So You Want to Be An Author Who Sells Books? Step One is Platform Prep

by @thewritermama on January 25, 2010 · 9 comments

Platform development is an inside job. Despite what you may read online about how you can slap together one lickety-split, resist the temptation to do just that. The same goes for the latest online trends everyone is rushing to get in on. You’ll get to them. But first comes platform planning. ~ From Get Known Before the Book Deal, Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Online Platform (Writer’s Digest Books)

Here’s where you want to be by the time your book launches. You want to be:

Recognizable: Not just new to your audience, but already recognized by your audience

Credible: Not just somebody who has a niche, but the go-to person on the topic or in your genre

Omnipresent: Not just visible, you want to be everywhere

And you want to accomplish all of this before your book is even written.

Kind of a tall order?

Well, simply put, if you are not recognizable, credible, and omnipresent by the time your book launches, you’re going to have your work cut out for you after the launch.

And I can predict without even knowing you that if you don’t have these three qualities set in motion before your launch, then you will likely be disappointed after your launch.

How are you going to prepare to build your platform in a smart, steady way that will position you as you want to be by the time your book is ready to launch?

60,000 words, 264 pages, and thirty-six exercises [Amazon link].

All as far in advance of your book launch as possible.

Because clarity about your platform before you build it is the warm-up exercise for the real race. The book promotion race.

And if you are not in shape when the time rolls around for it, all I can say is that you will wish you were.

Of course, there will still be plenty more to do once your book is written. But clarity about what you are doing and what you hope to accomplish before the book is released is definitely the first step.

Certainly, if you hope to avoid author overload, you definitely need to ramp up your platform before your book launch.

Come back tomorrow for the next step.

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  • excellent advice…the book is a bible! and I’m not even an author (at least not yet) but any creative entrepreneurship requires the same attitude. Raise your voice to raise your least that’s one way to put it!

  • Rinse and repeat. Platform and voice. If you persist the momentum builds and new opportunities present themselves. This is good advice. Thanks, Simon.

  • This is something that I see argued by unpublished writers a little too much. They don't see any reason to learn about the industry. They don't see any reason to build a platform. They don't understand even the basic necessity of having a web page of some sort associated with their name and their work. And even if they do blog/ tweet/ whatever else, they don't know why they're doing it or how to do so effectively. They mistakenly think that all of this just “comes together” once you have a book deal.
    I'm glad you're here to debunk a few myths, Christina.

    I recently came up with a formula for prosperity that I thought you might like, which I'll explain in more detail in an upcoming response to one of your prompts. But here it is, based on the familiar 2 + 2 = 4:
    The 2 P's, Platform & Presence, plus the 2 P's, Persistence & Practice, equals Prosperity 4 you.
    As with any basic formula, it won't work without all the necessary elements. 🙂

  • christinakatz

    Happy to debunk, Lydia. You PPPP formula sounds similar to my 4 Ps from Writer Mama. Let's see: preparation, practice, professionalism & poise. 🙂 Platform and persistence make good additions. 🙂

  • teresaklepinger

    I went to your Northwest Author Series workshop on Platform last year. It gave me the kick in the pants to start a blog and arrange some school visits even while my manuscript was in the submission phase. I'm sorry to say it still hasn't been accepted, but my rejections have moved from postcard form rejections to personal email letters. I think working on my platform, and demonstrating that in my cover letters has made a difference!

  • christinakatz

    Your welcome. 🙂

  • christinakatz

    Nice to hear, Teresa. I hope that you will come back to the Northwest Author Series soon. 🙂

  • I agree… Building a platform and an audience takes time and effort. Sometimes its even a trial and error method or just keep trying.

    I've seen that most authors think of marketing or promotion only after the book is written. Also we are human enough to believe that are work is great and will just sell itself. But branding yourself as an author before the book is published can take your book to an all new high.

    Thanks for pointing it out Christina 🙂

  • GregLang

    Wow, this is the kind of advice a first time writer needs. Thank you. I've got some work to do! Just curious, how long did it take you to write Get Known Before the Book Deal? Amazon should be delivering my copy in a few days. =)

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