Friday, April 6, 2012

Building Your Platform

One of the things that it says in my Prospect Agency bio is that I am looking for authors with strong platforms.  Your platform is all about your visibility, which is used to publicize and promote your manuscript.  It very important for authors, especially non-fiction writers, to have a platform.  Because of the current state of publishing, having an existing or potential readership/ audience is a big plus in the minds of editors (and therefore, a big plus for you!) as they are considering your work.  Alan Rinzer has a great post about the New Author Platform and specific “case study” platforms that he analyzes on his blog. 

Your platform = Your online soapbox

There are several different ways to build your platform.  Nowadays, social media networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and blogging are paramount.  Before I became an agent, I worked as a ghostwriter on projects for two prominent online marketing gurus, who introduced me to Google Analytics. To increase your blog traffic, you can use Google AdWords to determine the most searched keywords for your topic.  You can watch Google’s webinars to learn tips and tricks for utilizing AdWords.  

You can also post on other popular, related websites/blogs to link your website to theirs.  I have a client who is currently writing a memoir about her experiences being married to a Chinese national and living in Hong Kong and mainland China in the late ‘90s.  She recently wrote a post with Jocelyn Eikenburg on Jocelyn’s blog, Speaking of China.

Publishing articles in magazines, newspapers, or online is another great way to increase your visibility.  One of my clients has written several articles for different Wine Enthusiast Magazine, Organic Spa Magazine, Psychology Today, Forbes India and The Wall Street Journal India, among others.  You can visit her blog, to learn more about her writing.

Don’t discount the more traditional methods of promoting yourself and your book.  Speaking engagements and appearing on radio or TV shows (if you can wrangle it!) will help you increase your audience, as well.

All of these things will help you share your knowledge, experiences, and specialties, which will, in turn, help you gain recognition and hopefully a publishing deal!