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?


  1. Hi Kathryn! To be honest, I've read your post a couple of times now and feel a bit stumped. Usually, I tend to have the opposite problem - I don't stop babbling. Maybe the problem is that as a Brit. the word platform has connotations of tudor be-headings and's amazing what different words mean to different cultures...Mmm. A one word sentence...
    'Cosmopolitan writer AM Wraight creates paranormal / fantasy for anyone who is still at one with their Inner Child.' Hey Guys - I use the word cosmoppolitan with it's original meaning and not the MAGAZINE!!
    Anyone out there with a mo to spare - pop over to Casey McCormick's Tuesday Tip and leave a comment! THANKS

  2. This is a fascinating topic, Kathryn, and something I've never thought about. I have business cards I exchange at writers conferences. It seemed pretentious to put 'writer' or 'author' on the card, so I follow my name with: Wicked. Intelligent. Mysteries. (yes, I know it's corny). It never occurred to me how generic this was or to use the cards as an opportunity to 'brand' myself.

  3. This sounds complicated. To sum up your work, talent, whole being in one sentence! I don't think I could do it.

  4. Ann Marie: Never thought of platform as a place of death! Your sentence is intriguing, but I think you could whittle it down and make it punchier.

    VR: Actually, the whole platform idea is quite generic; I suspect that's why some dislike it. Who wants to be pigeon-holed? I do like your W.I.M. notations. How about "VR Barkowski writes wicked, intelligent mysteries"?

    Stephanie: It's akin to summing up your book in one line. It doesn't cover everything, but offers agents, editors, publishers, and readers an introductory connection.

  5. Maybe: KJ writes YA and MG novels that delve into (or explore) the world of Slavic mythology?
    That's a tough thing to put in one sentence, and do you think you will only specialize in Slavic myths or should you broaden it? Very interesting.
    By the way, I've left an award for you on my blog should you wish to play.

  6. Wow! One sentence?

    Maybe: Elana Johnson writes young adult dystopian novels that will twist how you perceive reality.

    Okay, that's REALLY lame. Like really. But I'm not going to delete it...

  7. Tricia: My WIPs are definitely linked to Slavic folklore but aren't quite retellings and they include a possible chapter book so that's why I think "children's fiction" works better. Thanks for the award!

    Elana: Maybe you could borrow from VR and say you write "twisted" [or dark] YA dystopian fiction. Yeah, it's a challenge to get it just right!

  8. I'd very much suggest you stick with folklore as opposed to mythology - mythology, to me at least, implies Greek or Roman, and it also has little basis in fact, whereas folklore as a greater connection to actual people, and is loosely based on word-of-mouth tales that may have originally contained some element of truth.

    As for me, I have no idea how to sum myself up because I write in so many different genres...but I guess "Icy Sedgwick rewrites reality into the fantasy she wishes it was" might work.

  9. Icy: Baltic mythology isn't as well known as others, true. Perhaps I should say I incorporate elements of it. Having read some of your work, I think you might try "Icy Sedgwick rewrites reality as suspense-filled fantasy".


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