When building a house, no one would start with the walls or the roof. The first step is in preparing the ground and building the foundation that carries the home. Same with your publishing endeavor, you start from scratch to build a platform.
Platform, a buzz word these days… “What’s Your Author’ Platform”? the famous question you will be asked by agents and publishers before they even consider to read your query or manuscript.
“I am sitting in a nice restaurant in San Francisco with all these executives of a major publishing house. It’s one of these power dinners of lore. We are to discuss the upcoming launch of my book, and I’ll never forget what happened. They asked me, “OK, Trey, what are you going to do to market this book?” You could have knocked me over with a feather. My young publishing life flashed in front of my eyes… I ended up putting together a robust launch campaign. Luckily I already had thousands of people who came to my blog every month, a healthy Twitter following (this is before Google+) and a great network of people to help. I did everything, including….”
So, what are the essentials of a platform?
- Blog / website with a large readership
- Guest blogging to successful websites, blog, magazines, and other media
- Public speaking – the bigger the better, however at least at your local library
- Smart connected social media presences (Google+, Twitter, FB, LinkedIn etc.)
- Forum memberships, starting with Goodreads, Bibliophil, Wattpad …
- Media appearances/interviews online and in print, TV, radio
- and …. more than one book!
Even if your book is excellent, has received great reviews, a marvelous cover – if readers don’t know about it, you are stuck.
And if you go with a major publisher and they would receive – within three month from your books’ launch – lots of unsold copies returned by the bookstores, they would never publish anything from you again. That’s why they ask, “how will you market your book” or “what’s your platform.”
You might think, this is the publishers job. Not even for very famous authors they will do the blogging or social media part, they only advertise celebrities way more than unknown writers and pay for exposed space in bookstores, or send these authors on book signing tours.
Publishers will do:
- editing, transforming a good manuscript to a great one
- design the book (layout) and its cover
- organize the printing process / e-book formatting
- distribute your book in stores, speciality retailers and online
- carry out all the necessary book keeping with retailers and your royalty payments
Publishing houses laid off a huge amount of their staff within the last years. Remaining over-worked publicists are not able to give your book’s marketing the attention it needs.
Jane Friedman, e-media professor and former publisher of Writer’s Digest brought it to the point: “Getting a book published does not equate to readership. You must cultivate a readership every day – and start today. Audience development doesn’t happen overnight, or in six months or a year. It continues for as long as you want to have people read your books.”
Without having a clear idea of which methods of promoting yourself and your work are really worth the investment of time, you might be tempted to avoid the subject entirely. But in today’s publishing world, neglecting your platform, even before you have a book deal, can be a precarious mistake. The most successful authors are those who have created ways of finding lasting fans – and of reaching out to new ones every day.
Spend less time promoting – and more time writing.
Most writers are not marketing specialists by trade, so if you need help and assistance in building a platform, read all our former blog posts or book us for a while (it’s just $98 for 3 months) to get all the individual support for your book and the knowledge, necessary to continue on your own. We studied for years e-publishing and book marketing, so that YOU don’t have to.
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- The Seven (Deadly) Sins to Avoid When Marketing Your Book (barefootbasics.com)
- Drive Successful Content Marketing with a 3-Part Media Plan (contentmarketinginstitute.com)