What is this thing called a Platform? Should you have one? If yes, how do you create it? Most publishing consultants will say it’s about influence … then they gyrate to all things Internet. It’s much more than that.
No Platform can get off the ground if the author doesn’t have two things: a vision and a passion. Otherwise, it just becomes the du jour—the soup of the day.
Dom Testa is the author of the Galahad series. He thinks that authors need to think, become, a black hole. He illustrates the idea that all planetary objects–the sun, the moon, Earth, the stars, sit on a “fabric” of “empty” space. Because of their “mass” they create gravity. The heavier the object, the deeper it drops into the hole, illustrating the idea that heavier objects have greater gravitational attraction, Gravity is a natural phenomenon where physical bodies attract one another with a force proportional to their mass. The objects known to have the “greatest” gravity in the universe are called black holes.
The point is that you, the author, need to represent―become―a black hole, creating your own gravity via your Platform and sphere of influence. That in turn creates a domino effect … attention starts coming your way. Which means people, media and book buyers … people … are talking.
How do you get media outlets like T.V., radio and magazines to come to you? The million dollar answer is: By creating your Author’s Platform.
In Dom’s case, he wanted to sell his award winning YA novels, the Galahad series. To do that, Dom created “gravity” by creating his Platform. Simply put, it is on the ideas that 1) it’s cool to be a nerd and 2) fighting peer pressure in our educational institutions through the creation of the Big Brain Club. The Big Brain Club is Dom’s passion. The Big Brain Club is going big—with a pilot program created in a school in Ft. Collins, Colorado, it is now branching out … schools are now coming to him. Media, both local and national, is coming to him. Book sales are skyrocketing as his covers are featured everywhere. It’s all in his Platform M.O.
Your Platform should include these elements:
- Know what your message is: Seems logical and simple, yet too many authors fumble and stumble here. Say it clearly and directly.
- Create value in your message: This is where the passion factor comes into play. What is driving you to the point you actually create your book and for what audience?
- Interesting to many: Books aren’t for “everyone”—who is your book for? … That niche becomes your fans and book buyers. Unusual or obscure topics will most likely deliver a strike out … unless you can link them to something everyone is buzzing about.
- When you speak or are interviewed, give your listeners a reason to follow you afterwards…Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, YouTube. Coming to “you” is what this is about. If you are speaking, referrals start generating; with speaking, books are sold; as books sell, more speaking gigs develop, and media and fans multiply.
- Connection to your writing: Both nonfiction and fiction can have a platform—an excellent example is with the fiction writing of JC Hutchins. Check out www.JCHutchins.net and www.DomTesta.com. For non-fiction, Dr. Lynn Hellerstein, www.LynnHellerstein.com does an excellent job of connecting her message with her platform audience.
- Passion: Back to #2–there can be nothing half way when it comes to the passion factor.
- Vision: It’s all about vision—if you don’t have one for you, as the author, and for your book—forget any of the above.
Remember: the Platform is a critical element to your book hook–always educate and entertain, and the sales will follow!