Thursday, July 6, 2017

Do you have an author platform?

If you plan to publish only a few copies of your memoir for family and friends, you probably don’t need a platform.

But if you hope to (1) self-publish your memoir, or (2) find an agent, or (3) find a publisher, (4) and sell your memoir, you need an author platform.

“You can’t assume that the act of printing a book equates to developing a sizable readership,” says Dan Blank.  “[T]oo many writers cannot see beyond the publication of their book.” That means you need a platform.

A platform helps you connect with people, to establish relationships with them.

A platform gives you visibility, an audience. It helps people find you
  • people who will be interested in your story,
  • people who will buy your memoir,
  • people who will tell others about it.

Dan Balow, blogging at the Steve Laube Agency, says that a "message platform” is “the first step for developing the author platform….” A message platform, he says, “must be in place before you get a website, Facebook page or start a social media effort.”

“Unless an author has a clear message platform,” he says, “they will be frustrated and discouraged when trying to assemble a large number of devoted social media followers.” 

Dan explains that a message platform differs from an author platform in this way:

Message Platform + media = Author Platform.

So, with that in mind, we must first build a message platform, which we accomplish, Dan says, with “a consistent message, delivered creatively, one that attracts readers and followers and meets the expectations they have for you.”  

Dan also points out that “Most authors have no idea what their message platform is until someone else tells them. If you try to figure it out yourself, you are engaging in a form of self-deception. We never see ourselves as others see us. Ask someone who will be honest. Don’t ask close friends or family. They will be nice and usually agree with whatever you say.”

If you want to develop a message platform, study Dan Balow’s three blog posts:

Sarah Bolme offers detailed advice for developing your author platform, which she defines this way: “Having a platform simply means that you have an audience—a group of people—who listen to what you have to say.... because you are saying something different from everyone else, something that resonates with them. As a result, these people trust you and share your message with others. When this happens, you develop influence with this group of people.”

“To be effective at building a platform,” Sarah continues, “you must first identify who your target audience is and what your unique spin on your topic is.”

You’ll want to read Sarah’s post, Do You Have a Platform? and get to work answering questions in the following categories: 
  • WHO is your target audience?
  • WHAT is your unique message?
  • WHERE will you hold your audience?
  • HOW will you build your platform?

Sarah gives this final advice: “Don’t rush out to start building a platform (developing an audience) until you have identified who your target audience is and what makes your message different from all the others out there on the topic. You can’t get to your destination if you don’t know where you want to go.” 

Dan Blank offers additional help in his post, The First Steps to Building an Author Platform

He covers detailed information about the following first steps in developing your author platform:

  • Understanding Your Goals
  • Identifying Your Brand (including how you represent your authentic self, how your personality makes you unique, and how your brand can be visual)
  • Understanding Who Your Audience Is and What Motivates Them

Don’t miss Dan’s post! It’s packed with valuable, insightful info for you. Click on The First Steps to Building an Author Platform.

Brace yourself—
building a platform is a lot of work!

But you can also think of it as
the expansion of your passion for telling your story,

I like that!

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