When I started writing my book, the only platforms I knew about were the stages speakers stood on or lists of promises compiled by political parties. My focus was on writing the book. I figured I would worry about the publishing and selling part later.
I’ll tell you why in my next post. But first, let’s talk about what a platform is. If you picture an actual platform in your mind, what is its purpose? It’s to raise the speaker above the crowd so people can see him.
That’s what an author’s platform does: it elevates the author so people become aware of her and her writing. You want people to notice your book in the ocean of books that are published each year.
So how to you build a platform?
1. Start with a blog. You can set one up for free on sites like wordpress.com or blogspot.com. Just start writing. If you are a fiction writer, retell events in your life as if you were writing them as short stories. If you plan on writing nonfiction, write about your topic. (A side benefit here is that after a year or so, you may have a big chunk of your book written.)
2. Review books you’ve read and post these reviews on amazon.com, the Barnes and Noble website, Goodreads.com, and other sites for readers of your genre.
3. Get on Facebook. Create a page and start making friends. From time to time, post something about your writing. Join some of the writers’ groups and start networking.
4. Get on Twitter and start posting. Try to contribute something of value, such as a link to a helpful article, or a comic video, or a motivational quote. If you want to find people to follow, try twellow.com. Follow back people who follow you, retweet some of their posts, and engage with people.
5. Find other people who blog about your topic or genre and comment on their blogs. The idea is to build a relationship with them. Offer to write a guest post for them.
6. Write articles or short stories and get them published in magazines, whether print or online. Not only will you gain readers and exposure, but you’ll get some publishing credits, and you may even get paid!
7. Start speaking on your topic. Collect names and email addresses of the people in attendance, so that when your book is ready to launch, you can let them know.
These are just some ideas to get you started. The main thing to keep in mind is you want to get as many people as you can aware of your work and wanting more.