Platform. Got One? You Need One.

Author Platform by Jann Alexander ©2015_0847

What You Need: An Author Platform by Jann Alexander ©2015

“Platform is a very helpful thing.”  Tweet:

Karlyn Hixson, St. Martin’s Press  

Platform—as in Author Platform—was the buzz word that rolled off the publishing lips of every industry professional and successful author at the two-day Publish15 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

The question, from many in the audience who came to learn about how to get their books published, was, say what? As in, what is an Author Platform?

Turns out you need one before you publish your book. Before you even finish writing your book. And especially before you start shopping your book around to agents or publishers.

And most of all, you need one when you start marketing your book, whether you are self-published or traditionally published by a big house.

So What is an Author Platform?

Here it is in a nutshell, concisely provided by Karlyn Hixon, a marketing manager for St. Martin’s Press:

Your Author Platform Consists of:

  • Author’s Website
  • Author’s Blog or Newsletter
  • Author’s Social Media Presence
  • Author’s Profiles

Author’s Social Media Presence on Twitter, Google+ and elsewhere:

  • Where you can share your website and blog content
  • Where you can interact with those who care about your content

Author’s Profiles:

  • Amazon
  • Goodreads
  • Google+

Your author platform is the launching stage for all the good things to come from trying to interest a literary agent in repping you, or when angling for a book deal with a sweet advance from a traditional publishing house, or when your self-published book hits the ebook sites with a ready buying audience.

For a noted industry expert’s sweet explanation of why it matters, what your author platform is, and isn’t, and how to build it, read Jane Friedman’s take.

It’s what you’ll want to have staked out well in advance: a community of like-minded supporters who care about what you care about, and what your book is about. These are the folks who stand ready to seed your nascent publishing dream, and to keep reseeding it.

“Always be focused on your one—three talking points.”  Tweet:

—Christopher Klim, The US Review of Books

Seeding? Reseeding? Yep, those are marketing buzz words from author, editor and publishing pro Christopher Klim of The US Review of Books at Publish15, who wants you to control  your message and “always be focused on your one-three talking points.” You do understand your book’s dominant message, and that you’ll need to be active about marketing your book, right? 

What’s your marketing strategy for your bestseller?

Read all the posts in the Path to Publishing series HERE, gleaned from the publishing industry experts at the two-day Publish15 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Find the sources for this post on Twitter: @klimauthor  @kehixson  @publish15con  @austindetails

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21 replies

  1. It ls a numbers game. Always has been. Sales usually do not happen in a vacuum. Anything worthwhile whether be a product or idea needs a very focused message. Your insights as noted above provide a excellent road map to start.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the concise wrap-up. I’m on a draft edit of a novel – going into year 3. Hard to think about a platform at this point, but probably good to be reminded about this part of the gnarly project.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Jann, I have shared this article on all of my social media channels as it’s a great resource for writers (and a compelling argument for those who are on the fence).


  4. Thankfully I’m not worrying about this because I’m not writing to earn money.

    However my niece a romance writer. I think some of her tweets are quite personal and may puzzle a ton of strangers…. twitter feed is hooked to her promos of her books.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Not sure that’s the way to go either, Jean, as you’ve indicated, the tweets that are puzzling may not be that successful. I’ll note that having an author platform isn’t about earning money; it’s about being heard. And once heard, perhaps, if the gods aren’t crazy, perhaps the fruits of the labors are earned.


    • Thanks, Dan, glad you found it helpful. There are a few more posts in that series too . . . with more still to come. You may reblog this, and thanks for asking first. I hate being reblogged without permission. Am I creative-possessive? Maybe.


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