Platform Building 107: Develop Your Career Plan

Janalyn Voigt, Author of Novel Books, continues the series on Platform Building.

Just about everyone who bakes has ruined a cake–too much baking powder, not enough sugar or mixing for too short a time. Cakes fail for a lot of reasons. So can goals and dreams.

Most of us use a recipe to insure the ingredients and processes perform well together. Others choose to improvise.  Improvising creates a cake of great originality, but at a greater risk of failure. As a creative cook myself, I base my confections on tried-and-true recipes which I once followed to the letter.

To establish a writing career, you can either follow a prescribed path or chart your own adventure. The choice is yours. The risks are also yours. But start with a basic “recipe” tested by others. That way you’ll know what you’re doing when you step out on your own.

A cook first decides what type of cake to bake. A chocolate cake calls for different ingredients than a vanilla cake. In the same way, ingredients for success vary. You should choose a “recipe” that appeals to you, matches your calling and compliments your personality.

Even if we follow the same recipe, your cake will turn out differently from mine. Maybe you round your cup of flour and I level mine. Perhaps you add extra vanilla or chocolate, or have different-sized eggs. Like snowflakes, no two cakes are exactly the same. (Have you ever wondered how they know that about snowflakes? But I digress.)

A good cook selects a recipe, determines the expected yield, sets the oven, prepares the right-sized pan, gathers ingredients and follows a plan. In the same way you can develop a balanced plan to turn your goals into a platform and a career.

More detail later, but for now your plan should include:

  • Type of writing.
  • How to establish a readership.
  • How to market and promote your writing (and time commitments to all these tasks.)
  • How to proceed, step-by-step over the number of years it will take to meet goals. Allow for flexibility and spontaneity. Let the Lord guide.
  • Scope of your expected reach: national, international? Your books made into movies? Topping bestseller charts? Or content to self-publish and sell to a smaller crowd?
  • Degree of intensity to “bake” your “cake?” Formula: amount of work + time allotted = degree of intensity.
  • Time estimate to meet each goal?


 Create a master plan for your writing career and platform development, using goals you’ve brainstormed and refined. Next time we’ll talk a little about frosting. :o)

What are your writing goals? What specific path will you take to achieve them? How long do you think it will take you?

 This post first appeared on Author Haven,  December 8, 2009. Used by kind permission.

Janalyn Voigt writes  novel books. 

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press. Her publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008.  Visit her website at


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