The 12 Fundamental Principles of Platform, Part 2
Back on March 6th, I wrote a post about Create Your Writer Platform, a new book by Chuck Sambuchino. In it, we looked at the first six of 12 principles detailing how to create an effective platform, which is becoming increasingly important to the self-published author.
In today’s post, we’re going to look at those last six principles:
7. Start small, start early — and hope for tipping points.
With this suggestion, Sambuchino is making it clear that you shouldn’t wait to have a published book in order to start working on your platform. Certainly it’s a bit easier if you already have one, but if you wait until then, you’ve delayed creating one of the most important tools for success. Pick one or two things. A blog, a newsletter, etc. Build them up and give them time to grow so that by the time you actually have a book in hand, you already have a way of reaching your audience. Everything grows from that first seed.
8. Have a plan, but feel free to make tweaks.
Trying to create a platform to sell your work without a plan is like trying to drive a car without having seen one before. You fumble about trying to start the thing then likely head the wrong direction once you get it in gear. When you first start to conceptualize how you want to be perceived, what your “brand” is, and how you intend to grow your audience, get it all down on paper. As you go, feel free to make adjustments, but when you begin, your path from point A to point B should be well defined.
9. The world is changing, and the goal of platform is to look forward, not back.
This is another great point that I think gets overlooked far too often. A great platform isn’t just based on what you’ve done. It’s based on what you’re doing and what you’re going to do. In other words, if you wrote two dozen articles over the course of your career, or had one moderately successful book back in 1996, or have written more than a hundred posts for a popular blog that you’re no longer producing, it doesn’t matter. That’s not work that improves your audience today. Your book is now. Or it’s in the future. That being the case, effective platform-building efforts should be happening now and in the future as well.
10. Try your best to be open, likeable and relatable.
If you were looking for a common sense principle, this is it. Welcome questions. Be gregarious and polite. Be real. Those efforts will help build a network of friends and business people who can make the difference between success and failure. “Who you know” only matters if the people who know you actually like and/or respect you.
11. Be part of your own community, and understand the needs of its members.
The only way to really serve your audience is to be a part of them. Trying to keep them at arm’s length simply ensures that you’ll remain out of touch and your work won’t hit the mark it’s aiming for. If you’re a romance author, entrench yourself in that community. If you’re writing a book on politics, then start participating in relevant message boards, contributing guest blogs, etc.
12. Numbers matter — so quantify your platform.
Everything comes down to numbers. You can write the best blog post in the world, but if only five people ever see it, it won’t help your book sales. If you want to impress an agent, stating that you have a Facebook page for your book isn’t enough. Saying that you tweet regularly isn’t enough. Instead, you want to be able to say that you have 12,000 Facebook fans. You have 26,000 twitter followers. And these need to be people who are invested in what you have to say. Are these unrealistic numbers? Absolutely not. Your efforts — and the 11 principles before this one — are all about growing an impassioned audience. This will make it easier to sell books, create buzz and good word of mouth, impress agents, and make them want to work with you.
That’s it — the last of 12 important principles to always keep in mind. If you’re able, please take a minute to comment about your own platform efforts. We’d love to hear about what’s working for you!
You shouldn’t wait to have a published book in order to start working on your platform. Tweet This
Trying to create a platform to sell your work without a plan is like trying to drive a car without having seen one before. Tweet This
A great platform isn’t just based on what you’ve done. It’s based on what you’re doing and what you’re going to do. Tweet This
“Who you know” only matters if the people who know you actually like and/or respect you. Tweet This
The only way to really serve your audience is to be a part of them. Tweet This
You can write the best blog post in the world, but if only five people ever see it, it won’t help your book sales. Tweet This