As a writer, your platform is very important to you. It will help you in pitching to an agent, securing a publisher, and ultimately selling books.
What is a platform?
Think of a platform as if you are standing up on stage, and you are reaching your book out to those who are listening to you. The larger the platform, the more people you have listening to you. The smaller the platform, lesser amount of people will be listening to you.
The first question to ask yourself is, “Why would people listen to you?”
Are you famous? Are you a popular athlete? Do you have a high profile job? Do you have a TV show? Are you a politician? Are you a popular blogger and have a huge following? Are you a Social Media giant?
Now your stage may not be as big as other people’s platforms. However, your platform may be larger than most. It all depends on how you have build up your platform. If you are the average person, you will have more work to do than someone who is famous. Some people try to get famous, to sell a book. Let’s use Balloon Boy’s parents as an example of platform. Because of their hoax, and the worldwide media attention, they have a huge platform. Unfortunately, their platform was built from an illegal activity, but nonetheless they have a huge, worldwide platform.
The next question is, “How do I build a platform?”
Start small and then gradually build it up. It takes times and there are many facets to a platform. It is like a giant spider web, or multiple spider webs stacked on top of each other.
FIRST, START IN THE CENTER:
Contacts: Who do you know? Start with a list of everyone you know. Write down their name, address and phone number of all your contacts. Think of friends, family, co-workers, relatives, neighbors, doctors, lawyers, insurance agents, and dentist. Anyone you come into contact with, on a daily basis. This is the nucleus of your platform.
NEXT, BRANCH OUTWARD:
Build a Website: Have a place where your contacts can go to get information about you, and your book. Even if you don’t have it published yet, you can still build your site and get the people you know to visit it. As you progress you can update your contacts.
Use Local Media: Use local media to be a springboard for one of the arms of your web. Write articles for your local paper or magazine. Also, you might be able to get them do an article on you.
Start Speaking: May authors give talks to certain groups to sell books. Regular speaking engagements are a way to build a platform and reach people who may buy your book. If are someone who can get up in front of people, then you may want to consider arranging talks with local groups. Think of those markets you can talk to, and who would be a good potential client base.
Volunteer: Find an organization, school, civic group, or business that you can volunteer your time. Once you get into the organization it may lead to speaking engagements. You may also be able to approach them once you have a book for sale. They might let you have an open house or hold a book signing there.
Social Media: Start with your list of contatcts. Join a social media group of your choice and then connect with as many contacts on your list as possible. The good thing about Social Media is that you now have the availability to connect exponentially with all of your contacts, contacts. Some of the most popular, right now are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, MySpace and Linked-in.
LASTLY, BUILD ON TOP OF EACH OTHER:
Keep building. Add more layers by increasing your efforts in each of these areas. Find new areas to branch out into. Start a blog, join different forums, or join the Chamber of Commerce. Whatever you do, keep spinning the web.
YOU CAN DO IT!
If you don’t have a platform, you can start to build one. It does take time and effort, but you can build up a good size platform for your book. You just have to find your niche and figure out the different angles you need to build up as many contacts as you can.
START SMALL – GROW IT BIG!