Your Platform Starter Kit

DiverPlatform-300Whether you publish with a commercial publisher or are self-publishing, as an author you will need what is called a “platform.”

An author platform is a constellation of three indispensable components: a passion position from which you write, a combination of social media formats on which you post, and a community of followers who resonate your passion. For instance, your passion platform may be that you are an expert in vegan food preparation, with a social media package consisting of a Facebook page, blog and website, all of which are followed loyally by vegan subscribers who are “fed” by your passion for all things vegan. An excellent real life example of a non-fiction passion platform is Brene’ Brown’s focus on the power of vulnerability.

If you are a  fiction writer defining a passion position may be a little tricky because your core passion and it’s utility may not be obvious. Perhaps there is a discoverable common thread in your fiction, a spiritual or emotional quality, that appeals to certain reader personalities or needs.  Examples of fiction passion platforms are Scott Orson Card, who has two successful series about gifted little boys coming of age; and, Stephen King, who is well known for his curation of the dark side.

A platform takes time to build, and there is no guarantee that “if you build it, they will come.” But if you don’t prepare for it, no one for sure will come! That is why I recommend including a platform starter kit into your publishing plan, to be installed in advance of the release of your book. Here’s how:

  1. Indentify the core passion of your work. Spend some time thinking through what your writing is really about, and draft a “mission statement” of sorts for your work. Condense that statement into a short paragraph that will sum up your intellectual position, or theme. You may or may not incorporate this statement into your “About me” page, but the process of crafting your theme will help you focus on what you are about, which will inform the next step:
  2. Set up three social media components.  I suggest always a webpage, and always a blog, and I prefer a Facebook page for their excellent demographic database (which I will discuss in a future article). Design your social media in name and look to be consistent with your core concept.
  3. Create a subscriber signup mechanism on every social media component that allows for it. Email subscription services, such as Mail Chimp, and Constant Contact, provide ways to easily add subscriber collection devices to your sites. Building an email list is a great way to begin to build and maintain contact with your audience.

For help in developing your platform, I highly recommend Dan Blank, who offers online courses and one-on-one coaching, and a free newsletter full of helpful tips on improving your contact with your readers.

What I suggest above is only the beginning. In subsequent articles I will give examples of how to cross-promote between the social media components of your platform to find and feed your audience.


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