Tuesday, November 25, 2008

GumboWriters Interview with Literary Power Agent: Donna Bagdasarian Part 1

Jeff Rivera: How would one create a platform in 30 days, like from scratch?

Donna: For fiction or non-fiction writers?

Jeff Rivera: Now, let us talk about both, but mostly non-fiction.

Donna: Okay, good.

Jeff Rivera: It is going to be a sort of step by step, day by day plan that I am putting together that shows them like how they can create one. But, I want a feedback from the system, also from editors’ perspectives, of like what a platform is really, what you do to create one. Like if you have a great concept, suppose you have a fiction client and he wants to diversify and become a non-fiction writer. What would you tell her? You know, like how to create one, that sort of perspective?

So, first of all let us talk about from an agent’s perspective and from someone who sells book everyday. Like, what is a platform?

Donna: Ok. A platform is built upon someone’s core expertise, being the basis of authority from which an author can derive credibility and subsequently, an audience.

Jeff Rivera: So it is just like, are you saying that it is just like who you are, like “I am a Doctor” and this is…?

Donna: Yes, a platform is actually more specific. So, it is not just, “I am a Doctor,” but “I am a Doctor, specializing in Neo Natal Health Care, and I have reached out to the inner city-underprivileged-cancer patients and without any form of medication because they cannot afford it, and I formulated a plan through diet and this and that and the other and that has proven to be an effective cure for them. Ergo I now have this expertise talking about Neo Natal cancer treatment via diet.”

Jeff Rivera: Okay, so it is like a specific audience.

Donna: For a very specific audience, one for which you have built proven expertise.

Jeff Rivera: So, the person has already created that audience.

Donna: Right.

Jeff Rivera: So, it is not good enough to be – I am sorry?

Donna: So the person is walking in with built-in expertise and notoriety.

Jeff Rivera: So what if I am, my name is Jim Smith and I live in Bumfark , Arkansas and I am a dentist. How do I create another great idea about like how to have, maybe have a great book on like how to what is this kind of ridiculous reason. But say I could write a book on how to brush your teeth once and never have to do it again. Like it is a new technique or whatever and I am writing a whole book about it. Like, how would I, if I was your client, how would you feel or how would you sell this platform?

Donna: So you are Jo Shmoe dentist in Bussey , Iowa , and I understand that you want to roll out a plan for a book that shows that people can only brush their teeth once a week and still not have tooth decay.

Jeff Rivera: Yes.

Donna: What you have to do is, and let us say you have been practicing that over the 20 years of your practice, and everyone in your town only brushes their teeth once a week, right? All right, fine, the first thing you would do is start to document that in some formalized way. Meaning making sure that you are interviewed by the local paper or local radio stations. The American Dental Association accredits you. You start going to the American Dental Association Conferences and speaking about your new theory. You publish a paper that is picked up by the Dental Associations and then Dentist, as such. You build consensus. You start being invited by other dentists or bigger dentists or the Chief Dentist grand approval of the United States that said, “Yes, Jim had a really great idea about it. And so on and so forth.” Therefore, you start building some sort of accreditation for your theory and networks.

So now, you have credibility and you have notoriety for such. You want to really get it out as much as possible. Then, let us say with your “one brushing a week program,” you have devised a special toothpaste and toothbrush for such. Now, ideally, you are making it out of your garage and your 12 year old packaging it and now you start contacting Procter and Gamble and saying, “Hey, this really works” and you get them to like then package your idea and make Dr. Jim Head toothbrush and then when that is done you go on QVC, you sell Dr. Jim Head’s tooth whitening brush and power paste.

Jeff Rivera: If you need help with your book promotion contact gumbomarketing@gmail.com and we'll find a way to help you within your budget.