Literary Architects, LLC works with authors to combine the quality and standards of traditional publishing with the flexibility and control of self-publishing. Literary Architects' publishing professionals specialize in selecting and partnering with committed authors to produce trade-quality books, consulting with authors to plan and execute custom sales and marketing strategies, and providing authors with fulfillment and distribution of their books.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

How Important is an Author's Platform? Critically.

I've been talking to a lot of authors lately about "platform". Many don't understand it, recognize its importance, or have a clue how to create it. I know it's frustrating as an author to be turned away by every agent and publisher you talk to, but when they say "You don't have a platform," it's time to think about how to come up with a solution.

What is your platform? Your platform is who you are in relation to your topic. How much of an expert are you? If you're offering your readers a solution to a problem (or giving them a treatise on your topic of choice), your platform is what makes you a reliable source. Do you have training in the field or industry? Are you an "expert"? Do you have experience other than just "I did it and want to help others do it, too"? Do you have a following? Do you speak? Do you blog? Do you have a website? Do you have readers for a newsletter, or hits on a web site, or great quotes from names who say "this person is terrific! Read what they have to say!" Your platform is your base of credentials. It's your credibility on a topic. It's your position in the industry, your company, your topic. It's any related certifications, degrees, speaking experience, work, or involvement. What difference does it make to the success of your book? All in the world.

Can you create a platform for yourself? Of course. But only you can do it -- no one else. A publisher can create a great book for you, but they can't create a market for it out of thin air. If you have no platform, we won't be able to find a way for your readers to understand why they should pick up *your* book. If readers can't understand who you are and what your connection to the topic is very clearly, they can't understand your perspective on your book. Lack of significant platform is probably one of the top reasons manuscripts are rejected by any kind of house that's selective about what they publish.

So how does one create a platform? Become an expert, get certified, take classes, become known and credible in the community based around your topic, create a website, start a blog, speak, volunteer, teach, lecture, travel, network, get to know everyone of importance in the world of your topic area and have them know you. If you publish with a traditional house, your publisher is going to want to know who you are within the context of your topic. (If they don't care, then you have a whole other problem.) Be creative about yourself and where you fit! Have fun and become passionate about your topic. You'll have your platform built before you know it.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is 2 years old. I hope this blog is still active. Thanks for this posting. It answers the question I've been asking.

10:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great explanation, thank you.

10:15 AM  
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