Posted by Linda
Simply said, platform is all the little activities, publicity, and ways you reach out and connect to your audience. Many publishers and agents won’t even consider your work if you have no platform. It often determines whether you get a contract or a rejection.
Do you just want to write or do you also want to sell? Platform sells books. Do you know your audience and have a way of communicating with them? Most of us solicit family, friends, and neighbors as our first audience. That isn’t enough. Your audience needs to grow to thousands. Sounds overwhelming, but know that it can be done. It takes time to build a platform. If possible, begin before you write the book or proposal.
What does platform include? It includes anything that connects you with potential readers and buyers. First, know your audience. “Readers” as a platform audience is much too general. In my case, my art appreciation narrows down to teachers, students, children, parents, grandparents, and anyone associated with art museums.
Use social media, website, and blogs to attract your audience. If you don’t want to set up a blog of your own, be a guest blogger. Establish yourself as an expert about your subject. An expert doesn’t mean you have several degrees; it just means you are well-versed on the subject and can discuss it.
Begin to gather names and addresses for either snail mail or email. Create a newsletter. Solicit speaking engagements, teach workshops, write articles, and conduct book signings. Join organizations related to your subject. Volunteer for any opportunity that exposes you and your book to interested readers. Speak wherever anyone will have you.
I’ve spoken at book clubs, newcomers, and a Ghost Town Club besides elementary classrooms. Finding and lining up organizations takes time. However, once you get started, the word spreads. As an example: I spoke on behalf of my book at a retirees’ meeting; a member approached me about speaking to her book club; someone at the book club asked me to speak at the Ghost Town Club.
The internet is full of information on platform. Check it out.