View Full Version : Establishing a "platform" for self help

02-21-2006, 06:51 AM
I am a self help writer with a manuscript in hand that has been favorably received by some agents. They, however, have passed on representation since I "do not have a platform." I have been told that this is the "big thing now."

I am a Ph.D. with impressive credentials, and am an authority in my field. As both an practicing and academic Clinical Psychologist, I am a well experienced and well qualified to write about marriage. Though the book I wrote is praised, it seems that the platform thing is more important than the book and that I need a "platform" to secure legitimate representation.

Anyone out there have any wisdom for me? How is a platform different from a marketing plan? What are the components of a platform? What are the "ten basic steps" that I need to pursue to develop a platform? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Cathy C
02-21-2006, 07:31 PM
First I need to know a few things:

1. What is your self-help about?

2. Does it relate to your PhD and how?

3. Who is your target audience (general public or professionals?)

I can give you some suggestions once I know these things. :)

02-22-2006, 12:39 AM
The main thing they're looking for here is public appearances of some sort. They'd like it if you were running couples workshops, wandering around the country like John Gray. Or better yet, running your mouth on TV like Dr. Phil.

What they'd like is a guaranteed, captive audience, the larger the better. Since we don't quite live in a dictatorship yet, there is no guaranteed audience, but the closer you can get to one, the happier they will be.

There was a time when a good book was enough. Later, a good book plus your credentials would have been good enough. Now they want more.

Yeah, it ties into your marketing plan. What they are saying is, Who is this guy?

You're answering, I'm a respected, well-established expert in the field.

They hear this and then turn to each other and say, Oh--he's nobody.

Get Nicole Ritchie as your co-author and they'll sign you in a heartbeat.

To quote Joyce Maynard's "To Die For" : You're nobody if you aren't on TV.

Great, huh? So skip all that research and counseling work, and go get started running controverisal weekend workshops. And if you can work in some kind of diet plan, you'll be home free.

02-22-2006, 05:28 AM
Thanks for the responses.

Ursusminor, I wanted you to know I have a call into Nicole now.


I thought I would simply provide my synopsis, as follows:

The Insightful Marriage: What You Really Need to Know and Do to Live Happily Ever After is a crucial read for anyone who is married, getting married, or considering marriage again. Based on sound psychology and road tested clinical practice, The Insightful Marriage uses the stories of actual couples to bring readers to an insightful understanding of the psychological realities of marriage as they actually play out in our contemporary society. In marked comparison to its theoretically orphaned and naively descriptive competition, The Insightful Marriage is firmly grounded in psychological science and capitalizes on the fascinating allure people feel when they find answers to the important explanatory “why questions” which they always ask about their marriage and themselves. Informative and engaging, this “insight therapy in a book” details the ignored psychological fact that people are much more likely to reflexively protect their self than their happy relationship when their self is threatened as it often is in marriage. By bringing readers to this and other important personal and marital insights, The Insightful Marriage teaches people what they really need to know and do to defeat their automatic reactions to the subtle but powerful destructive forces found in all marriages so they do not unwittingly sabotage their conscious desire to find the happiest marriage ever.

Though a fascinating self-exploratory venture, the appeal of The Insightful Marriage is not limited to the allure of the “aha experience.” Using hands on exercises based on tried and true psychological wisdom, The Insightful Marriage goes beyond insight and helps readers translate their new found awareness into their marriage so they can really live happily ever after. It is the ability of The Insightful Marriage to provide tangible benefits to people struggling with marriage in a world in which half of marriages end in divorce, affairs are more common than ever, divorce occurs even after long marriages, marital satisfaction has steadily declined for decades and marital self help does not seem to be working, that makes The Insightful Marriage such a compelling read. It is because The Insightful Marriage is like nothing that has come before it, and departs radically from the five categories in which all existing marital self help live, that it actually lives up to the promise of its title.

Because The Insightful Marriage is based on sound psychology and years of clinical practice its appeal extends beyond that of a stimulating and informative personal or book club read. It is, in fact, a book which will also enjoy broad sales to professional counselors seeking a bibliotherapy component for their therapy, religious organizations which want to provide congregants with a premarital or marital counseling resource, and professors in academic settings who are looking for required supplemental reading for students in marital or couples counseling classes.

So, Cathy, I hope this helps. I would add to this that I am a Professor and teach Clinical Psycyhology, and a Clinical Psychologist with 28 years experience. While I have past media experience, I have done little with the media over the last ten years.

Any insight from you would be greatly appreciated.

Cathy C
02-22-2006, 05:44 AM
Okay, so it sounds like your book and your profession are a nice marriage (pun intended... ;) ) So, what then follows is what your JOB can do to get your book sold. In academia, "publish or perish" doesn't often include books in the private sector (sad, but true.) I don't know if you can count on your university to help you out with your platform, but let's presume for the moment that they won't.

Think of a "platform" as a PHYSICAL platform. It's a stage. It's not a marketing plan, but how that plan is implemented. The marketing plan is the script of the play, but without a raised stage where the paying public can see you, it means little. So, think about the elements of your life. You teach. You practice. Within the scope of those things, do you also belong to professional organizations? Are you on the board of directors of any teaching hospitals? Do you belong to any public clubs, groups or agencies that can be "worked" to get the word out about your book?

For example, do you belong to Rotary or Lions Club (Elks, Moose, etc. etc.)? The higher your membership in a prestigious organization, the better. Do you belong to AARP (just guessing from your length of practice)? Is there a way you can spin this to retirees who are finding that life with a spouse is a whole different ballgame when you're together EVERY day?

Are you WILLING to teach some Saturday classes related to your book? Can you write articles about the topic that are assured publication in a national organization newsletter?

These are platforms.

Does anything ring a bell? :)