The term “writer’s platform” is a less-commercial way of saying “author branding.” It means how you present yourself to the public, and how you are seen/viewed by readers, agents, editors, fellow writers or illustrators, and anyone else paying attention. It’s a way of showing your unique qualities that “brand” you as a person, as a writer or artist. Writer’s Digest explains a platform as your visibility as an authora creator, utilizing your personal ability to sell books through who you are, the connections you have, and the media outlets you use.
How is that done? Your personal platform is created through every public forum you create or use, such as your website, blog, newsletter, author visits, media interviews, conference presentations, and whatever social media you are using, be it Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Don’t think of it as your “image,” though, because image implies something perceived. You’ll be putting the real, flawed you out there, just like you did for your main characters.
Notice it’s not called a “book platform.” We aren’t talking about branding your book, because you are more than one book! Your book is but one tangible manifestation of who you are. If you brand yourself too closely with one title, on the next book you’ll have to do it all over again. That confuses people. They can handle lots of books, but they only want one you. Brand yourself correctly and all your books will easily fall under that umbrella.
The more people know and like you, the more willing they’ll be to listen to what you have to say, and ultimately more likely to buy what you write/create, or come hear you speak, etc. It’s hard to break through the noise these days. People that like you are bound to give your work a chance… which gives you a head start with any new titles. Your established readers/followers will be more open to liking your next book, preordering it, and creating buzz for you before it even hits the shelves. In addition. If you have a huge following, it can also influence publishing acquisition decisions (welcome to the 21st century).
You won’t please everybody, no one does, but those that stick around will want to know more and more about you. The more consistent with every form of public participation, the more they know they can rely on you.
You’re the only you there is. Now get out there already!
Bitsy Kemper is the author of six picture books, her own website, three Facebook and two Twitter accounts. You may have seen Bitsy on CNN, heard her on national radio, noticed her quoted in anything from Parenting Magazine to Writing Children's Books For Dummies, or seen her work in countless newspapers, radio and TV stations across the U.S. Maybe you drove past her on the freeway and didn't even know it... Busy with three kids (four if you count her husband), she finds time to present at writer conferences and author visits from L.A. to N.Y. Wander over to www.BitsyKemper.com or follow her on Twitter (under, understandably, BitsyKemper).
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