The term author platform gained traction in the book publishing world alongside the rise of self-publishing. Essentially, it refers to your ability as an author to sell books based on your audience — who you can reach and convert into paying customers. Traditional book publishers were looking for authors with a large platform to help with marketing efforts. Nonfiction writers with a built-in author platform had a greater chance of getting a book deal, especially with larger book publishers. An author platform offers influence, which gives authors a leg up when it comes to book marketing efforts.
For book publishers, though, the author platform comes down to numbers: social media followers, email list subscribers, relationships with influencers (and thus their numbers).
Regardless of your path to publication, though, an author platform matters. Essentially, it all comes down to one simple nugget:
Visibility begets visibility. - @jodibrandon
Your book will surely be a part of your platform once it’s published. But you need to build your author platform long before that. Every day, do something to build your author platform. Some days this will involve bigger tasks like recording podcast interviews. Other days it will be smaller tasks like being present and engaging on social media or attending a local networking event. Just keep pushing the needle forward, day by day.
Need some other ideas? Here are just a few to get your creative juices flowing:
Publish regular blog posts on the topic your book covers
Write and publish articles in industry-related publications
Start a YouTube channel with topic-related videos
Consistently post on social media (on whichever platform(s) your audience spends their time!)
Every day, do something to build your author platform. - @jodibrandon
While this sounds like you’re just adding more work to an already-full plate, I have good news. You’ll find that many of these tasks are twofold: While growing your platform, many of these also fall under the umbrella of pre-launch activities for your book marketing efforts.
As a business owner, you understand that visibility is critical — and that visibility begets visibility. You need to broaden the scope when your book comes into play. How does your book fit into your overall business and author brand? If you are clear on your goals, this will make perfect sense. There’s a necessary mindset shift from business owner to author when you’re writing and publishing a book to use as a marketing tool for your business, and this comes into play as you think about your author platform. All of the puzzle pieces must work together, lest it look like you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping something sticks.
Once your author platform is established, you need to nurture that platform so that it grows. Continue to do what works, and refine your plan as needed. The daily investment of time and effort will be worth it as your watch your author platform grow.