By Sarah Bolme on The Book Designer site:
We can never stress enough the importance of an author’s platform. In today’s guest post, Sarah Bolme explains how to focus your efforts for this self-publishing necessity. Enjoy!
“If you want to be an author and either get published or sell books, you need a platform.”
This is the prevailing message in the publishing industry and at writers’ conferences today. As a result, many aspiring authors and independently published authors rush to start a platform.
The problem is that most authors focus on where they will build their platform and how they will build their platform. They fail to identify what their platform is and whom they intend to reach.
I frequently run into authors who cannot identify the target audience for their books. It seems many independently published authors fail to identify who their target audience is and what their unique take on their message is.
In essence, many authors fail to understand what having a platform means. Having a platform simply means that you have an audience—a group of people—who listen to what you have to say. People only listen to what you have to say because you are saying something different from everyone else, something that resonates with them. As a result, these people trust you and share your message with others. When this happens, you develop influence with this group of people.
The Internet is filled with people talking about every subject under the sun. If you join the conversation and talk about the same things that other people are talking about, what will make people stop listening to another influencer and start listening to you?
Remember, you are in competition for people’s time and attention. Readers have numerous options as to who to follow and listen to. To be effective at building a platform, you must first identify who your target audience is and what your unique spin on your topic is.