Every author needs an authoring platform to lean on if they want to get media attention. No, an author platform is not a box to stand on, but it will help an author rise above their peers and separate the experts and credible authors from the hobbyists. An author platform is more like an enhanced resume that provides your credentials and helps publishers and media to realize that you are a professional, experienced, good at promoting yourself and promoting your book and topic of interest without being selfish. and, in general, you know what you are doing.
The benefits of having an author platform are many. It will help you get noticed and appear to be an expert to editors, the media, and readers. Think of the author platform as your credentials. It should be an ever-evolving document or a list of your accomplishments, marketing successes, and strategies for continuing to promote yourself and your work.
Below is a list of the qualifiers (proof that you are one notch above the others) that you should include on your platform. Remember, you must have the vast majority of these on your platform. It is not enough to have a website, although that is a starting point:
· Website:Your website should include at least the following pages: Home, About the author, Buy the book, His blog, and a Media Kit page. Anything extra, like interviews, FAQs, or just fun pages with games or quizzes, or stories or additional information about the book, is a bonus.
· Previous editorial experiences:Not just a list of the books you have published, but also your success stories: sales numbers, awards won, numbers of impressions or editions, etc.
· Talks:A good thing to do is keep a journal or record of every event you host, from speaking to your local Rotary club to presenting it at a national conference on the subject of your book. Editors and the media want people who are not afraid to speak in public.
· Workshops: Have you facilitated or participated in a workshop related to your book or topic?
· Attendance at high-profile conferences, events and workshops:Even if you weren’t a leader at an event, showing that you attended is proof that you are serious about staying up-to-date in your field of study and changes in the media and publishing world.
· Your online presence: How do you reach readers online? Your authoring platform includes your blog, newsletter, email lists, social media, podcasts, videos, and online posts such as articles and book reviews.
· Readings and book signings:How often do you involve the public face-to-face in promoting your work? Where have you done book signings, readings, or participated in group author events?
· Online forum:Do you have a way to engage your readers online? It could be a Facebook page for your book, a discussion group on your website, or a list server group on your topic.
· Coaching / Consulting:Have you been a coach or consultant in your field of expertise on an individual level or for any organization that needs it?
· Memberships:What professional organizations do you belong to in relation to your topic and publication? How involved have you been with these organizations, helping to coordinate an event or serving on the organization’s board?
· Press kit for the media:Your press kit should be available for download from your website for the media to review, as well as in a format that you can send by mail. A press kit should include a press release for your book, a sales sheet, the cover / image of your book, a page about the author, testimonials or reviews of your book, and a copy of your book or a chapter of displays at least, depending on whether it’s on your website or if you’re mailing a copy.
· Appearances in traditional media:Any television or radio appearances you have made, in addition to being interviewed or featured in magazines and newspapers.
· Appearances in Internet media:Have you been a guest on someone else’s blog? Have you been interviewed on Blog Talk Radio or other internet radio podcast shows?
· Publications:Beyond books, have you published articles or stories in magazines, newspapers, or anthologies?
· Contacts tested:Who is paying attention to you as an author? How many followers do you have on social media? Who comments on your blog? What is your website traffic? How many people are on your email list? Who likes your pages and how many reviews do readers of online bookstores publish?
· Target audiences:Who is your target audience? What connections do you have with them, what kind of proven track record do you have, and what plans do you have for future interactions?
It may seem like having an author platform is a lot of work, but if you just keep track of everything you do and are actively promoting your book, it will be more like journaling your experiences. Of course, you have to build the website, go to conferences, participate in events, but it’s all fun and worth it if you are passionate about your book, and your passion will set you apart from other authors.
Today, an author platform is less about proving to a publisher that your book deserves to be published and you are helping to market it. While you can still use it to find a publisher, it’s more about getting media attention, whether you’re a self-published or traditionally published author. Your platform may be what convinces the media to interview or introduce you, which in turn will make readers notice and buy your books.
These are some of the benefits that come from having a ready-made author platform:
· Demonstrates the visibility and credibility of an author as a professional author.
· Provides recognition and expertise that will make the media notice and publicize you in the future.
It reflects that an author is authentic and not simply selfish; all his activities have not only been the sale of his books, but also participation in the exchange of information and helping others, such as participants in events and conferences.
It enables the media and others to make a quick decision about their expertise when they need an expert for a story, a guest for a radio show, or a speaker at a conference.
Think of your author platform as your enhanced resume and credentials. Constantly working to improve your authoring platform and having it ready when needed will increase your chances of getting noticed, being known in the media, and ultimately selling more books.