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Monday, March 30, 2009

Author Platform - The New Buzz Word

By Jennifer Hudson Taylor

The buzz word making the rounds in the writing community lately is platform. A few agents and editors are blogging about it, including my agent. It seems that with the economy tightening, publishers are being more selective than ever in what they're accepting for publication. This means the competition has gotten even tougher, and in my humble opinion, it was already tough enough before the recession hit.

So what is platform?

My understanding is that platform is a buildup of readership and/or a following of people who like to read what you write enough to buy it. Of course, the bigger your platform, the easier it is to sell your books and to get your books published through a publisher. Platform is becoming a more important reason why good authors are being rejected. The writing may be good, the concept interesting and applicable to the time, but if the author doesn't have a great platform, it can be rejected based on that alone.

So the great question for every author is: How do I build a platform? It all boils down to marketing and promoting. Those who are great at marketing themselves, speaking in public, and building that public awareness will build a bigger platform and have the edge over the writers who don't market and promote themselves well.

I'd like to point you to some great articles that have been written on this topic lately:

  • Need A Platform? by Agent Terry Burns

  • Fiction Platform by Agent Rachelle Gardner

  • How Important is an Author's Platform by Michael Hyatt, editor of Thomas Nelson Publisers

  • Building A Platform by Agent Chip MacGregor (Click on Archive, Jan. 11, 2009)

  • I'll be covering more on this topic in the future, since it is so vital to our survival as authors in this world of publishing.


    I wish my platform could be something simple like I write in my pajama's. You think that would go over well? ;)

    I've heard, and hope it's true, that platform is not as important for fiction writers. I imagine it wouldn't hurt sales, though. After you sell the book to the publisher, you still have to sell it to readers.

    That's a great post. Thanks for visiting my blog. I liked your thoughts on platform and have added you to my Google reader so I can follow your blog. It appears you already have a great platform!

    I'm glad you mentioned Michael Hyatt's piece on his blog. I read it last week and was refreshed by his balanced view of platform.

    I've heard some authors say it took years to build a platform. It's never too early to start. Even if you're pounding out chapter one, build that website, blog, and connect with others.

    And PRAY!

    Susan :)

    Hi, Jennifer. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.
    I've seen several of the blogs you mentioned that have dealt with author platform. They're all great information to have. Thanks for sharing!

    As an aspiring author with my first full manuscript request from an editor, I have been building my platform for about 10 months. (Only slightly longer than the editor has had it!)
    The frustration comes when not once or twice but almost weekly someone is asking where they can get my books. I have to say, wait...wait...1
    Platform successful. Now where's the contract?