Monday, January 15, 2007

Another step closer to the platform...

I’ve always been more a generalist than specialist. I like to know a little bit about everything rather than a lot about one thing. But if building a platform requires becoming a specialist, then so be it. But in order to be successful, you need a specialty that has an audience of more than one…

I’ve been reading Kelly James-Enger’s book Ready, Aim, Specialize to get ideas on how it is done. Great book, well worth reading. Kelly describes how she started out in freelance writing, firing off query letters to everyone and anyone until at one point ‘…she had 54 query letters, completed articles, and essays circulating in the mail…’ All on different subjects and to different markets. The result of this ‘saturation-bombing technique’ as she called it was not a high percentage sell rate, but an almost burnt out writer after only eight months.

Deciding there had to be a better way, Kelly started concentrating on a small number of topics and markets. She sent out less query letters, but had a better sell rate. She had, in fact, discovered the art of specializing.

Now a successful freelance writer, Kelly has written a book to guide other writers into the world of specialization. And in it she lists the ‘top ten hottest specialties’ for writers. They are:

- Health
- Diet, Nutrition, and Food
- Business and Finance
- Technology
- Parenting
- Travel
- Fitness and Sports
- Essays and Personal Pieces
- Home and Garden
- Profiles and True-Life Features

Using this as a guideline, I’ve been working out where my interests, knowledge, experience, and passion lie. So far, I’ve eliminated the last three. But all the rest are topics that interest and captivate me. How to decide???

Perhaps the answer is to focus on one main specialty, such as travel, and create subcategories within that specialty. Or maybe combine two specialties together and forge a new specialty. Any ideas…

Building a platform obviously ain't as easy as it sounds...

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writerinmaking said...

I agree with you, it makes sense to specialize. As someone just starting out though I want to cover as many potential markets as possible. I think that as long as you begin writing about something that interests you and that interest comes through in your writing you will find that your platform begins to take shape on its own (or at least I hope so). When this happens, your job is to build on it.


yeah, I think it's going to be an evolving type of thing. Liz

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