“Platform, in a nutshell, is your ability to sell books based on your visibility to the intended readership. If you’re a total unknown, then you may be turned down for lack of a platform to support your book’s publication,” writes Jane Friedman in her (indispensable and outstanding) blog at JaneFriedman.com.
As self-publishing becomes more and more viable, authors learn early on that a good author platform is key to finding that elusive book deal. And the advice we get to build it ranges all over the map. Jane offers some great advice on how to balance “the numbers game” with a realistic approach to platform building. She also cautions against three things that will undermine your efforts…but are often touted as being important:
- Focusing on superficial indicators like number of likes and size of list.
- Too much focus on social media growth, at the expense of creating work people want.
- Rushing the timeline.
“The good news is that authors can build a platform by engaging in activities that are most enjoyable to them—because if they’re not enjoyable, you won’t continue doing them for the time required to see any kind of pay off,” she advises.
“If you build platform only as a means to an end, it generally fails, and that’s why I tend to get cynical when authors try to do it only in service of securing a book deal. It doesn’t reflect an understanding of the much bigger picture: the tremendous value of being visible to your audience.”
The post is well worth a read if you are looking to build your own platform.