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Platform Delving

Monday, September 21, 2009

Happy National Unmarried and Single Americans Week!ss27 What? You mean you’ve never heard of this week designated to celebrate single/unmarried adults in the U.S.? Well, don’t feel too bad, I hadn’t heard of it either when I happened to start researching the next topic that I want to discuss here. But amazing how it coincided exactly with the week (September 20–26, 2009) that I wanted to start getting a little more into my platform.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, or this is your first time visiting this website, I’m not married. Ever since writing the post I just linked to (“Thirtysomething and Never Been Kissed—Getouttahere!”), I’ve had more and more conversations with people from all over the world who are also single/unmarried and hearing how much they appreciate the fact that there’s someone out here who’s talking about it as if it’s nothing to be ashamed of—or a “condition” to be remedied as quickly as possible. In addition to that, I’m starting to hear from folks who are just as dissatisfied as I am with the way that “the church” treats unmarried people. In fact, I’ve had so much response from that one blog post that I considered starting a secondary (okay, third-ary) blog as a platform for the discussion of what it means to be an unmarried Christian in the 21st Century.

Ah . . . there’s that word again: platform. What exactly is a writer’s platform? In discussing this term with some other published authors, I learned that this idea came out of nonfiction publishing. For nonfiction writers, having a platform—a certain area of expertise and/or a certain audience they’ve already cultivated—is essential to getting their submissions past the acquisitions editor’s desk. In the year between the time I signed with my agent and when I got my first contract, this idea had started to bleed over into the fiction side as well. On my proposal for Stand-In Groom (from 2006), here are the statements that come closest to defining a platform (in this case, an already-cultivated audience):

  • As an active, long-time member and former Vice President of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), I have direct contact with more than 1,200 members—national and international through the e-mail listservs and forums—who can market the novel by word of mouth, through church/community reading groups, through reviews on Amazon.com and Christianbook.com, and through well-read blogs. Through ACFW, I have contacts with some of the top selling authors in Christian fiction, many of whom may be willing to act as influencers.
  • As an unpublished author, I have already had the opportunity to teach at the 2005 ACFW National Conference (“Characterization for Visually Oriented Writers” late night chat) and through the monthly online courses (“Overcoming Writer’s Block” June 2005, “Stirring Up Your Setting” April 2006) and currently serve as the online courses coordinator through which I have high visibility through announcing and promoting courses and recruiting and working with instructors.
  • As a graduate of Seton Hill University’s Master of Arts in Writing Popular Fiction program, I also have contacts with authors such as RITA award winner Shelley Bates and secular romance writers such as Maria Snyder and Daphne du Maurier–winner Marta Dana who are members of RWA and local RWA chapters and could act as influencers outside of the typical Christian market. The school maintains a listing of graduates’ publications and publicizes these titles in the program’s marketing materials, with posters on campus, and by selling the titles in the campus bookstore.

That was, obviously, before my books were published and I started getting feedback on them. And it wasn’t until I got the review that prompted the Getouttahere post that I finally realized what my platform really is: singleness.

And the irony is that I’d already stated this platform long before I realized it was my platform:

My heart is, as it has been for more than twenty years, focused on writing light-hearted romances. But not just any romances. I like writing characters who represent a growing segment of the population that seems to be increasingly left out in Christian circles: women in their late-twenties, thirties, and early-forties (and even older) who have never been married and who want to be loved and accepted for who they are, not pigeon-holed into a category, labeled, or, as happens most often, shoved to the side and ignored/forgotten about by their churches, coworkers, or even friends and family. I’m writing to the women who, like me, expected to be married before they turned twenty-five (-six, -seven, -eight . . .), but who may find themselves now in their mid- to late-thirties or forties and have never even had a date or meaningful relationship.

I’m writing for them (me, actually) so we can hang on to the hope of finding a well-adjusted, loving, marriage-minded Christian man out there somewhere and having a “happily ever after” ending with him (with the optimism that he may be closer than we realize). I’m writing for the woman who, like me, feels most alone when she goes to church and sees all the married/engaged couples and families sitting together; who has to endure the family-focused activities, Bible studies, Sunday school lessons, and sermons (if you’ve never noticed, start keeping track of how often your pastor talks about families and/or marriage); who begins to feel it isn’t just the church that has pushed her aside and forgotten about her, but that maybe God has too.

So this week, I’m going to be delving into my own platform a little more—taking a serious look at what it really means to be unmarried in the 21st Century, especially from a Christian’s point of view.

16 Comments
  1. Ruth permalink
    Monday, September 21, 2009 1:52 pm

    What a great and timely platform! I sort of fit into the first age group you mentioned..thinking I would marry by 25 or 26. I didn’t meet my husband until we were both 28 and married at 29 (neither of us had been married before..all in God’s timing..). Now have been married 21 years and have 2 wonderful kids. I also think of my sister, who has been divorced (not because of her actions), that has a bubbly, friendly personality, and a very giving heart.. and I would love to see her find love again. I am going to send this link to her, so maybe she can follow your posts and platform too. BTW, thanks for great writing! Love your writing and can hardly put your books down once I start reading. I am one of our church librarians, so have put your books in our library and suggested you to some other avid readers too. Thanks! and God Bless 🙂 Ruth

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  2. greyfort permalink
    Monday, September 21, 2009 5:15 pm

    Kaye,

    I’ve been getting inundated lately with all sorts of information about being single. Which is fine, since I’m single myself. I think that people are starting to wake up to how the church has been treating us and maybe even change their attitude.

    On a very strange side note: I got asked for my phone number for the first time EVER on Saturday. If the guy calls, not sure I will go out with him. Depends on how the phone conversation goes. (I was a little taken back when he asked, so I did give it to him – never know what could happen!)

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    • greyfort permalink
      Monday, September 21, 2009 5:17 pm

      Oh and I meant to mention – just last week I came across a blog post about being single and adopting. Whoa are there some crazy Christians out there! (And I don’t mean the single ones….) – http://blog.christianitytoday.com/women/2009/09/adoption_single_christians_nee.html

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      • Monday, September 21, 2009 5:52 pm

        I was actually enjoying reading the debate going on in the comments until I got to this one:

        “To the writer,

        Am wondering, if a beautiful woman like you can’t sustain a relationship with a man (assuming that u tried), how will you care for a child???. Is it because this tiny human being is totally dependent on you that you will never have to change your thoughts and principle?

        This the crux of single-adoption or gay-couple adoption debate. Generally i find this group of people get into this state of life because of selfishness or self-centered nature.

        That’s the teaching in the Gospels. It’s about giving, not about receiving. Parenting.

        Posted By: Anthony Alan Lukose | September 16, 2009 11:19 PM”

        I actually had a physical reaction to that comment. I’m still so angry I can barely type.

        Thank you so much for posting the link to this article. It will be VERY helpful to me over the next several days!!!

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        • Monday, September 21, 2009 7:10 pm

          Yes Kaye, I should have warned you about some of the commenters. He says a few other gems. I seriously hope that he is just a teenage goober who is trying to stir up trouble and not someone who actually believes what he says. I didn’t know this blog existed until last week. I’ve been enjoying it.

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        • Monday, September 21, 2009 7:19 pm

          Unfortunately, Leslie, he’s probably at least in his thirties or forties—if not older. Reminds me a lot of “Dave” who left a couple of choice comments (though not quite as negative as “Anthony’s” on that site) on my Getouttahere post. And they wonder why single women complain about the lack of good Christian men out there!

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      • Monday, September 21, 2009 5:57 pm

        I had a feeling I wouldn’t need to reply to this moron’s comment. This one was just two posts below it:

        “Ladies and Gentlemen! For those of you who doubted the lack of good Christian men, I give you exhibit A — the above post from Anthony Alan Lukose!

        He, of course, has no trouble keeping them women in line, cause once you hit’em in the head and drag them them back to the cave, those ‘lil fillies fall right into line!

        Posted By: Janie | September 17, 2009 1:04 AM”

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        • Monday, September 21, 2009 7:44 pm

          Actually there was another guy that was, imho, more Dave like – who basically couldn’t understand why women were complaining that there weren’t many Christian single men.

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  3. Monday, September 21, 2009 6:47 pm

    Can’t wait to see your posts.

    And BTW, platform building scares me silly. That and the part you have to fill out about what million degrees in writing you have and how many classes you’ve taught. Great for folks like you who have those, but what about moi? The closest thing I did was write in a Christian teen girls’ magazine a few years back…and my blog. I don’t have a degree in writing, I’ve just studied REALLY HARD the last two years. Sometimes feel inadequate, like I’m going to get turned down just because I don’t have 4-8 years “formally” studying writing under my belt. Advice on how to fill that blank (other than go get a degree…which is not in the pic right now)?

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  4. Tuesday, September 22, 2009 12:06 am

    It will be interesting to see where the discussions of your posts this week will lead. I hope it goes as well as the “getouttahere” post!

    XOXO~ Renee

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  5. Laura in Texas permalink
    Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:14 am

    Kaye — Well said. Thank you for the thoughtful discussion of singleness and romance writing. You brought up points I wouldn’t have thought of. I’ve been married for 30 years to the same man (we were 18 when we married), but I have a dear, dear friend of my age who is single and your post gave me a little insight into what sorts of things might go through her mind.

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    • Tuesday, September 22, 2009 9:45 am

      Hi, Laura–welcome to the blog!

      I’m always very happy whenever I discover that in some way, I’ve shed a little light for someone on what it’s like to be unmarried, especially for those of us in the Christian culture where everything is so focused on marriage and children. If your friend is on the internet, send her over—I’d love to hear from her, too!

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      • Laura in Texas permalink
        Tuesday, September 22, 2009 5:33 pm

        I’m not sure if she is much, but I’ll mention it to her next time we talk. Mike and I married young, so we’ve always had single friends. I think we’ve been aware of many issues they deal with, but like I said, your post brought some things to mind that I hadn’t thought of before.

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  6. Thursday, September 24, 2009 10:23 pm

    Good to find this blog. I mentioned it in a recent post to my Living Single blog under “Some promising new discoveries”:
    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/living-single/200909/singles-week-spins-out-control

    –Bella DePaulo

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    • Thursday, September 24, 2009 11:13 pm

      Thank you so much for posting the link to this article (and for the mention!). The sites/articles/blogs you’ve linked to will be very helpful for me as I write more about this topic that’s so near-and-dear to my heart!

      Like

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