I thought I was supposed to write

burning-platform-memo-nokiaI learned a new use for an old word last week. It’s “platform.” In classes at the Write-to-Publish Christian writers conference last week at Wheaton College, I learned publishers and agents now expect writers to spend much of their time building a “platform” they can use to promote their book. They’re expected to develop large followings through web sites, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and whatever new manifestation of social media that started up last week. It’s all about numbers. A teacher said that for every hour spent writing, you should spend two working on on your platform. They mean it. It’s a lot different from the days when you were done when you received a letter with the words: “We accepted your book.”

Published by Jim Merkel

Reedy Press published four of my books, Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2010; Beer, Brats, and Baseball: St. Louis Germans, 2012; The Making of an Icon: The Dreamers, The Schemers, and the Hard Hats Who Built the Gateway Arch; and the Second Edition of Hoosiers and Scrubby Dutch: St. Louis's South Side, 2014. They're available in bookstores and online. For an autographed copy, send a check for $21.50 made out to Jim Merkel, to Jim Merkel, 4216 Osceola St., St. Louis, MO 63116.

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