Understanding Your Platform
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Feb 08 2022
When pursuing publication as a nonfiction author you’re going to hear the word platform quite a bit. You’re going to be rejected because your platform isn’t big enough and asked in your proposal to highlight your platform. So before you get started, it’s important to know what a platform is.
Platform is the connection you already have with potential readers. It’s your reach. Certainly, it can be social media accounts, but it’s also workshops, presentations, consulting.
What a Platform Is Not
A platform is not defined by your credentials. A Ph.D., CEO, or Dr. is not a platform. They are the level of expertise you have, and expertise, while important, doesn’t necessarily sell books. It just shows readers that you know what you’re talking about. That you’re an expert.
The Purpose of Platform
The purpose of a platform, from the standpoint of the publisher, is to bring readers to the book. Sure the publisher is going to do the legwork to help find readers, but they also want to know that you’re bringing your own with you. An Instagram account with 10,000 followers won’t likely sell 10,000 books, but it might sell 5,000 which is hugely helpful to the publisher in determining whether there’s an audience for the book.
And the audience is the key. A big platform says to the publisher, “hey 50,000 people regularly want to hear what I have to say. There is a need for this book.”
The Magic Numbers
There is no magic to the number of followers you need to have or workshops you need to be doing. Every publisher is different. To some, 10,000 might be enough, to others, it’s not even close.
So while I can’t give you exact numbers on how many people you need to be speaking to (either in workshops or on social media) I can tell you that in the range of 10,000+ is what you should be shooting for.
In today’s publishing world, when readers are inundated with easy access to information, a platform is critical to knowing that readers will actually pay for that information (v just getting it online). It makes a difference in not only how a publisher views your project, but how likely it is readers will come to it.