Some of what I’ve learned about creating a platform was covered in my last post. And yes, it’s a lot of work. Sometimes tedious and often seeming like a never-ending task that yields few results.
But it’s a huge mistake to ignore the need for a platform. There are good reasons to make the investment of time into platform building:
1. Authors who have good-sized platforms are more likely to land contracts with publishers who will pay the costs of publishing, otherwise known as traditional publishing.
Think about it: book publishing is a risky business. Why would a publisher put up his money to publish your book if you can’t give a solid reason why enough people will buy it so the publisher at least doesn’t lose any money?
2. If you end up paying the costs of publishing yourself, you’ll also be doing all the marketing yourself. Even with a traditional publisher, you’ll be responsible for a lot of the marketing.
3. If you have hundreds of followers to your blog, you’ve got a group of people who already like your writing. These are people most likely to not just buy your book, but to tell other people about it.
4. The process of platform building will also grow your network of contacts with other authors. This network is a great source of book reviews, guest posts on their blogs, and cross promotions.
5. You can ask your loyal subscribers to help with your launch, by buying the book on a specified day (to get your sales ranking up), by telling others, or coming to a book signing.
6. Having a good sized platform will also make it easier to get other authors to partner with you, whether you plan on doing joint book signings or just cross promote to each others’ lists.
7. They say that there are only six degrees of separation between any two people on the planet. That means if you want to make contact with a famous or influential person, the larger your platform and network of contacts, the more likely one of them knows someone who knows someone who can help you.
These reasons are just a start of why authors need a platform. I can tell you from experience that I didn’t have much of one when I published, and the sales reflected that fact. Without a platform, you’ll be trying to swim against a tsunami to try to get some momentum going for your sales. Platform building is a slow process, so make sure you spend a little time every week working on yours.