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!
Posted in Marketing & Promotion, Worksheets & Handouts.
Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the co-founder and editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017).

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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76 Comments on "Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets"

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Gabriela Pereira
Gabriela Pereira
5 years 1 month ago

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!

Joy N. Hensley
Joy N. Hensley
5 years 1 month ago

Thank you!!!

Mindy
Mindy
5 years 1 month ago

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

Michelle Griep
Michelle Griep
5 years 1 month ago

How encouraging and empowering! Thanks so much for sharing.

Jeff Darling
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks again Jane. As I have said before, you take such good care of us.

Jonathan Fields
5 years 1 month ago

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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[…] Draft Your Platform Worksheets  (your platform means how you get seen and found – could be a book, a blog, public speaking, etc). […]

Ross Lampert
Ross Lampert
5 years 1 month ago

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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links for 2011-08-02 « Charlottesville Words
5 years 1 month ago

[…] Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets | Jane Friedman "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." […]

Karen Lawrence
Karen Lawrence
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks Jane, these are super.  They will be used and passed on to my clients!

Midwest Writers
Midwest Writers
5 years 1 month ago

Once again, your genius shines through.

Marly
Marly
5 years 1 month ago

Hey, Jane!
Thanks for the worksheets – I’ll be using them over and over again. 

Tami Smith
5 years 1 month ago

This is fantastic. Thank you for sharing and for all the encouragement you provide!

Texanne Kelly
Texanne Kelly
5 years 1 month ago

Thank you, Jane!

Caryn Sulllivan
5 years 1 month ago

That’s great, Jane. Thanks for sharing.

Sammie Justesen
Sammie Justesen
5 years 1 month ago

As a publisher, I look forward to sharing these worksheets with our authors. Thanks so much! 

Joanna
5 years 1 month ago

Thoroughly practical and valuable resource, Jane. thanks for your service to the writing community.

elizabeth newton
elizabeth newton
5 years 1 month ago

Thanks, Jane! This is generous and helpful 🙂

Terry
Terry
5 years 1 month ago

These are great worksheets, Jane. But I think you are probably our greatest resource!

Allison
5 years 1 month ago

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. 😀

Allison
5 years 1 month ago

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. 😀

Peter Ramirez
5 years 1 month ago

I’m looking forward to playing around with these. I also will be sharing them with my writing group. Thanks!

Yvette Porter Moore
Yvette Porter Moore
5 years 1 month ago

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

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Links: It’s Finally August 2011 Edition
5 years 1 month ago

[…] Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets. All writers have a platform, and that includes new ones. [Link: Porter Anderson] […]

Debra Newton-Carter
Debra Newton-Carter
5 years 1 month ago

Just letting you know I mentioned your blog in today’s Follow Friday post. Hope you’ll stop by! In Black and White: Cross-Cultural Genealogy

http://ibawcross-culturalgenealogy.blogspot.com/2011/08/follow-friday-connections-come-when-you.html

Jonathan Gunson
5 years 1 month ago

Phenomenally useful Jane. It’s all about author visibility.

Laura Roberts
5 years 1 month ago

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?

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Synechism Ltd. – User Outcomes Weekly – #9
5 years 1 month ago

[…] Friedman has produced an excellent checklist resource ensuring you’ve covered the bases regarding social media and web presence. It’s […]

Anonymous
Anonymous
5 years 1 month ago

Brilliant! Thank you SO much! Just what I need ATM. Many thanks for your generosity!

H.E. Dinsmore
H.E. Dinsmore
5 years 1 month ago

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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Drafting an Action Plan for Your Author Platform « Author E.M.S.
5 years 1 month ago

[…] yet, Jane has provided 5 Platform Worksheets to help you assess your Content, Website/Blog, Social Media, Relationships and your Actual Reach.  […]

Mitchell461961
Mitchell461961
5 years 1 month ago

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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[…] Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets From Jane Friedman’s informative and practical blog: […]

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Drafting an Action Plan for Your Author Platform | Author EMS
4 years 10 months ago

[…] yet, Jane has provided 5 Platform Worksheets to help you assess your Content, Website/Blog, Social Media, Relationships and your Actual Reach.  […]

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[…] Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets. Some of my best hands-on tools are right here. […]

frenazrahman
frenazrahman
4 years 6 months ago

Thanks for the advice, Jane. I hope you dont mind if i a leave a link of my blog.
http://www.frenazrahman.wordpress.com

StephBethNickel
StephBethNickel
4 years 4 months ago

Thank you so much for making these available, Jane. I look forward to going through them.

Laura J. Davis
Laura J. Davis
4 years 4 months ago

This is awesome! Thank you for sharing these.

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[…] Draft Your Platform Action Plan: 5 Worksheets […]

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[…] in various ways, with how to present ourselves publicly as writers. One of us, after reading up on author platform, branding and the like, suggested we might benefit from working together to pin down our author […]

Victoria
Victoria
3 years 18 days ago

Jane, what an incredible resource for newbies — and even those who’ve been on the block awhile. Thanks for sharing!

Imogene Drummond
1 year 1 month ago

Thanks for your generosity in making these available for free! They look invaluable!!

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