As I continue consuming information to get Book Chats off the ground, I have come upon a new topic, the author’s platform. The Bookends Literary Agency has a YouTube Channel that I love. For the life of me, I don’t understand why they don’t get more views. They are sharing information that authors should crave.
Recently, I watched their video, How to Write a Non-Fiction Proposal, and they introduced me to the author’s platform. I had never heard of this idea before, though I quickly discovered that I was familiar with the idea. It is all about marketing.
By far the best definition I found was on Jane Freidman’s blog:
Author platform is one of the most difficult concepts to explain, partly because everyone defines it a little differently. But by far the easiest explanation is: an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.A Definition of Author’s Platform by William Pearce
The author’s platform is the ability of a writer to sell books just because of who they are. In today’s world, this is about social media. But how does a new author, who is worried about bills and the next contract, go about building a platform?
Many authors follow the Ferengi idea of “exploitation begins at home.” They have built quite a following friends and family, gotten to know like-minded bloggers or folks in their writing circle. Then they get a literary agent or worse, a book contract. Suddenly their social media feed is filled with book promotions. At first, their friends are elated. Soon they notice that there are no personal pictures anymore, just book covers and Amazon links. This quickly becomes dry and impersonal.
I have seen this several times. The author is publishing books but feels lonely and isolated. The friends they thought would support them enthusiastically have gone silent instead.
People want to know that you are human, so stop and smell the roses. Go to your kids’ soccer games, eat lunch, sit by your dog (or cat). Be sure to share the picture. Include a selfie with the roses in the background. Let people into your world. Build relationship with them. In the end you will sell more books and you and your audience will be happier.
Here at Book Chats, I am going to start putting these lessons into operation. I need to build a platform to distribute the podcast, but I can’t forget that I got into this because I enjoy getting people to talk about the things that they love. First, I have to learn how Twitter and Instagram work. That’s my next hurdle.