While some authors have fairly strong platforms established before they start writing a book, most don’t even consider their platforms. They simply decide to write a novel, a memoir or a self-help book and then wonder why they can’t find a publisher.
Publishers aren’t interested in authors without followings.
Some authors decide to bypass the traditional and they self-publish or go with a pay-to-publish company. Without a platform, they, too, flounder. (I know there are authors out there who are nodding their heads right now and muttering, “I wish I’d read this before I published my book.”)
Consumers can’t purchase a book they know nothing about and they will resist purchasing a book from someone they don’t know—who doesn’t have a track record in this particular topic/genre.
If you’ve spent any time studying the publishing industry, you know that authors must promote their books. But what many authors don’t understand is that readers would rather purchase their novels or nonfiction books from authors they know and/or trust.
Competition for authors is extremely fierce. In order to succeed as an author, you must have something up your sleeve that will convince readers to buy your book. The most reliable stimulus or motivation is your track record.
Think about it, who will buy your book? People who know you, know of you, trust you and/or enjoy reading what you write. These people make up your “following.” They are familiar with your work.
So how do you establish this following?
Start before you ever decide to sit down and write that book. If it is fiction—write stories and submit them to magazines, ezines and websites in your genre. This is not a one-time shot. Write stories every week for months or years. Submit, submit, submit! The folks who enjoy reading your stories will, most likely, purchase your book.
If your book is nonfiction, become known through articles published in appropriate publications and websites. Produce pamphlets and booklets to distribute to your audience. Get out and talk about your topic.
I have clients who see no point in operating workshops and giving talks until after they find a publisher for their manuscripts. But I can tell you that you will have a much easier time landing a publisher if you have established a platform (a following, a way of attracting readers) before your book is a book. And you will have a good start toward selling and promoting your book if you have already begun to establish yourself as an expert in your field.
There are many other ways to establish and build on your platform—what it boils down to is becoming known among your audience. This might mean creating a website, circulating a newsletter, public speaking, article/story submissions, joining appropriate organizations, starting an organization, volunteering, etc.—or all of the above.
I’m back from my vacation to Alaska—I’m suffering a cold, which feels like a bit of jetlag, as well. But, despite my workload, I plan to resume presenting you with a fresh blog post daily as I have for the last several years. For additional information about me and my work, visit my websites: And let me know when a blog post resonates with you.