If you are an aspiring author of any kind, you’ve probably heard the term “platform” thrown around and wondered, “What are they talking about?” And if you tried to get published or get a literary agent, their main objection would probably be (if you haven’t started) to build a “platform.” So, what do most publishers and literary agents mean by build a platform?
Well, most mean the ability to influence a group of people that’s large enough to make publishing a book less of a financial risk. Before 2006 and the advent of social media, audience-building meant you had to have a television show or radio show or write a regular magazine column or newspaper column. On average this required a lot of capital or the right contacts so you can be picked.
But today, by starting a blog and making use of social networking tools like Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, you can build an engaged platform with the investment of your enthusiasm, creativity and time. I’m not saying it’s easy, trust me, but I am saying it’s more possible than ever. So, go do the difficult work and build an asset you can reap the fruits from. (By the way, as a part of my social media strategy I consider my blog and newsletter to be my “stage” and social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., to be “arenas.”)
What can you do today to start?
- Start a Blog. Get a blog from wordpress, blogspot, or typepad. Or use squidoo or tumblr or a microblogging site. And muster the discipline to blog consistently.
- Build a Social Media Presence. This starts with 5 easy rungs. Yes, “rungs”! A rung is: “a rod or bar forming a step of a ladder.” And I believe what social media has done is formed something, an unprecedented opportunity (the step of a ladder) for people like you and I to extend and amplify our influence.
- Be Generous. Generosity should be your guide. It turns out in this connected economy, what people gravitate and relate to, is those who give of themselves. That “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (see Acts 20:35) is a brilliant marketing strategy and when you lead by serving and by giving, people follow.