A platform is the publishing industry’s term for how you will market your work. No matter what type of book you write or who publishes it, it’s important to develop a platform. If you have a traditional publishing contract, you may get some marketing support, but if you go the indie route, it’s all up to you. (However, most traditionally published authors still must spend a great deal of time working to build up their own platforms. I’m a good example of this.)
A platform can vary based on the content of your work and whether or not you write fiction or nonfiction, but here are some general examples of elements and metrics that a strong platform should include:
- Confirmed views and/or subscribers to your blog and/or newsletter
- Monthly (unique) visitors to your website
- Social media followers and interactions
- Existing client base (e.g. if you write a book about financial planning, to how many clients can you promote it?), or average audience size
- List of upcoming speaking engagements
Do you have any of these? If not, you really should. I’ve blogged about all of them at one point or another, so please look back at previous posts for ideas on how to get started.
Remember, if you want to make money as an author, the actual writing is just one small part of the job, at least until you get to Stephen King status. For the rest of us, for success to happen down the road, we need to roll up our sleeves and build our platforms now.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.