If you’re serious about publishing a book, you have probably heard the term “author platform.” Not everyone defines “author platform” exactly the same way, but the most important part of an author platform is the ability to communicate directly to your readers so they can buy your current or future book.
An author platform could include:
- website and/or blog
- an email newsletter (or at least a way to collect emails from readers even if you’re not yet sending anything regularly)
- social media
- podcast or YouTube channel
- speaking gigs
- TV/radio/media host
Getting an article or story published in a high profile publication can be used to grow your platform, raise your profile in the writing community, or get the attention of a literary agent but in my opinion, it is not a part of your platform because you can’t use that publication’s email list two years later when your book is available to email everyone who liked your article.
What you can do is include a clear CTA (call to action) in your bio or article that encourages anyone interested in your writing to connect with you directly on social media or by giving you their email address.
Author Platform = any place you have visibility and can communicate directly with readers
Why should you build an author platform?
For writers who want to be traditionally published here are the two most important reasons:
- Publishers want to see that there are people interested in you, your ideas, your story, your book.
- It allows you to communicate directly with readers when you have a book available for them to buy.
There are lots of other reasons it is worthwhile, but these are the top two from my perspective. Let’s break it down.
1. An author platform shows publishers that there are people interested in you, your ideas, your story, your book.
Having a cohesive and intentional online presence shows a publisher that you are approaching your publishing career as a professional writer who understands that you will have to contribute effort to promoting and marketing your future book. It also shows that you have done the work to understand your audience and know how to communicate with them in a way that resonates effectively with them.
If you’re writing fiction, it is not as crucial (but still worthwhile!) to have a platform before you query an agent. If you’re writing a book that might be categorized as “how-to, business, or advice” a platform is now mandatory.
2. An author platform allows you to communicate directly with readers when you have a book available for them to buy.
When you do the work to connect with readers who love your writing, your stories, your ideas then you have a group of people who can’t wait for your book to be out in the world. When you get permission to email them (because they signed up for your newsletter) they have effectively communicated to you, “I like the work you put out in the world and I want more of it.”
Then when you are ready to plan your book launch, you have a group of fans and supporters who will celebrate with you when your book is released.
If you want to launch your next or future book with a direct connection to readers who cannot wait to support your book by preordering, writing reviews, and telling their friends… you need to start now.
Building an author platform takes time and can’t be done in a few months. Don’t wait until you have a finished manuscript. Don’t wait until you’re ready to reach out to literary agents. Start now, start slow, learn as you go what works for you.
Use coupon code AUTHOR to save $100 on my video course, Build Your Author Platform to get started today.
This 8-lesson video course will help you create a realistic strategy to build your author platform and upgrade your author marketing without losing focus on your writing.
The goal of building a platform is to make it easy for your readers to:
- give you permission to communicate with them so they can know when your book is available to pre-order or purchase
- share reviews about your book
- recommend it to their friends (on social media and in-person)
Join my email newsletter below and I’ll send you a link to watch the first lesson of my video course for free so you can get started today building an effective author platform.