“Nobody who changed the world did it by waiting for an audience.” ~Jeff Goins
A writer just emailed me in a bit of a panic. She’s finished her book, but for reasons I’m not yet completely clear on, chose not to work on creating a platform at the same time.
What are your suggestions?” she asked.
Ahhh, the dreaded how-to build a platform question.
This is a long conversation and something Danielle LaPorte and I deal with extensively in Your Big Beautiful Book Plan and over at The Beautiful Writers Group. Every call and interview we do (3 per month) is at least in great part devoted to this topic. Fortunately and unfortunately, there are endless ways to build a personal brand and connect with people who will then be excited to buy your book when it’s released.
Everyone knows about blogging, guest blogging, instagramming, facebooking, podcasting… But if I had to choose two ways in which a memoirist (or any writer, really) can show agents and editors that they’re going to be a powerful publishing partner, even without many fans of their own, I’d choose:
1. Blast partners. List them in your proposal… the names of authors who will get the word out about your book when it launches, their numbers included. At its core, this is about relationship building. Some, make that most, of the blast partners I’m currently listing in the proposal I’m writing now (my first for myself in years) are friends I’ve had for over a decade. But several are newer connections. At any rate, start now. Connect with other writers. Support them. Become allies. And one day when you need their support, you might just find you have a small army standing with you.
As Seth Godin says: “Start today to build the platform that you will be able to use three years from now.”
2. Magazine articles. When a magazine or newspaper runs a piece with your name on it, you’re
not only enhancing your platform (with readers who will then become fans and want more
from you), but showing insiders that you’re a motivated, do-whatever-it-takes writer.
Large online venues like The Huffington Post, Glamour.com, Elle.com, are plentiful. Research the market. See where you fit. And submit.
In our last interview with marketing expert Tim Grahl for The Beautiful Writers Group (hear a snippet here) we talked about the importance of being relentlessly helpful and connecting free content from your blog posts to auto-responders for your opt-in sign ups. He also shared how to get your 1-star reviews taken off Amazon.com (what a great tip!). As usual, I heard things I’d never before considered. I may have been in this “game” for nearly two decades now, but it’s an ever-changing industry and I never get tired of learning from people on the cutting edge.
Danielle and I have a large library of audios for download over at The Beautiful Writers Group archives, with more coming all the time. I hope you get a chance to check them out, and to start connecting with other writers in countless stages of building their platforms.
Why? Because “The bigger the platform, the higher the book advance” says Alan Rinzler. And, what that really means is that that book you’ve spent all those days, weeks, months, and years crafting, has the best shot at being READ.
That’s what it’s all about.
P.S. Got favorite platform building strategies? Tell us below. Because it takes a village:) xo