If you are thinking of becoming a published author and have been doing your research, then you know that marketing is key. In order to attract readers, you have to market not only your work, but yourself as well. In this digital age, whether self publishing or going the more traditional route, authors are expected to market themselves by creating a platform.
A platform is your tool, as an author, for creating a fan base, connecting with your target audience and making yourself visible. It is a measurable way for publishers to gauge how large of an audience you have been able to amass and what sets you apart from other authors. If you can show a publisher that you have a large number of people interested in your work, you are more likely to get published than an author with an unknown, unmeasurable audience.
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Do I Need to Build a Platform?
If your goal is to publish, then you will most definitely need to build a platform. You want to be able to show a publisher that you not only have a good product (your novel) but that you already have a market to sell it to (your audience). Foresight is key and you should begin building a platform as early as possible. Creating a platform is not something that can be done overnight, so don’t wait until your novel is finished, edited and ready to be shopped to publishers to get started if it can be avoided.
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A platform can be built offline, online or a combination of the two. An offline platform is made up of public speaking, classes taught, printed media, etc… This type of platform is the more traditional route that is slowly becoming obsolete as a sole means of marketing. An online platform consists of social media (blogging, facebook, twitter, etc…) and a website. With the major shift to social media over the last several years, this is the best way for an author to connect with a large audience. Social media allows you to connect with subscribers and followers in places you may not otherwise be able to reach. It also allows the target audience to feel more connected with you as an individual.
Once you have built your platform, your work is not done. It is important that you take an active role with your audience. The more you interact with and respond to your audience the more interested they will be. Keeping your audience’s interest is just as important as getting their attention to begin with.