March 30, 2010


During last October's Muse Online Conference, I won Karina Fabian's "Marketing Basics" course, but only recently hunkered down for the lessons. Of course, one of the issues she addresses is platform. Ugh.

I've always associated platform with expertise. Since I'm more of a know-it-mostly type, how do I brand myself? According to Fabian, I need to determine what makes my work unique.

Now, I know many writers bemoan the limitations of being relegated to a niche, and I believe their concerns are valid, but these days you have to be willing–at least in the beginning–to let yourself be labeled.

While it's easy enough to say I write fantasy, it's hardly distinctive. So, piggy-backing off Fabian's capsule platforms (e.g., J.A. Konrath writes murder mysteries named after bar drinks), I came up with this blurb: Kathryn Jankowski writes children's fiction based on Slavic folklore.

I'm not sure this is exactly how I want to word it. Perhaps "featuring elements of" rather than "based on"? Or "mythology" instead of "folklore"? "YA and MG fantasy" instead of "children's fiction" (although I think the latter is less restrictive)? In any event, it's a start and gives me news ideas for outreach.

If you had to sum up your platform in one sentence, what would you write?

March 1, 2010

Do You Draw?

Like artists, writers begin with a blank palette. Using black words against a white background, we create colorful visions in our reader’s mind. I’m sure some authors do it all in their heads, but I need visuals. Not just story boards and plot trackers. Real pictures. Which can be a problem when you’re writing a fantasy.

The solution? Draw it myself. Towns, rooms, statues, forests, roads, societies secluded behind stone walls, even characters. I’m not claiming any talent here. My sketch of a Baltic Sea god was declared a cross between Sarah Jessica Parker and Poseidon. Not exactly the effect I’d hope for.

Drawing lets me step back from a blinking screen and view my story from a different perspective. It helps me fine tune scenes and double-check the logic of my imaginings. (Even fantasies need to be based in reality.)

How about you? Do you ever draw during the writing process?