You’ve got a great idea for a book, have created an outline, done your research and you’re ready to find an agent and sell your book to Random House. Having been one of the people who sits at the table, reads your manuscript, proposal or outline and decides whether or not to buy your book, let me tell you the first questions we ask ourselves.
Publishers want to know. What is your platform?
We need to know how you are going to sell your book. As a publisher, we’re going to provide professional editing, design services, expert sales people and great distribution. We’ll put marketing dollars toward selling you book and work hard to give your book the visibility it needs in stores and online so that YOUR fan base can find it and buy it. It all starts with you. The publisher wants to know, before they buy your manuscript, what you bring to the table in terms of a ready made audience.
- Do you have a radio or television show with a lot of viewers and great ratings?
- Are you a celebrity?
- Are you a lecturer with many firm bookings for the coming year?
- Do you head a vast organization whose members will want your book?
- Are you social media savvy with more thousands of followers?
- Do you have a large database that can be utilized to rally your fan base to purchase your book?
- Have you previously published a bestselling book?
Gone are the days when a publisher could easily take a risk on an unknown writer. Although that still happens, thankfully, it happens less frequently than one would wish. So how do you make yourself a more desirable publishing partner to attract the attention and investment of a big publishing house? You create and execute your own pre-publication marketing plan. This is a good strategy even if you are self-publishing…in fact, especially if you are self-publishing.
Here are just a few things every author and would be author can do to being now to build a platform that will help promote your book at publication time.
- Create a Facebook Profile so you can easily connect with everyone you every met. Those people are the most likely to want to purchase your book and support your newest endeavor.
- Create a Facebook Fan Page for your book so you have a professional page with your book title that will be indexed by Google, increase your SEO and give you a proper place to talk about the making of your book.
- Start a Twitter account in your own name. Every tweet is a unique URL and again, online is all about search. Every tweet is new content, all new content increases your Google juice, the more Google juice the more people will see your name and find your book.
- Write a blog. Do it on WordPress or Blogspot because both of those platforms are already optimized for search. You need a blog to communicate longer thoughts than can be done through either Facebook or Twitter. Additionally, your blog can be reproduced as a “guest blog” on sites with more traffic. This, of course, increases your visibility and the likelihood that readers will find your book.
- Make videos. Talk about your book or your area of expertise. Tell or show viewers something they don’t already know that fits in with your book theme or ideas.
- Write a book club guide with questions and discussion prompts. Put it on your blog as a free download for book clubs.
- Make your own book trailer for free with a program called Animoto. Upload it to YouTube, Facebook, and your author page on Amazon.com, as well as your blog.
- Offer yourself as a guest on Blog Talk Radio shows, webinars, teleseminars or any other outlet where your most likely audience already gathers.
These strategies take time to implement. Most of them are free. Once you write your book, your new job is marketing. Having a well plotted strategy will help. What platform building ideas are you employing? I’d love to know.