Marketing Your Self-Published Book – The Author Platform

What is an 'Author Platform'?
We all have a platform, whether we realize it or not. If you have a career, children, or even a hobby, you already have a 'platform' for those things. Your platform is how you prove to other people that you're good at what you do. A mother's platform would be that her children are healthy, well-cared for, and loved. A CEO's platform would be that his company runs smoothly, shows a profit, and has happy employees. An artist's platform would be a portfolio of their work, a presence within the community perhaps, and a loyal fan-base or following who purchases their artwork.

So the definition for an author with a platform would be someone with a visible presence and an active, target audience. The key here is that you can prove it.

Tools to Build Your Author Platform
I have read some people bashing social media as being useless to the growth of an author platform, and perhaps when used abusively, I would agree. On the sheer merit of allowing us to reach out to people whom we might not have the ability to reach – I think social media (and blogging to some extent) – have paid their dues and earned their rightful place as tools for furthering your career, engaging your readership, and building your platform.

This in no way implies that if you start a blog and get 100 Likes on your Facebook page, you're doing the platform thing correctly. Building your author platform is a career-long process. It starts with the first words you ever write, and continues to build momentum and size with every piece thereaftear.

An author platform encompasses things like who you know and maybe more importantly who knows you. Think about a time when you visited a website or blog and the author's work felt authoritative, compelling, and trustworthy. Now consider the amount of time it took to build that kind of reputation. I can assure you that it's not something that can be achieved in ten or even 40 blog posts. It takes time. A good platform supports the notion that you have a substantial body of work that is supported by your own community or network.

Building a platform is not a one size fits all undertaking. Yours will be as unique as you are. You need to be visible to your target audience, have authority in your field or genre, and be able to prove it not only to be taken seriously by potential publishers, but to be considered credible by your readers.

Your Platform is You
The most important way to build your platform, is through a body of work that is consistently distributed to your target audience. You may do this any way you like, but some ideas might be:

  • Attending (or speaking) at workshops and other writer events where you can meet other writers and readers.
  • Using online media, downloads, or podcasts to attract an audience for your writing.
  • Engaging with your readers through the use of special promotions, events, or content.
  • The use of a personal website or blog, social media, and a subscriber list to communicate with followers and distribute your body of work.

The days of building big lists of disengaged followers are gone. You want to maintain a targeted audience who will not only read your early work and form a relationship, but perhaps purchase a book or two when you're ready to cross that bridge. Bigger numbers do not always signify more authority or visibility so be careful if you're going down that road. If you want the people who will read your work to be interested in you enough to keep up with what you're doing from time to time, you have to be willing to give a little piece of yourself to the relationship.

The essence of this kind of identity is that it takes a very long time to create. It's not about numbers, it's about those relationships, and how you impact the people you connect with, both with your writing and with your physical or online presence.

Go for quality over quantity every time when it comes to readers and forging those relationships, and the engagement and readership that you build as a result will be more than substantial to support your platform as an author.

  • Posted by Patricia Ross
  • December 4, 2014 9:44 AM PST


  • Admin and Amethyst Creek like this
  • Amethyst Creek
    Amethyst Creek One's platform might also include other organizations in which you hold membership. Frequently they publish newsletters/magazines which feature author pages and spotlight publications of their members. While this allows authors to achieve greater...  more
    August 3, 2015 - 1 likes this - Report
  • Patricia Ross
    Patricia Ross Yes, that's another good way to build your platform, and it's a bit more personal than some of the online ways too.
    August 3, 2015 - 1 likes this - Report


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