn’t play until 7:30pm Saturday night. Let’s put your morning to good use.

Login to register today, and navigate to “Register for Fall Classes.”

Blogging Class

Learn WordPress – You Won’t Regret It – Class Seats Open This Saturday

I’ve been working with authors for a lot of years.  We launched our first official class series this year. One of the reasons that we started with our Certified Blogger series is that it truly is a skillset that can be the difference between success and failure for an emerging author. Effectively using the internet is a huge stumbling block for so many authors trying to promote their own work.

If you’re not already enrolled in our classes, you are too late to get the full series. But this week’s class, WordPress 1, is the best stand-alone class that you can take. And we still have a few spots left.

This class will teach you how to use a WordPress website. We’ll show you how to post content, create and revise pages, use categories, install and use themes and plugins, and make simple modifications to your website. This class begins at 9:30a.m. this Saturday, October 6th.  Registration closes Friday evening.

Yes, it’s in Zanesville, but it is absolutely worth the drive. It’s less than an hour drive from downtown Columbus to our office in Zanesville. We’ll wrap up by 2pm, and you can still be home in time for the kickoff of OSU vs. Indiana.

If you’re thinking about releasing a book in the future (whether independently or traditionally), or you’re thinking about blogging (or maybe you already have a WordPress website and you’re just not confident with it) this class will give you the skills and confidence you need to make your website work for you.

This class is in the middle of the series, but there are no prerequisites. We’ll be starting from scratch. If you can turn your computer on and get to a website, you know enough to take this class.  We’ll be starting from the beginning and learning all of the basic functions of a WordPress website. We’ll use real-life examples to practice and internalize the lessons.

If you want to be an income-earning author, now or in the future, make sure WordPress is in your tool bag. You will use it. This class is a great way to start.

To register for classes, simply login to your OWA account here. If you don’t yet have an account, it’s free and easy to create one. Writer Members of OWA ($35/year), get pretty good discounts on classes.

Have questions? Cool! Please contact us at info@ohiowriters.org.

Using a Computer

Fall Classes – Individual Class Registration Now Open

Our fall classes are now open for individual class registration. Simply login and then click “Register for Fall Classes” from the members’ home page to sign up for classes.

Don’t have an account yet? It’s free and easy to register here.

We have space remaining in all 6 classes this fall, including: HTML 1, HTML 2, WordPress 1, WordPress 2, Writing for Blogging and the Writing for Blogging Workshop.

These classes are designed to efficiently provide the practical information you need to increase its value of your writing skill set in the marketplace.  These skills are invaluable for freelancers and independent professionals, authors promoting their work, and are asset to potential employers.

You do NOT need to be a paid member to register for classes, but note that Writer and Patron members receive a substantial discount on the price for classes.

We have made a small adjustment to the pricing for these classes. The Writing for Blogging and Writing for Blogging Workshop classes are now priced as a complete 2-week class at $50 for both sessions ($60 for free/supporting members).

This also affects the price of the 6-week Certified Blogger Course. Those who have already registered have been contacted to correct and refund the adjustment.   The complete 6-class series is now $210 ($260 for free/supporting members).

Note that students who successfully complete the 6-class series are also eligible to take the Certified Blogger test at no charge.  Certified Bloggers will be listed on our website as qualified writers available for independent work, and they will also receive an official certification from OWA to use as a professional reference.

Questions about classes? Contact us. We can’t wait to see you this fall!

Class Registration Now Open – Certified Blogger 6-Class Series

Registration is now open for our 6-Class Certified Blogger Series.

In our experience, you need to be more than a great wordsmith to make a living as a writer.  This class series will round out your skill set so that you can take your awesome writing and make it useful to the marketplace. By the time we’re done, you will be a blogging ninja. Whether you’re freelancing, self-promoting, working on personal projects or working a conventional position, your effectiveness is about to go way up.

No previous experience is necessary except for a basic understanding of the operation of your computer. If you can save files to your computer, find and open those files, and navigate the web, then you have what it takes.

To register, login to OhioWriters.org, and from the members’ home page, click “Register for Classes.”  You do NOT need to be paid member to take or register for classes, but Writer Members do save about $60 on the class series (so it’s probably worth the $35 membership fee).  You can register for an account here.

For the first two weeks, registration is only open to individuals who wish to take the full 6-class series. On August 29, registration will open for individual classes.

The class series will start with a basic understanding of how websites work, and get into some real-world HTML examples, so you’ll be able to make simple changes to many websites.  From there, we’ll cover WordPress, both its operation and its function, so that you can customize and do all sorts of other wizardry.

The class will end with two sessions on effective writing for blogging. The first class will be primarily instruction based, while the final class will be workshop format.

All classes in this series will include lots of hands-on practice and instruction. Students should bring a laptop and suitable materials to class with them.

Students who take the full series will be eligible to take the Certified Blogger test at no charge (regular cost $65).

All classes will be at the Columbus Publishing Lab offices in Zanesville, Ohio – 47 N. 4th St., Suite 204, Zanesville, OH 43701. Classes will run from 9:30am to 2:00pm, with a lunch break provided. Complete Class Schedule:

September 22 – HTML 1
September 29 – HTML 2
October 6 – WordPress 1
October 13 – WordPress 2
October 20 – Writing for Blogging
October 27 – Writing for Blogging Workshop

These classes will be taught by Brad Pauquette.  In addition to serving as the President of the Ohio Writers’ Association, Brad is an experienced web marketing professional.

Questions? Contact us at info@ohiowriters.org, or fill out the form here.