Build Your Platform

You’ve spent the last year or so writing your first novel.  It may be a great story, but it takes more than a great premise to sell a book.  Great stories with a significant number of structural and grammatical errors get tossed to the side every day.  How’s your dialogue? Does it move your story forward or just sit like a rock slowing things down and encouraging the reader to skip it completely. What about your platform? Do you have one? Great manuscripts of first-time authors get pushed to the side every day because the aspiring author doesn’t have a solid platform.

I was rejected by a literary agent because of my lack of a solid platform. I spent years editing and rewriting major portions of my manuscript to address the issues mentioned above.  I was confident with my work and looked forward to a request for the complete story. Well, what I got wasn’t a request but a rejection.  The reason had nothing to do with my novel. I had focused so much of my attention on preparing it for publication, that I failed to do one of the most important things, build an audience of potential customers.

Is a platform really that important? Unfortunately, yes, especially for first time authors. The agent who rejected me apologized for not giving me better news, but said it was really hard to place new authors and especially those who did not have a solid platform. While she recommended that I send it to other agents, she also emphasized the importance of building a platform.

You may be an introvert, but the good news is building a platform it is a lot easier than you would think.  Google ‘Building a platform’ and you’ll find all kinds of information.  I would personally recommend looking into Michael Hyatt. He is an author, blogger, speaker, and a former chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, so he knows a little bit about what we are trying to accomplish here. I would also recommend his book ‘PLATFORM GET NOTICED IN A NOISY WORLD’. He provides all the information you need to get started, including websites that assist with the creation of your online presence.

I hope this helps someone out there on their quest to being published. I have to admit I was upset and discouraged after receiving the news from the literary agent. I just didn’t know. I could have been working on building my platform all along, while preparing my novel for publishing.

Maybe you’re not looking for an agent but self-publishing. You still have to have a platform. Who is your customer base?

Something to think about.

-Jan R

Build Your Platform

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