Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets

Platform Inventory Worksheet

Platform Inventory Worksheet, reduced size

Last weekend at the Midwest Writers Workshop, I offered a workshop on author platform building. Part of the workshop included 5 worksheets to help writers take an inventory of their platform (as it stands today), and also brainstorm how to better grow it.

Good news for you: I’m making my platform worksheets available for free.

Click here to download (PDF).

Below I’ve offered an explanation of each worksheet.

New writers may think they don’t have a “platform,” but everyone does. It might not be big or dramatic, but you do have one. These worksheets help you think about that platform from multiple angles, and for those who are advanced enough, you can also put some numbers behind it.

Note: If the term “platform” is new to you, in short, it can be defined as whatever gives you visibility and an ability to connect with readers. I gave some fundamental advice about developing platform in this blog post at my Writer’s Digest blog: The Hardest Part About Developing Platform

A brief guide to the 5 worksheets

  1. Content. This worksheet helps you brainstorm all the content you currently own rights to, and prompts you to think of ways you might repurpose it for different mediums or channels.
  2. Website/Blog. This worksheet is especially helpful for fiction writers or poets who aren’t sure what to blog about. The checklist acts as a prompt/creativity tool to get you thinking beyond “I’ll just write about my own work.” I’ve also included a checklist of questions about your site’s purpose, and how to maximize its impact. Note: USP stands for “unique selling proposition”—and if you can’t fit the USP into the space provided, it’s probably too complicated or unfocused.
  3. Social Media. This worksheet takes stock of your social media presence, and prompts you to think about where your audience might actually hang out (rather than just where other WRITERS hang out).
  4. Relationships. This is the invisible fuel of just about everyone’s platform. It’s hard to make progress if you’re working alone. Most people are (pleasantly) surprised when they really start to think of the number of people and organizations they know.
  5. Actual Reach. This worksheet can be especially helpful if you’re putting together a book proposal, or doing a 6-month or annual inventory of where and how you seem to be succeeding. It is somewhat limited and could be crass, depending on who you are (numbers don’t tell the whole story, not by a long shot), but metrics can be essential in being more efficient with your efforts. (Note: Book sales and downloads are also part of your metrics; add those if applicable to you.)
Do you have questions about platform, or about the worksheets? Please leave a comment!
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Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has more than 15 years of experience in the book and magazine publishing industry, with expertise in digital media and the future of authorship. She speaks around the world at events such as BookExpo America, Frankfurt Book Fair, and Digital Book World, and has keynoted writing conferences such as The Muse & The Marketplace. She currently teaches digital media and publishing at the University of Virginia. Find out more.
Posted in Marketing & Promotion, Worksheets & Handouts.

75 Comments

  1. Love these worksheets! I will definitely be using these again and again as I build and develop my platform. Thank you so much for sharing these!

  2. Jane, I love the platform worksheets. I was so looking forward to meeting you this coming weekend at the Willamette Writers Conference, but I’m stuck in Seattle and can’t make it after all. I’m teaching a class this fall about platform and would love to use you as the guru my students should turn to. I’ll sign up and take your WD class since I can’t make it to Portland (my home town) this weekend. Hope to connect sometime soon. Mindy @  mindyhalleck.blogspot.com

  3. Great resources, Jane! Thanks so much for sharing. It’s one thing to watch your “numbers” grow on a day-to-day, real time basis, but these really help you step back and see the forest

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  5. Terrific worksheets, Jane, even for non-writers. I’m struggling to bring a group of non-profit organizations into the social media world and they’re having trouble with just about everything associated with it: many of their leaders are “digital dinosaurs,” not even “digital immigrants,” and on top of that, marketing is a foreign–and frightening–concept to them (they’re mostly ex-military). These worksheets could give them something to start from. Would you mind if I tweaked the worksheets to fit into their world better, with full credit to you as the original creator, of course?

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  7. Jane,

    I just want to thank you for these. It helps me focus. I have to admit when someone uses the term “platform” I cringe (due to my lack of knowledge) but with these it feels doable. :D

  8. Jane,

    I just want to thank you for these. It helps me focus. I have to admit when someone uses the term “platform” I cringe (due to my lack of knowledge) but with these it feels doable. :D

  9. Thank you for sharing.  Saw this on Debra Newton-Carter’s blog…This is a must use worksheet.  

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  11. I had a question about the website page: are the content items on the checklist all stuff you’re SUPPOSED to be doing, or are any of these the kinds of things you’d warn writers NOT to do? I’m wondering since the first one is “personal thoughts / ramblings / unfiltered day to day stuff,” and another on the list is “pictures of my pet / family / children / garden / etc.” Would you recommend keeping that stuff off your writing blog, or does it help show your personality if used in moderation?

    • EXCELLENT question! It would not be wise to attempt all the suggestions on the page. I offer it up as a brainstorming tool—and also to help you consider whether your blogging is too unfocused to gain a meaningful following.

      Personal thoughts & ramblings work great for the really-famous authors (celebrities). It works less well for the rest of us. But there are exceptions to every rule—it depends on how much of an “interesting” person you are.

      Pictures of your pet, family, garden, etc, can be a fun element and might even distinguish you (if these things prove truly “interesting”). 

      Bottom line, all these things turn into “content” once you put them on your blog, and you should think about what content you want to be known for, and what content best builds your overall platform.

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  13. I can’t wait to get started, this is what I have been struggling with…it couldn’t have come at a better time, thank you Jane!!!

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  15. I have recently discovered your blog, and I find your posts timely and incredibly helpful. They have also contained new ideas that have helped me tremendously expand upon my own actions for book marketing. These platform sheets are awesome!

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