Your Author Platform

Temet Nosce

Know Thyself

Do you have an Author Platform? If you have to ask what this question means, then you are likely one of  many authors who do not realize that what you don’t know can hurt you. In the ongoing transformation of the publishing industry, the Author Platform has emerged as the most vital advantage/tool that any author can avail himself/herself to, though it involves detailed and careful planning. Aside from writing the book itself, the Author Platform is the next best investment of your time and resources.

As publishers, upon the submission of a manuscript, the first thing we ask is, Who are you? Do you know yourself? If you are not absolutely sure about the answer, ask yourself: Why am I seeking to be published? Is it all for vanity? Is it just to be published? Is it for the bragging rights? Is it to prove once and for all that I am indeed an author?  These are all legitimate reasons, but we are a publishing company, we are a competitive business, and the purpose of our business is to make a profit.

So if you have come to us for any other reason than to make money through selling the book you have written, then we recommend that you pursue self-publishing, which can be done with little trouble and inexpensively elsewhere. Because we spend money (take the risk) on the books we publish, we are seeking titles that we believe will sell beyond what we call the “Friends- and-Family-Fifty.”

Statistically, the average published book sells less than fifty copies retail which, factoring in best-sellers that sell in the hundreds of thousands, is actually less than fifty. Ironically, many authors we encounter have it all wrong. They often ask: What are you going to do to make my book a bestseller, make me millions and get me a movie deal? That is simply not the way it works. The better questions are: What have I done to make my book appeal to publishers and readers alike? And why would someone want to risk publishing or reading my book?

In the ongoing transformation of the publishing industry, authors must realize that they have a responsibility for creating, reaching and selling to a pre-determined and ready audience. As an author, you are responsible for bringing the product, and you are responsible for defining and reaching a definable audience.  As publishers, we are responsible for producing a viable product for a viable audience, for providing industry expertise to make certain the book has the best possible chance for success, for accessibility and for distribution in print book, eBook and audiobook mediums.

Because we represent the cutting-edge publishing paradigm, we are better situated to take on risks than publishers locked into the old model. We can produce books of equal or superior quality in shorter times at a fraction of the costs incurred. Simply put, we are the most efficient publishers in the market. Nonetheless, no intelligent publisher, regardless of the risk, should be willing to publish a book that has no audience. Please take note: If you do not bring an audience, then no one will buy your book! You need an Author Platform.

Download 90-Day Action Plan for your Author Platform

So what exactly is an Author Platform? Twenty years ago, that platform involved nothing more than a static author’s website on the Internet, which was sometimes enough to define an audience. However, the Internet has exploded, from circa 450 websites in 1995 to hundreds of millions of websites and billions of pages today. That means you cannot realize the benefits of the Internet as a tool if you do not establish a presence that is equal to the growth.

Download 90-Day Action Plan for your Author Platform

Today, the Internet is much more interactive and layered, so today’s Author Platform must be much more than a website containing 10-20 static pages. Today, anyone wanting to sell to an audience must consider Search Engine Optimization and Metadata, Social Media and Multimedia. Today’s Author Platform includes a website, often containing hundreds of pages of photographs, stories, pages, videos and blogs related to the author and published works.

The author drives traffic to this website by making it relevant, interactive and fresh, by updating or blogging 2-3 times a week. It requires work and creativity, but it is the future of an author’s success in today’s market. This cutting-edge website, because it is interactive and relevant, creates an active community of returning readers and gives curious visitors a reason to return. Engaging visitors, the author will blog, give away a free chapter or encourage audience feedback in order to create a visitors’ list for future sales promotion. The author might include fresh updates and other giveaways in exchange for email addresses and use those address to build additional lists and a loyal following (an audience). There is much more to being a successful author than merely writing a book.

Admittedly, there are many incredible books being written that will never, ever be published, and there are many of the most engaging published books that will never be read by a substantial audience. The most significant factor: The Author Platform. If you have not invested resources to develop one, then your work has almost zero chance of ever becoming a successful book.

After you have established your Author Platform, when a publisher asks you if you have an audience, you can confidently say, “I have an Author Platform, which includes a website that gets 5,000 visitors a month, along with a list of 3,000 website followers, and I have 1,500 Facebook followers and 2,000 other Social Media contacts.” The additional effort to create an Author Platform will make all the difference in the world to your success as an author.

Download 90-Day Action Plan for your Author Platform