1. JennyB
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    JennyB New Member

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    Building a platform

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by JennyB, Mar 17, 2011.

    I’ve realized lately that publishers expect new authors to show up with a large audience already intact. It seems like you can’t get a book deal without a “platform” full of followers, and you can’t get the followers without the book deal. That seems like it should be their job, but I guess that’s not true anymore!
    Does anyone else have experience with this? What have you done? I am considering a couple of different options, would love to know what others have done.
     
  2. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    i have never heard of that fenomenon. where are you from? maybe it works differently in different countries...
     
  3. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Well that's not necessarily true. It can help you, certainly, but I wouldn't say it's necessary. Ways to build a platform are blogs (that you advertise on facebook, myspace, twitter, etc.), your own website, or web page, an e-zine with subscribers. Anything you can think of that gets your name out there and builds your fan base would be considered a fan base; that said they're not going to consider it helpful until you're at 5k subscribers or above, and some publishers want 10k to consider it an asset.

    It doesn't mean you need one. It just means you may have a leg up over people who don't.
     
  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You could start by publishing short stories. That not only helps the writer's credentials, but it also means that the writer is likely to have some sort of audience by the time he/she finds a publisher. This is something I've seen a lot of successful writers do, and it's still the best option to follow IMO.
     
  5. JennyB
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    JennyB New Member

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    Tesoro - I'm in California! I have a book about online dating that I have been trying to get published, and agents/ publishers who get back to me tell me they think it's funny, but they want to see some kind of evidence that I've got a following, especially since this isn't the only type of book on the subject out there.
    Trish - 5k to 10k? I think I nearly fainted. How do you get that many people to follow a blog?
    Thirdwind- That's a great idea, thank you.

    I have been looking around online about marketing and this whole social media thing. I found a couple of agents and marketing people, and this one (that I mentioned in another thread) Wendy Keller, with that 'How to build your platform' webinar. Her's looks like pretty good value, and I'm thinking I'll give it a go, because I think those skills might actually come in handy for me elsewhere too.
     
  6. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    oh!
    I have never heard about that, so more than one publisher told you that?
    weird!
    I mean, like you said, how are you supposed to have an audience if you have never had your work published? I thought it was THEIR job to know if there is a market for what people write... its like asking which came first; the hen or the egg...
    mah, the world is a crazy place indeed.
     
  7. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Do you have to pay for the webinar? Be careful you don't get scammed. Starting a blog is pretty easy these days. You really don't need a webinar for it.
     
  8. bumblebot
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    bumblebot Senior Member

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    If you start a blog, maybe you could write some funny articles with the same flavor and subject matter as your book, and submit them to sites like Cracked? It could be a good way to start building a following.
     
  9. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    For fiction writers it's usually not necessary for you to have such a large platform in place already. You said it's a book about online dating? I have to assume that it's A. A self-help book, or B. a memoir type book. In either of those cases publishers DO want you to be able to demonstrate a large platform because otherwise the odds of people buying your online dating book over all the other online dating books on the market (many of which are written by people who own online dating sites, or have reality tv shows about dating, or have radio shows about it) are quite slim. In short, the competition for the market you have chosen is incredibly stiff, and they want to know if you can keep up.

    Now, as to how you build that platform. Is it self-help or is it memoir? Do you write anything else?
     
  10. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    Very much agreed. Most of these are like the guy who made millions teaching people how to sell on ebay. He sold them a packet directing them to ebays own (free) tutorial for $150.00. Common sense and tapping fingers go a long, long way.
     
  11. WritingWoman
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    WritingWoman New Member

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    Publishers and platforms

    Yeah, actually, I think Jenny is right. Publishers REQUIRE nonfiction authors to show up with platforms now if they hope to sell. I have four books I wrote and sold without a platform prior to 2007 (the year I got divorced and took a break from writing). Two of them sold pretty well. But now I'm having a really hard time even getting an agent (mine left the business) for my fifth one because they all keep asking me for platforms. What's the name of this webinar, please? I don't it on see any other posts by you.

    And you know what? I notice a lot of unpublished writers spend their lives doing two things: being afraid of being scammed and staying unpublished. I've always looked at writing as a way to make some money on the side, but I've taken a number of excellent good writing courses and feel like it's really helped me. If I can learn to build a platform by taking a course, I'll do it. I don't need anyone to tell me how to create a blog - I already have two - but I sure do need to figure out how to super-size it so I can sell this next book! I need the the money AND it's really good.
     
  12. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    It can't hurt to have an internet presence - i am working on building mine if nothing else my website gives me something to include in my author's bio.
     
  13. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    For non-fiction, yes, they do. I thought that was what I said? I didn't think Jenny answered whether or not her book was nonfiction or fiction.

    Either way, if you decide to go with the webinar just be careful. I didn't say you shouldn't, just that many of them are scams
     
  14. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hey Jenny -- there's no shortcut to building a platform. You just have to get stuff out there and build a credible reputation for yourself. It takes some time and effort. I've seen some online dating sites posting freelance gigs for writers and bloggers -- maybe you could start there, in addition to having your own blog. A lot of it will depend on what sort of book this is -- is it a book offering serious advice on online dating, or is it a just a collection of "funny" online dating stories? If you're offering any sort of advice, you need to establish a reputation that your advice is worthwhile and proven effective. If that's not your intent, then use your charm to win people over and entertain them.

    I'm working on a self-help book and we already have a platform to work with, but building on that platform is one of our biggest challenges. Anyway, our whole platform comes from that the fact that the guy I'm working for is a known and trusted name in his field. He didn't get there overnight.
     
  15. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    Just remember that a great platform is no substitute for good writing.
     
  16. gitamo
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    gitamo Member

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    I'm a total dummy regarding this platform thing. Does it simply refer to an online presence? or a specific format? Would a website with a certain amount of traffic be a platform? Or an email list alone? For example a friend is writing a book and has an email list of a couple of thousand people. He sends out excerpts of his book-in-progress monthly... little teasers... would that be a platform?

    Ugh. I have no idea where to start. I'm looking for an agent for a middle grade book but have considered self-publishing simply because I think its pretty niche. Nature, spiritual adventure for 8-12 year olds. Right now I feel like finding a great illustrator, collaborating and just doing it to see it in print... but am continuing with the agent hunt for a while longer.
     

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