Having An Author Platform is More Important Today than Ever Before
Writing a book is far from being easy. It’s only one part of the process and what follows is also quite a challenge, but the likelihood of a publisher or agent taking you on as a client increases if you have an author platform. This is a crucial part that you must start building early enough in the process. To truly appreciate what an author platform brings to the table and the value it adds to you as an author, we must first look at what an author platform and what it really means for an author to have a platform.
What is an author platform?
An author platform is hard to define, but it mainly refers to the exposure that an author receives because of who they are. In other words, you’re ability to market you as an author, your book, and what you’re doing to make this happen.
Jane Friedman’s definition is to me straightforward and efficient. It’s “an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.”
To have an author platform, you need to build an audience, and that audience and how you reach out to them is what defines your platform. When I say that it has to do with who you are, I really mean you as an author and a person.
A common mistake is to think that an author platform is only your Social Media presence. Well, It’s only one part of the big picture. It can be your Website, your blog, your face to face with your readers, your ability to be on radio or TV. It’s the impact/exposure you have that will lead to the sale of your book. Finally, when authors market their book, they also market themselves as an Author, but also as a person especially if the story is something you’re familiar with.
An author platform is vital to anyone who will write non-fiction and is becoming more and more important if you write fiction and you’re not established. For fiction writers, your story and writing will always be what’s most important, but then agents or publishers will google you and see what you’re made of. So more than ever, an author platform is important.
Importance of the author platform
An agent or publisher is more than likely to take you on as a client if they are assured of your demand value. Unless you are an established author with a strong credibility or a celebrity, then your writing and story is the only thing you can showcase, and sometimes it’s not enough. Having a solid following, however, assures the agent or publisher of your demand value. It shows that as an author, your work is appreciated by enough readers to ensure sales once published on a commercial scale.
Improves your credibility
In this day and age, basically, anyone can claim to be an author. With the right material, people can publish books and certify themselves as authors. To the agent or publisher, that is not a guarantee of your expertise. Having a book out there does not mean that you are a successful or promising investment. Having an author platform, on the other hand, proves to the publisher or agent that you are a credible investment. Your platform acts as proof of the authenticity of your work and as a testament to its quality. Certainly, the larger the platform, the higher your value increases.
Provides a ready market
Having an author platform gives you an already established market that you can use to promote your work. Is this of any benefit considering the publisher or agent will be doing most of that? You cannot place full reliance on the publisher or agent to market your work. Furthermore, they cannot guarantee that after marketing your work, it will fare well in a new market against already established authors. A lot of the marketing work will fall on you, so it is important that you have an author platform, which provides a market for your work.
As mentioned, your author platform can act as an avenue to reach out to more people. If you have an author platform, you can use this as a stepping-stone to drawing in more readers into your following. Most times, if your work is truly exceptional, you will not have to ask your readers to help you bring in more people into the fold. Instead, your work will do all the talking for you, and you will find your platform growing. If you need a good system to sell your book, I do recommend to read Tim Grahl’s “Your first 1000 copies.” It’s a great book.
As an author, there may come a time when you need fresh ideas for new books. An author platform might come in handy in such a situation. Your readers might offer some useful insight into what they want from you or what they expect of your books and characters. Do you, for instance, need a book series for a certain title? If so, how would the sequels progress? What is expected of the main characters and how can you keep the readers glued to your books? They can generate ideas for a sequel, and it will give you an idea of what your readers want from you. Also, the more you see this kind of comments, the better it is because it means they are involved in your story. At the end of the day, you remain the author, but it’s a great connection for you to have with your readers.