Platform: What are you aiming for?

Hello, readers! Today I want to touch on PLATFORM. It is a buzz-word that is all too familiar in the writing world. And some of you may know a lot about it and some of the newbie writers out there may know very little. And in between, there is a spectrum. So, I want to try to answer some of these questions to the best of my ability. What is it? How does it affect us as writers? How important is it? What can I do about it? And why am I blogging about it today?

Please understand that I am not an expert, nor am I ever intending to say that I am. I am simply an writer on this journey, trying to be transparent and share what I am learning as I go along.

What is PLATFORM?

Let’s look at what Merriam-Webster has to say:

1plan, design
2a declaration of the principles on which a group of persons stands; especially :a declaration of principles and policies adopted by a political party or a candidate
3(1) a usually raised horizontal flat surface; especially :a raised flooring 
(2) a device or structure incorporating or providing a platform; especially :such a structure on legs used for offshore drilling (as for oil)
b a place or opportunity for public discussion
4a a usually thick layer (as of cork) between the inner sole and outer sole of a shoe
b a shoe having such a sole
5a a vehicle (such as a satellite or aircraft) used for a particular purpose or to carry a usually specified kind of equipment
b operating system; also :the computer architecture and equipment using a particular operating system
No where does it talk about the kind of platform that an agent or a publisher refers to when they ask a writer about their platform. No wonder it is a confusing thing to newbie writers!
When you search for “writer’s platform”, the search engine yields a much more helpful answer. Like this one from Writer’s Digest:
Platform, simply put, is your visibility as an author.

The definition of platform, broken down, is your personal ability to sell books through:

Who you are

The personal and professional connections you have

Any media outlets (including blogs and social networks) that you can utilize to sell books

 

So, your reach socially through speaking, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other social media outlets, your e-mail list…that is your platform quantified into numbers. And agents and publishers like to be able to quantify your platform.

How does it affect us as writers?

The existence, non-existence, and size of your platform is becoming more and more important to publishers and, therefore, agents. They want to know that you are doing what you can to expand your reach, and therefore, increase your readership/audience/those who will buy your books. It all goes into marketing. How many people are you able to market to? How many loyal followers do you have in that market who are liable to buy your book? Your next book?

How important is it?

As you can imagine…if it is becoming more important to publishers and agents, if you want to be traditionally published, it should be important to you, too. Even publishing through a small press may depend on your platform numbers. It’s just becoming more competitive. The market is so saturated.

What can I do about it?

Start a website/blog today. If not yesterday. Even if you haven’t completed the book. You can start building your following now. And should. Post/tweet about your writing. Or about gardening. Or about whatever interests you. Blog about it. Start a newsletter and grow your e-mail list by encouraging people to sign up on your website. You can offer something of value to encourage them to sign up. A short story related to your hobby you are blogging/posting/tweeting about, recipes, something that they would find value in. And become more active on social media. Engage with your friends and followers. Comment, like, post/tweet regularly.

Why am I blogging about it today?

I have reached an impasse in my blog. As most of you who have followed my blog know, I have primarily blogged about writing, my journey, and the writing industry, falling back on my experience and sharing what I am learning. And I appreciate all of you who have been following along.

However, I have come to a place where I realize that the audience I am growing is an audience of WRITERS. But I need to take my own advice and seek more my TARGET READERSHIP of my books. Not in an underhanded way. Just to shine more light on that part of my personality and connect them with that side of me. So that they can see more ‘behind the curtain’ when they seek out my blog. And understand the author behind the books.

My books are primarily about women overcoming some real issues. Many of those are issues that I myself have dealt with. And I know that others have too. Some of these things I have blogged about in my “A LITTLE OFF TOPIC” series. So, I will be switching my focus to be more about those topics and less about writing. There will still be blogs about writing, but the frequency will be switched, if you will.

There is more in me to share and more to see about how my books will connect with these serious issues. So, I hope you will hang in there for this, the next part of my journey!

So, as always, Happy Writing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *