“Platform” is a major buzzword in current publishing.
It’s not the same as a political party’s platform, or a supporting structure for an oil well, lighthouse or lecturer.
Think of it as a metaphor for a structure that will boost you up and make you visible to potential readers, sources of publicity and bookstore buyers.
Components in your platform include websites, blogs, business connections, social media, radio and TV appearances, quotes in media, online mentions, speeches, articles, friends, neighbors, etc. Your first book is part of your platform and should help sell your later books.
- If you are considering self-publishing, your platform is critical for converting people into readers. You have no publisher to spend money on making you visible. Listings on booksellers' websites and search engine links are not sufficient to generate sales and reviews. You must have a way to stand out and engage potential readers.
- If you hope to get a contract from a traditional publisher, be aware that they want to know about the platforms of new authors. If your platform is unimpressive, your book -- no matter how wonderful -- may not be sufficient to do a deal.