Establish Your Author's Platform
Instructor: Patricia Fry
|You choose when to start!
|Authors at any stage of their fiction or nonfiction book projects.
|Students should have a book in progress, a completed manuscript or a published book.
You hear a lot these days about the author's platform. What does this mean? First, a large majority of traditional royalty publishers require that their authors have a platform—a following, connections, a sphere of influence and name recognition within the genre/topic of their book. A publisher wants to know that you can attract readers for your book—that you have a built-in audience or can easily generate one.
If you choose to self-publish (establish your own publishing company) or go with a pay-to-publish service, you will still need a platform in order to position yourself and your book in the marketplace. As you are aware, readers of fiction generally choose books based on author name recognition and consumers of nonfiction, are more interested in the author's level of expertise and/or experience.
In this highly competitive publishing arena, not only is it necessary for the author to adopt bookselling strategies, he must groom himself as a representative for his book. He must back up his book with the appropriate elements of influence. How? By establishing a platform and continuously building on it.
Authors need to ask themselves, "Why will people be interested in my book?" "What will entice them to buy a book that I wrote?" Not only will this course help you respond to these questions, it will coach and support you in establishing your personalized author platform.
Through this course, you will learn what a platform is, and how to identify the elements of your platform and use them to your benefit. You'll discover why it is important to continue building on your platform and learn how to position yourself as a trusted expert in your field or genre and how to develop a following.
Within the realm of bookselling, it isn't about the book as much as much as it is about the author and his or her sphere of influence. Let us help you to design your author platform which is a major step toward creating a successful publishing experience.
Session One: What is a platform?
Your author's platform involves your way of attracting readers. Your platform is made up of your expertise in the area of your book, your connections, your experience related to the genre or theme of your book. It is a measure of how well-known you are in your chosen genre/topic. You will receive tools for ferreting out the elements of your already-established platform so you can take advantage of them while pitching or promoting your book.
This session will include anecdotes to give you a clear idea of exactly what comprises a fiction and a nonfiction platform. We will provide real case scenarios reflecting how authors have developed their platforms and successfully use them.
Assignment: You will be asked to assess your current platform for your particular book and determine how these elements will assist you in landing a publisher and marketing your book. (You may be surprised to discover that you actually have the beginnings of a strong platform.)
Session Two: What should your platform look like?
This session is designed to help you examine your collection of marketable assets and determine what you need in order to develop a stronger, more effective platform.
I'll suggest various ways that you can compare your platform with those of other authors in your genre/topic. What does a successful platform look like? What can you do and what are you willing to do in order to develop a successful platform and how do you plan to use it effectively?
The purpose of this session is to help you develop a blueprint for your personalized author's platform.
Session Three: What are the first steps to building on your platform?
By now you know that creating and building on a platform is a process. We will begin the process of strengthening your platform through your natural skills (such as writing) and other activities that will expand your fan base. You will learn volumes about establishing and strengthening your author platform. This is a real hands-on experience.
Session Four: Step two in building a stronger platform.
We will continue the process of growing your platform through some specific activities, such as public speaking and creating spin off items. This class will include instructions, resources and the support you need in order to increase your reach and become even more widely known within your field or genre.
Session Five: Step three—exposure.
Shrinking violets and shy wallflowers will not transform easily into vibrant book promoters. This session covers the value of exposure and some of the many ways authors can attain it. But I will also speak to those authors who prefer staying in the shadows. There are steps you can take to create a fairly successful platform. But you must understand that, in order to succeed as an author, no matter your level of comfort or discomfort with the limelight, you will have to stretch and grow and be creative as you develop your author's platform.
The main focus of this session is exposure—what it is, how to attain it, what to expect from various levels and types of exposure and how your platform ties into the whole exposure theme.
Session Six: Write your platform resume.
This week we'll talk about how to represent yourself as an author to publishers, journalists, editors and your readership. You have worked hard to establish a platform, now you must use it to your advantage. What aspects of your platform should you include in a query letter or book proposal, for example? What would you write about yourself in a press release to a newspaper columnist, reporter, magazine or ezine editor? How much of your platform should you reveal when approaching a book reviewer, at your social media accounts, at your website and in your promotional material?
It's interesting to meet authors with impressive platforms, who have no idea how to use them to their benefit. This won't be the case for you, dear author. Not only will you emerge from this course with a stronger platform and the tools and understanding necessary to increase it as needed, but you will know how to use it to promote yourself and your book.