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Author’s Platform? What’s That and How Do I Get One?

If you’ve spent any time around people in the publishing industry, or attended a conference about getting your nonfiction or how-to book published, you’ve probably heard the term platform. An author’s platform refers to your fan base, and the media vehicles you already use to reach people with your message.

Your internet platform includes your blog, online articles you publish, your presence on facebook(pages, profile, friends, groups), your twitter presence, blogcasts, an internet radio show, videos on youtube and other sites, your website and the amount of traffic it gets. When people visit your website they should have the opportunity to become part of your community or fan-base. Perhaps they subscribe to your blog or newsletter. Maybe you offer a free tip list or mini-course in exchange for their e-mail address and first name. Here’s an example of how to enroll people in a free course.

Your platform also includes everyone on your mailing list. You want to build that list through your website, speaking engagements, courses, and however else you can. Ideally, you aren’t just collecting names. You communicate with your mailing list and offer value to them.

Another area of platform is your traditional media base–articles in magazines and newspapers that have featured or quoted you, TV or radio interviews, as well as any articles you’ve written and published, or radio or TV shows you host.

The term actually comes from the speaker’s podium, or platform, and public speaking, teaching workshops or seminars and other public appearances also compose your platform, as do any memberships you have in local, regional and national organizations.

If you don’t have an extensive platform and you want to get published or promote your self-published book successfully, it’s time to develop it now.

Lisa Tener

Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.

Reader Interactions


  1. Kimberley Harrington says

    Hi Lisa,
    Bob Baxter suggested I look at your blog. While I am not new to writing — was published while attending university at San Francisco State many years ago, I am definitely new to the Internet game. Without going into a long explanation, I was absent while all the new technology was evolving (and still is at such a rapid pace) so am playing catch-up on a daily basis. I’m on Twitter in a manner of speaking — not really actively participating — and don’t have a clue as to how to Tweet to market myself. Would appreciate any pointers on the preceding you might be able to offer. I am currently writing press releases and articles for online distribution via a PR firm in Nashville and will be doing some work — I hope on an ongoing basis — for Helios.

  2. Pat Hastings says

    Hi Lisa, great subject. I first heard the word platform 4 years ago when I was still struggling with writing my book, Simply a Woman of Faith. I didn’t have a clue what it meant and it seemed very overwhelming. Like Kimberley, I was not computer savey at all, but I am learning slowly. For me, it’s taking it a step at a time, asking for help to those who know how to do this stuff. I started with a web page presence and keep adding to it. I also started a monthly newsletter and had no idea how to do it. Constant Contact was a great tool to help with the newsletter. Then there’s networking. Meeting people is so important because they have led me to the next step. People really want to help one another and connect you with others who can help you. Social networking was the next step. Facebook, twitter, blogging. Where do you start? I’m now on Facebook and making friends. I know I need to do more, but for now it’s working. I am just starting a blog, which for some reason is scary. But I’m doing it. I have had a lot of success calling and emailing radio stations and asking if I could be a guest. I have enjoyed that immensely. Name recognition is so important.I want to be known as the expert on Faith and when people think of Faith – they think Pat Hastings.

  3. lisatener says

    Hi Kim,

    True confession: I just joined Twitter 30 seconds ago, after your blog comment prompted me to finally act on an e-mail that Rusty Shelton of Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists sent me last week.

    While I may not have much to offer on Twitter, Rusty Shelton will be guest blogging on this blog for an entire week focused on publicity, especially internet publicity. It starts on Feb. 2 as publicity week on Lisa Tener’s Writing Blog.

    Stay tuned for more…

    Pat’s suggestion of getting onto Facebook is a good one. Start a group and post a video on your wall and on the wall of your group.Certainly friend me on facebook and feel free to join my group, Write a Book. Fern Reiss has a very active group on Facebook–you might try her group, and check out as a great new site for promoting your book (and your work) to the media, for speaking opportunities and more.

    Anyway, there will be lots more on the subject–and if you think my blog posts are meaty and filled with valuable information you can act on immediately, wait until you see what Rusty has in store.

  4. lisatener says

    Thanks Angie,
    I checked out your blog and was inspired by your organizing ideas, and especially by the photo. I liked the comment “a place for everything” — I need to do that.

    And Kimberly,
    At last I have more of a promise for you–February 2 begins PR Week on this blog–you can ask my friends at PHenix and Phenix Literary Publicists all your questions about Twitter!


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