Jan 7, 2022 • 40M

How to Build a Platform in a Zillion (Not) Easy Steps: Episode 297, A coaching call with Alison Zak

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Entertaining, actionable advice on craft, productivity and creativity for writers and journalists in all genres, with hosts Jessica Lahey, KJ Dell'Antonia and Sarina Bowen.

Alison Zak has just been “jolted from being a writer to being an author” with the interest in her non-fiction book proposals—but with that interest came questions about… The dreaded platform problem!

That was the subject line of the reader email that caught our attention, and the problem is follows: you’ve got a great non-fiction proposal—but a relatively small existing “platform”. What is a platform, you ask? Well, it could be an offline community, a reputation, an academic or business space that you’re prominent in, or your reach as a professional writer in other’s spaces (i.e. the NYT, ESPN, McSweeney’s—but it’s more probably a question of online reach. As in, followers on email, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or for a blog or podcast. Numbers are important, but intensity and engagement matter too, as do being an active part of the community you want to reach, even if it’s led by others. We talk building platform and how to explain the platform you have to publishers who might think only numbers matter.

Links from the pod

Episode 127: #AmBranding with Carol Blymire

The Creative Shift Podcast: Does Social Media Sell Books?

The Creative Shift Podcast: Leigh Stein episode 1 - Behind the Book Launch of a Novel

The Creative Shift Podcast: Leigh Stein episode 2 - Focus on What You Can Control.

Find Alison at:


Instagram: @animal_asana

Twitter: @animal_asana

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Are you serious about writing a nonfiction book this year? Author Accelerator is offering a nonfiction book incubator starting February 28th. There are only a few seats in this intensive program because you will get 1:1 coaching on every single step of the process AND you will have the chance to pitch your proposal to a pool of agents and publishers at the end -- a fabulous opportunity. Apply for the program HERE -- and get a strategic session with Jennie Nash to kickstart your work. We think Jennie and her book coaches are terrific -- tell her we sent you!