Look BEYOND your network to build your author platform
I was interviewed today by a self-publishing consultant for a new program she is putting together to guide first-time authors through the publishing and marketing processes. As is common in these interview scenarios, the interviewer sent me her questions ahead of time. The following is one of the best questions I’ve been asked in a long time.
What if an author’s own personal network
is not interested in their particular book?
Although the natural place for an author to begin growing their platform is with their current network, the fact is that the people in your network may NOT be interested in this particular book.
A few things…
(1) Do your research. Go back to your reasons for writing the book in the first place. Determine WHO your audience is and WHY they are interested in it.
(2) Next, answer some questions about this target audience:
- What are their demographics (age, education, marital/parenting status)?
- What are their psychographics (personality traits, values, attitudes)?
- What kinds of books, magazines, and Web sites do they already read?
- Where, how, and with whom do they spend their time?
- To which organizations and associations do they belong?
- How can you best gain access to them, both virtually and in real life?
The answers to these questions will be your jumping off points for building your platform.
(3) Don’t dismiss that uninterested network so quickly. Now that you’ve got some concrete data about the audience with whom you want to connect, comb through your personal network to determine who among them is ALREADY CONNECTED to any of these people and ask them to make the appropriate introductions for you.
(4) Call on your personal network to become your ambassadors. Say you’ve morphed from your traditional topic of sales training into merchandising, and your personal network isn’t really interested in a book on this subject. They are, however, hard-earned and loyal fans. So leverage your credentials and goodwill with them by calling on your network to share your new book topic with their own networks. The worst they can do is say no – in which case you’re really no further behind than you were before asking. Best case scenario, someone from your existing network opens a door for you to the perfect liaison to help you grow your platform!
If this is your first book and you don’t already have a sizable platform, growing it will take time. But with diligence, consistency, and quality content and communication, you can do it. It’s never too early to start!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.