Building Your Platform
Step by Step
by Paula Margulies
Whenever I speak
at writersí conferences, authors often ask me what is meant by the
term ďplatform.Ē Simply put, your platform is all about you ó
the experience, background, and expertise you bring to the
table, in addition to the wonderful book youíve written.
The concept of
platform is important when selling a book because itís what the
media, especially radio and TV folks, are most interested in when it
comes time to set up promotional appearances. I once had a radio
producer in New York tell me, ďPaula, I donít give a damn about this
authorís book; I want to know about his background and experience.
If he doesnít interest me, his book never will.Ē This may sound a
bit harsh, but itís all too true in the world of publicity. If you
want premium exposure for your book through traditional radio and
TV, you are going to be the story.
And it should be
a good one. Media producers expect authors to be knowledgeable
and/or experienced in their subject matter, whether the book is
non-fiction or fiction. If you have a compelling personal history,
expertise in the industry youíve written about, or an interesting
angle to bring to the interview, then youíre more likely to get a
yes nod from a producer trying to a fill radio or TV time slot.
Reporters and producers look for individuals who are unique,
compelling, and entertaining as interview subjects. If youíre a
celebrity or have notoriety in your field, the pathway will be
easier. But if not, youíve got to develop a platform that will
intrigue members of the media if you want to get maximum exposure
for your work.
So, how do you
go about building your platform? Many authors write about subjects
that fascinate them, but they donít always have expertise in those
areas. When this is the case, I recommend the following:
give lectures, presentations, and workshops on the topic, even
if itís one you only know through research.
Keep a list
of the presentations you give, and include them in your bio.
testimonials from the organizers and attendees at your talks and
print them on all of your promotional material, including your
havenít yet done so, create a website and a blog for your book
and update both regularly with current information.
blogs in your subject area and comment on them. List your
website and blog URL when you write comments, and develop
relationships with bloggers and blog readers in your subject
blog posts as starting points for articles that you can then
send to established websites, blog sites, and trade
become a guest blogger or reviewer on other sites, and invite
experts in your subject area to guest write for your blog and
connections with experts in your subject area and ask them to
endorse you and your book.
your passion for your subject when you speak about it. Know
recent statistics and be able to talk about new research or
events relevant to your subject area.
up-to-date curriculum vitae (c.v.) that lists all your
accomplishments and achievements and demonstrates how well you
know your subject area.
Many authors are
lucky to have agents who understand the importance of platform and
are willing to help them develop the items listed above. But
self-published authors, or others who donít have agents, may need to
do some of the development work on their own.
Take a look at
your platform and if it needs developing, get going on building it,
one step at a time.
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Paula Margulies is a book publicity and promotions expert in San
Diego, California. You can reach her at
email@example.com, or visit her website at