A platform is a necessity for a nonfiction author. It provides the foundation for your promotion plan, which you will put to use when your book is released. Without a platform, your promotion plan won’t be effective; you won’t have the visibility, reach, authority, or influence in your target market to help you sell books.
An author platform also convinces an agent and an acquisitions editor at a publishing house that you will and can execute your promotion plan. Without a platform, you are less likely to land a publishing deal.
You can create an author platform in a variety of ways. In Nonfiction Writing Prompt #25, you explored some of these as you decided how to “play big.
You may have decided to:
- Create an author blog
- Get involved on social networks
- Become a speaker
- Seek out media appearances
- Create your own radio show or podcast
Maybe you’ve participated in some of these platform-building activities in the past as well and garnered an audience, followers, readers, or listeners. That’s great!
But there’s more to author platform.
Platform also consists of your contacts, expertise, and any additional books you’ve written. Plus, you—who you are—add to your platform a well.
Here’s a great chart featured on www.thewritelife.com and created by editor Brooke Warner of She Writes Press as part of Brooke’s blog post about why author platform is so important. (I suggest you read it.)
Nonfiction Writing Prompt #26: Evaluate the Effectiveness of Your Author Platform
To complete this prompt, evaluate the effectiveness of your author platform. Do this by determining what platform elements you have in place and how strong they are.
For each one of the areas in Brooke Warner’s pie chart, determine if you have built any platform to date and, if so, how much. You can use numbers, such as the amount of followers you currently have on Twitter or the number of readers you have on your blog, or general information or descriptions.
Start by listing each category. Then place information in each category.
For contacts, wrack your brain for big names, people who are celebrities or thought leaders in your industry, who might help you or your book with testimonials or other types of publicity. (Think Oprah.)
Social media is simple. List all the social networks, and then take an accounting of the number of followers you have in each.
Media is easy, too. List the different media appearances you have made, if any. Include internet radio and podcasts.
List your previously published books, if any. If you’ve been in an anthology or compilation book, include this.
When it comes to personality, this is the “you” part I mentioned, and this is subjective. Are you positive, personable, outgoing, helpful, cheerful, and professional? Are you, or can you become, a media darling? Ask others to give you some honest feedback. Or look to the feedback you’ve gotten in the past when you have spoken in public.
Measure your existing readership in blog readers, subscription to your blog or newsletter, or books sold.
Ability to execute can be subjective as well. To a large extent you can determine this by the fact that you have built platform previously, have the funds for promotion, have contacts who will help you promote, have a background in marketing, or are simply a go getter and super willing and able to help sell your book upon release—or that you don’t have any one or more of these elements.
Look to your bio or CV for expertise. Then determine how you rank among thought leaders and experts in your industry.
How does your author platform measure up? Did you discover that your platform is stronger—more effective—or weaker—less effective–than you thought. What areas do you need to work on most?
If you have other ideas for how to play big, or if you want to share how you have started playing big as an author, please leave a comment below.
For more information on how to create nonfiction book ideas that are marketable and that support your writing goals, join the NFWU. When you do, you’ll receive this month’s Nonfiction Writers’ University (NFWU) homework assignment, which contains more exercises and information on this topic. Plus, you’ll have access to the growing archive of past homework assignments and NFWU teleseminars as well as some introductory gifts worth more than the membership! Join here at the low introductory rate!