A client asked me today whether he should focus only on writing his book proposal or work on building his author platform at the same time. First, my advice to him, followed by my advice for you.
For him: “I understand you’re feeling overwhelmed, but right now you’re not getting contact information for the people interested in your topic. If you write the proposal and completely wait to develop your platform, it will be a hurry up and wait scenario, where we can’t put the proposal out until we’ve built more platform.” [His is a fairly competitive category in the book market.]
While this author is appearing on TV, he would get much more leverage from his TV appearances–and articles–by developing a mailing list. And that means he needs a way to “collect” names and e-mails of people interested in the expertise he has to share.
I suggested he come up with a schedule that separated out the different tasks. He can work on the proposal twice a week; let’s say Mondays and Wednesdays. Then, separately, he can schedule an hour or two once a week–Fridays, for instance–where he focuses on one specific platform building tasks.
For example, I suggested that one week he create a free opt-in gift for visitors to his website; another week he can add the functionality to his website so that people can sign up for that gift and it can interface with contstant contact or mailchimp to create a database that’s easy to mail from. I also suggested shortcuts like using a tip list from an existing blog post to create the free gift. By breaking tasks down into small manageable chunks, we can focus on the most important aspects of platform building–those that will create the greatest momentum and are most important to start early.
By separating out the two tasks, he’ll continue to make progress on both. And by taking small steps on growing author platform, mainly growing his mailing list, he should be able to do it without getting overwhelmed.
How about you, though? If you follow my advice to him, that’s ideal, because platform growth is cumulative. The more you do up front, the more momentum you can gain for when your book proposal is ready (or your book is ready to launch). However, if you sense that the platform building will just overhwelm you or impede your creative process, do what you need to do to get your book proposal–or book–written first. Click to Tweet this Post.
What questions do you have about growing your author platform?
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