Just How Important Is an Author Platform?

Go to any writer’s conference and you will hear the term “Author Platform” tossed around.

Just how important is an author platform?

Just how important is an author platform?

I have met more than one author who felt led to write a book. These authors began to write what was on their hearts. Then they attended a writer’s conference and heard from agents and editors that they needed a platform in order to be considered for publication by a traditional publishing house.

Many of these authors went home and threw themselves into developing a platform. They worked hard on posting on social media—sharing pictures, creating memes, and posting videos. Some developed the number of followers they were looking for, others did not. Most would agree that their focus became their platform and their writing took a back seat.

A few of these authors ended up receiving contracts for their books from a traditional publishing house. Most did not. Many ended up self-publishing.

Does an author platform guarantee book sales?

Here’s the rub. Most experts agree that the number of followers on social media does not translate to book sales. In other words, there are authors who have thousands of followers on social media, but they aren’t selling thousands of books.

Social media is just that—social. Just because someone likes what you post or followers you on social media does not mean:

  • That they read books.
  • That they buy books.
  • That they read books in your genre.

What’s the best way for an author to build a platform?

An author platform is not so much about numbers as it is about adding value. When you offer something that resonates with a group of people, they will buy what you are offering.

At a recent writer’s conference, I met a gentleman who told me that his wife has been battling cancer for the past decade. During this time, she has written a gratitude blog. The purpose of the blog was twofold. She wanted to remind herself to be grateful in the midst of her suffering, and she wanted to encourage others to count their blessings no matter what they are going through.

An editor at a Christian publishing house discovered her blog through social media. She began to read the posts. The result was that the editor offered this woman a book deal. Why? Because this woman was sharing a message that people desperately need.

Instead of trying to win as many followers as you can on social media to build your platform, focus on your message. Write what is on your heart. If it resonates with people, they will read it and come back for more.

By the way, I will be presenting Three Things to Do Before You Publish at the Write Stuff Conference in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Saturday, March 14. If you live in the area, I invite you to sign up for the conference.

Related Posts:
Are You Using This to Build Your Author Platform?
Proof! Author Platform Building Works
An Audience of One

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Photos courtesy of Hugo Ataide and John Hain.

Proof! Author Platform Building Works

Do you have a moment? There is something I need to tell you.

Thus began the conversation I had with an attendee at the recent Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Conference where I was teaching. The conferee speaking to me had attended another writers conference I had taught at earlier this year. At that conference, I had taught principles from my MCB University’s on-demand seminars Develop an Audience for Your Books and Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing.

This conferee told me that at the conference earlier this year, I had given her two simple steps to follow to begin to build her author platform. I told her to write a blog post once a week and share it on social media. She reported that she had followed this advice and now she was on week 19.

I asked her if anyone was reading her blog posts. She replied that her friends were reading, commenting, and sharing her posts. I replied that this was a great start.

This conferee went on to tell me that a magazine had contacted her and asked if they could reprint one of her blog posts in their publication. She was delighted to give them permission.

Then an organization contacted her and asked her to come speak on her topic. She thought they would want to interview her on the phone when she contacted them, but they simply proceeded to set her up with not one speaking opportunity, but five. She shared with me that she assumed that her blog posts and website made them decide without an interview.

I was thrilled for this emerging author. Even before she has published her first book, she is getting published in a magazine and has received speaking engagements—without even seeking these opportunities out—all from building her platform through blogging and sharing what she has blogged.

I share this because it is encouraging feedback and it gives other authors hope. If you are writing about things that resonate with your audience and provide hope, people will respond. The efforts you put into building and maintaining your author platform will pay off.

If you are unsure about how to go about building your author platform, I suggest that you watch my on-demand seminar on Grow Your Audience on Content Marketing. As always, these on-demand seminars are free to Members of Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA).

Related Posts:
Are You Developing an Audience?
Are You Using This to Build Your Author Platform?
Do You Need Marketing Confidence?

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Photo courtesy of Cytonn Photography.