Saturday, March 13, 2010

More on platform

Platform is an industry term that means how readers already know about you. Not how readers will find you, or will hear about your book, but know about you now.

Platform is an essential part of a non-fiction book proposal. It's the first, and often the only, thing I look at when reading queries for non fiction. Only because if a writer doesn't have platform, the answer is no.

A lot of writers tell me they have blogs as part of their platform. I look at the blogs. If there are few or no followers, and no comments, the blog isn't platform. If no one is reading or following your blog, it's almost worse than not having a blog at all.

It takes a long time to build readership and encourage interaction with comments. You need to start doing it NOW, long before you query an agent.

9 comments:

Judith Mercado said...

It's interesting to me that I started a blog precisely to build a platform and then very quickly found out that I enjoyed the medium so much that I sometimes forgot about my original intention! I have to lasso myself back periodically, but the fact is that whether it has turned into a platform for me as an author or not, I'm having too much fun, and wouldn't think of giving it up.

VR Barkowski said...

I'm curious regarding others' opinions on the advantages/disadvantages of an individual versus a group blog (grog). Is a group blog a better bet because it's likely to draw more readers? Or is an individual blog better because the blogger can better target his or her audience? Do agents have a preference about which they'd like to see?

AmyShojai said...

What sort of following would tip that "platform" scale in the right direction? I do lots of TV and radio, write for many online venues and high profile clients. But there's no good way to accurately provide #s of a measurable, consistent audience, and that doesn't necessarily translate to book sales--especially if the "audience" has been trained to expect this same info for free on the web or TV. Correct? Or am I looking at this wrong?

Megalicious said...

I think it would help if you could share some pointers on how to find readers and followers, since they don't usually just fall into your lap if you're an unknown who's only starting out in the writing world. JMO...

Christi Goddard said...

I started a blog for the need for one to interact with my (hopefully larger future) readership. Before that, I was at writing websites and had readers there. I'm also networked for multiple free marketing opportunities at popular websites and fandom conventions, but since I write fiction and not nonfiction, I've no idea how to address that in a query, so I guess it'll be like the toy surprise in a carmel popcorn box for the agent I find someday. :-) I've been told by a few agents not to mention it during the query phase. It's so hard to know the right thing to do in this industry sometimes. Thanks, Janet.

Destroying Angel said...

The platform discussion isn't a bad idea for a fiction author, either.

tuppenneyrice said...

How important is platform for a fiction author? I've heard some agents describe it as a sort of added bonus, and I was wondering how much weight it's given (if any) in a decision about representation.

Susan at Stony River said...

Thanks for this post, because I was never sure about mentioning my blog in a query. But, how many followers, subscribers, or comments is enough to make the difference?

Tara said...

Megalicious: here are a couple of sites that can tell you how to find readers/followers for your blog, how to start a blog, how to keep it going, all kinds of stuff like that. Enjoy!

Problogger: http://www.problogger.net/blog/
Daily Blog Tips: http://www.dailyblogtips.com/

Also, check out the "how to blog" categories at Brazen Careerist:: http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/