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Building Your Platform — Online

April 4th, 2012 by Bob Bly

Publishers today only want to publish books by authors with a “platform.”

A platform is (1) a visible presence in a market and (2) one or more channels through which you can reach that market.

Editors looked for such things as whether the author had a column, TV or radio show, even an infommercial.

But now, as a potential author you have to build  your platform online too.

In your book proposals, publishers want to know: (a) number of Facebook fans, (b) Twitter followers, (c) LinkedIn connections, (d) sales of prior books, which the can now confirm easily online, and (e) web site statstics especially unique visits per month.

If you ignore social media like I do, you are soon going to find it next to impossible to sell  your book idea to a mainstream publisher.

With everyone self-publishing POD (print on demand) books and Kindle e-books today, maybe that doesn’t much matter to you.

But I’m old school. I like “real” books — books that are made of paper, professionally designed, and published by a traditional publishing house, which still (in my opinion) produce books of quality a full step higher than the average self-published affair.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 4th, 2012 at 3:29 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

22 responses about “Building Your Platform — Online”

  1. Kimmo Linkama said:

    I’ve been reading similar stories elsewhere, too. It looks like publishers are imagining they’re doing YOU a service by consenting to publish your work.

    I always thought it’s the quality, topicality and, hmm, importance of what you’re offering to the publisher. What an outdated view.

    In essence, what the publishers want is that you basically market your own work and they only provide the printing and maybe include you in their catalog.

    If this is the way of the world today, I wouldn’t be surprised if the traditional publishing houses became extinct very soon. Maybe the self-publishing route is the best/safest after all? A contract should mean benefits to both parties, right?

  2. Bob Bly said:

    The 2 problems with self publishing are (a) getting distribution for the book and (b) marketing which is incredibly time-intensive.

  3. Payroll Report said:

    Whether publishers like it or not, there will always be a demand for paper. Content is content and pixels, paper or any other form of communicating that content will be subject to industry by industry fluctuations for a long time. But paper/hard copy is not going away for some time.

  4. Mark Soroka said:

    Great blog topic, Bob. I look at this in two ways. Writers now have to assume more responsibility for promoting their books. Those who are adverse to marketing will be at a disadvantage. But on the positive side, an ambitious writer has more opportunities than ever before for promoting their books and their brand.

    Writer’s Digest also published an interesting article about building a writer’s platform. Google “50 simple ways to build your platform in 5 minutes a day” to dowload this article.

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    I understand that occasionally an e-book is picked up by a traditional publishing house; alas, those are far and few between.
    I too, still like the ‘paper and glue’ books.

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