Should You Build Platform Before or After You Write a Book?

I’m often approached by clients who are ready to move forward with their books or book proposals, but they have not built author platform, a built-in readership for their books. In most cases, they don’t want to take the time to build platform before self-publishing, nor do they want to do this prior to approaching a publisher despite the fact that not doing so will hinder their chances of acceptance.

When is the right time to publish? No rule of thumb exists. No statistics have been proven that say, publish your book when you have 25,000 subscribers on your mailing list, 4,000 followers on Facebook, 6,000 tweeple on Twitter, 2,000 connections on LinkedIn, and 10,00 unique blog readers.  I do know that having at least some sort of built-in readership will ensure that you garner some sales when your pub date arrives.

I just landed a publishing deal and the sale and marketing team were happy with the fact that I have several thousand unique visitors per month. However, I have more than one blog and I publish posts in more than one place as well. I have tweeple, followers, connections, etc., and a small mailing list.

The larger you build you platform, the larger your sales will be. That’s the publishing success equation.

You can build platform as you go — and sales for your book — or you can build platform first and make a more sales when the book comes out.  It’s up to you. I think it’s better to build a decently sized platform first, but, like my clients, you may not want to take the time to build one first. I took me about 8 years… A platform can be build much faster though, especially these days. You must simply be willing to do the work. I built more of my platform in the last 4 or so years than I did in the first 4. Why? Because I became more committed to doing so.

And guess what? A publisher looked at it and said, “The time is right for you to publish a book.”

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