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Your author platform is your connection or reach in the marketplace. It represents the relative sales potential of your book based on people who are already familiar with you or your work.

The author’s platform is his or her established audience. It might be through a large database, syndicated radio show, national television show, magazine column, large and well-known company—in other words, name recognition on a grand scale. The higher your platform, the easier to find a publisher and sell larger quantities of books. You now have an avenue for getting yourself recognized as a author. Further, you have a way of influencing people to buy your book because they already listen to you.

Improving your platform should start as you are writing your book, not when you finish it. If your book will be self-published, your platform represents your ability to sell your book successfully. If you are seeking an established commercial publisher, your platform may determine whether or not you get a book contract. When an individual wants to increase his or her potential reach, there are six blocks to a higher platform that should be considered.

1. Media Opportunities and Contacts. What media (broadcast or print) have you had (interviews, recommendations, mentions, etc.) over the past two or more years, and what do you have booked into the upcoming year? Create a list of each media appearance, where and when it happened, the size of the audience and your contact there. If you have few or none, brainstorm how you can get your name out in the media (writing articles, getting interviewed by radio shows and podcasts, etc.) and start doing that now before you publish your book.

2. Speaking Engagements. What speaking engagements – seminars, workshops, keynotes, etc. – have you had on the topic of your book or generally related products over the past two years and what do you have booked into the upcoming year? If you have few or none, find some local opportunities to speak for free and/or give teleclasses or participate in other events where you can get up in front of people and demonstrate your expertise.

3. Memberships. What organizations, industry associations, clubs, etc. do you belong to where there is a regular opportunity to communicate with your target audience? If you have held a leadership position (on the board, chaired an event committee, etc.) that demonstrates a greater ability to get your message out through the organization. Consider joining trade associations or other organizations if you currently do not belong to any.

4. Your Database. How many individual names and emails do you have that represents prospects or clients for your work or for the issues that are the subject of your book? These represent targeted potential book buyers. People who already know you and respect your work are much more likely to buy your book than the public at large. If the size of your database is less than 2,000, consider offering free special reports, holding contests or partnering with others who can help you increase the size of your database.

5. Volume Purchasers. Who do you know who might be in a position to buy large quantities of your book? Do you know individuals who are corporate buyers or are you in a position of influence in an organization that might be interested in buying 1,000 or more copies of your book and give them to members? Consider your past employment or affiliations or executives you know who might become quantity buyers.

6. Celebrities/Authorities. Who do you know who is well known to the public or to your potential readers and who might be influential in getting them to buy your book? These people, known for their own names or the names of their organizations, can write testimonials about you, your work or your book that will be key to a great back cover or other sales materials.


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