Agents and Book Publishers Like Big Platforms.
Author/Speakers who can bring viewers/followers/fans through a TV show or readers through a popular blog/magazine have a professional edge. Authors/Speakers with a large platform of one kind or another appeal to publishers and agents. An author with an established audience assures that booksellers will take notice of the book, that the book will likely get media attention because audience feeds more audience, and that there are likely fans who will immediately buy the book—all good for the publishing business. For that reason, literary agents, book editors, and publishers look at the size of an author’s platform when considering a prospective author’s manuscript or proposal.
Now that you know what a platform is, how can you build one or expand the one you have?
Listed are some types of Author Platforms that can help you get noticed and a TIP for Success.
A Popular Blog – Large readership is key for a publisher to take notice. TIP: This can be accomplished by posting blogs on personal social media pages and Group Pages.
Guest Contributor- to successful websites, blogs, online magazines, periodicals, and TV shows. TIP: By connecting with authors with established platforms, you can build using their building-blocks.
Author Newsletters – regularly scheduled newsletters with loyal subscribers filled with platform-specific information. TIP: Adding your blog Guest Contributor’s link to your Newsletter will help to get it more extensive distribution and new followers.
Speaking Engagements – Speaking Engagements are great platforms because the audience is usually platform-specific and there to hear the speaker/author on their expertise/platform. Therefore, there is often a high book-to-audience member sales ratio. TIP: Use your Blog, Guest Contributors, and Newsletter as keys to network and open the door to Speaking Engagements.
Radio/Video Podcast Show – Popular radio hosts can sell many books. With the market increase in audiobooks, podcasts have become quite popular, and some podcasts are turned into books. Fans love to watch authors on video/audio podcasts. Syndication allows for even broader audience reach. Skype and Zoom make video podcasting easy for targeted audiences. TIP: Use your show as a key to get on other shows by inviting established hosts to your show. Then blog the show and share it in your newsletter and on social media.
Web Series – Writing about how-to to anything-imaginable can attain millions of followers. TIP: Writer about making your platform successful. End each series with a tip for the audience.
Social Media – Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest—likes/followers numbering in the six- and seven-digits capture a publishers’ attention. TIP: Rather than writing about yourself, write about your subject matter.
Television Show – the Holy Grail of platforms is a popular TV show. Even having a regular guest spot on a television show or News Channel as the “resident expert” raises an author’s profile and boosts their platform. TIP: Local TV Shows are looking for “interesting experts.” Become their resident expert who is “called back’ as a regular expert.
Writer vs. Author. Having a Book Helps Increase an Author’s Platform.
A published book helps to increase the author’s multiple platforms with opportunities to present the work and themselves as an author/speaker/expert in a variety of media. I have had clients ask me, “Will all this work promoting my writing and speaking really help me or is it just a waste of my time? If only 1% of all authors get conventionally published what are the chances of an Indi author like me getting picked up by a publisher? I have heard it is even more difficult than finding an agent and publisher.”
When writing my Memoir, Surviving Cancerland: Intuitive Aspects of Healing I connected to and continued to build my platform using all the Platform Sources and TIPS shared above, as seen in my Patheos blog Writing Your Spiritual Memoir.
My hard work paid off a few months ago when a well-known publishing company became aware of my Indi-hybrid-book through social media and offered me an Audio Publishing Contract with a nice advance. Suddenly the Conventional Publishing community was pursuing me. No queries. No Book Proposals. No nothing! It felt good. So, to answer my client’s question, “Yes, focused hard work with a purpose does pay.”
Building a platform takes time. Not all of these methods will be of interest or relevance to you. Some may jump out as practical and feasible, while others may not.
Choose a few that you already have in place and build on them. Stay focused. Show impressive success in some areas rather than minimal success in all areas. And remember, build a platform that is strong enough to stand on. Yes, I know I ended the sentence with a preposition, but it felt too good to change. Sometimes being a little wrong is so right.