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Building a Book Platform: What It Is and Why You Need It (Continued from Page 1.)

Although a print book looks more impressive, e-books can also do the trick. You might consider a Kindle Single, which could be an example of your reporting or an essay, memoir, narrative, or a short story presented to educate, entertain, excite, or inform.

The important thing to remember is that you want a book-long example that will display your talents in the best light. It may never hit the best seller list, but your book will demonstrate your ability as a writer.

But then, what do you do with your book once you’ve written it? How do you make it work for you as the centerpiece of your marketing program?

You build an author platform.

And that’s precisely what IWOC’s March speaker will tell you how to do.

Michael McCallister and his coauthor Carole Jelen wrote Build Your Author Platform: A Literary Agent’s Guide to Growing Your Audience in 14 Steps. Mike, with more than 20 years’ experience in software design and development, will provide the technical know-how to help you cast the widest net possible in search of your audience. He’ll show you how to write and circulate articles both for online and offline markets as well as other techniques, such as teaching mini-courses and webinars, public appearances, informational interviews, expert backgrounders, and other wonderful ways to connect.

The key factor in building client loyalty and trust is development of a dialogue between you and the organizations you want to serve – to move beyond a monologue in which you alone toot your own horn about how good you are. Using the many tools available through the Internet, Mike will demonstrate how to grow your business with a variety of two-way tools:

  1. Blogging (guest blog, hosted blog, strategic blog, cross blog, multiplatform blog)
  2. Twitter (strategic tweeting, automated tweets)
  3. Google (optimized online presence, Google+, custom features, website connections)
  4. Facebook (groups, mobile apps, profile strategies)
  5. LinkedIn  (optimized profile, scheduled updates, planned connections, benefits)

Mike will share his years of collecting strategies, best practices, pre-digested routes, and major elements in getting up and running with a solid marketing platform. Once you’ve built your platform, it has a magnetic power of its own, and you can expand it in many directions.

So make a list of your questions and come to the Independent Writers of Chicago meeting on Tuesday, January 13, at the Gratz Center, just off Michigan Avenue, between Chestnut and Delaware. Ask at the reception desk for the room location; we’ve moved. We meet at 5:00 for snacks and networking; the program runs from 6:00 till 7:15. Stick around for lots more conversation and a buy-your-own dinner at nearby Bar Toma, 110 East Pearson (www.bartomachicago.com). Park at 900 Michigan (Bloomingdale’s; enter from Walton or Rush) after 5:00 and have your ticket validated (only six bucks!) at the Gratz Center reception desk or arrange a steeply discounted advance parking permit through www.spothero.com. Several buses also run on Michigan Avenue.

Jim Kepler

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