The Truth About Author Platform

Lisa Tener book coachSometimes people feel demoralized when they hear they need a huge platform to get the interest of a large traditional publisher. So I thought I’d provide some myth-busting, clarity and hope on the subject.

Are publishers looking for big platforms in general? Yes. But…

1. There are always exceptions to the rules: don’t rule your book out if you don’t have the platform.

2. Get creative: I’ve helped clients think creatively about leveraging other businesses, connections or opportunities they hadn’t considered, helping them attract an agent and clinch a book deal, even as a first time author with what looked like a meager platform to begin with. Think creatively and you may have more platform than you initially thought.

3. Invest time and money strategically: With the right kind of expertise, you may be able to interest a large national news source or blogging platform, like Psychology Today or the Huffington Post. If you write fabulous posts and network, your blogs may even be featured prominently on page one and promoted by those same sites.

4. Consider mid-size publishers. You may be able to contact these presses directly. Several of my clients signed book deals with mid-sized publishers this summer including ABC-CLIO / Praeger and New World Library. In such cases, a modest platform is often enough, especially if the publisher is looking specifically for a book on your subject, which happened to one client this summer! The acquisitions editor actually told me, “I’ve slated a book on that subject for 2015 or 2016!” Credentials, market analysis and freshness of the book were all important to the publisher, but platform was not as much of an issue at all.

book cover 3000 pulses later5. Consider self-publishing. There are many advantages–you’ll have your book sooner, you have control, you can make changes more easily, you make more money per book–and the list goes on. Platform never has to stop you from publishing your book. Maybe you don’t even need to sell a huge number of books for your book to make the kind of impact on your life, business and other people’s lives that you are looking for. Bring Your Book to Life Program graduate Martha Rhodes self-published her book, 3,000 Pulses Later. Being self published didn’t stop her from getting interviewed by the New York Times  and she’s in talks with a Japanese publisher who does want to traditionally publish in Japan (and they’re talking a 10,000 copy first print run–a very healthy number)!

These are only 5 possibilities–there are many more. In fact, feel free to share your own platform and publishing tips and success stories here–or ask a question.

This writer cares about typos. If you find one, click here to be part of the EditMob – it’s anonymous.

Comments

  1. says

    Interesting that you have been able to create a forum through continuing medical education at Harvard. Since I have a book about managing a significant aspect of medical practice, I’d be interested in knowing more about how to penetrate a profession this way.

    • Lisa Tener says

      I think the first step would be to see what kinds of Continuing Medical Education courses there are out there (at any University) that directly relate to what you have to offer–and then you might approach them.

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