What is an author platform?
The term author platform does not have an exact definition. However, it is most commonly understood as a foundation that provides writers with the visibility necessary to sell more books. It’s a method of gathering quality followers and building a strong network of people who are genuinely interested in who you are and what you have to say. Basically, an author platform demonstrates credibility and authority (who you are) in additional to providing visibility to target audiences (who you can reach).
Historically, manuscripts from writers who did not have an author platform would be rejected. Publishers only wanted writers who already had a public presence and a professional network that would facilitate book sales. Today, editors, literary agents, publishers, and consumers continue to seek writers who have an established following. As the publishing landscape continues to evolve with more competition and a surge of amateur writers and self-publishers, it is becoming increasingly important to have an author platform.
Why do you need an author platform?
If one of your objectives for publishing a book is to makes sales, then having an author platform will greatly increase successful results. No one will buy your book if no one knows you and your book exist. Whether you are self-publishing or working with a publisher, establishing an author platform is essential. It creates that paramount bridge between you and your readers.
The current reality is that big publishers don’t have the ability to connect directly with consumers. It’s a known issue. Your promotion falls on your shoulders. But this is where you should feel empowered, because readers don’t want to connect with your publisher, they want to connect with you. Ultimately, your author platform is your most valuable asset as a writer.
How to build and grow an author platform?
An author platform takes effort, time, and consistency to create. Online advertising and social media publicity can help build it, but they certainly do not define it. An author platform does not consist of begging anyone and everyone to pay attention, rather it’s about connecting with your network in intentional ways, it involves making your content visible and attractive to the right people.
The key is that every author is unique, therefore there is no set process for building an author platform. It will depend on your individual story, message, strengths, resources, target audience, and objective. However, here are some tips for building your personal author platform.
- define and know your brand and target audience
- distribute quality work and content in places that you want to be identified with and that your target audience frequents
- develop and engage with your target audience in concrete ways, for example through content creation, speaking and/or attending events, online promotion…
- continuously produce a visible body of work and make it easily accessible, for example with a blog, newsletter, video channel, podcast, social media…
- partner with peers, influencers, and/or relevant organizations, book clubs…
Dynamic and direct interactions with your target audience will feed your author platform.
Building an author platform is not easy. But keep in mind that two things remain true for all author platforms: consistent quality growth and meaningful audience engagement. And remember that the greatest advocate for your success is you. If you need assistance with starting and/or optimizing your author platform, please reach out HERE. As a hybrid publisher, we offer the necessary support and guidance. At Spring Cedars, your success is truly our success.