I belong to quite a few author groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Recently, several members of a Facebook group weighed in on a discussion about securing an agent.
Many members expressed frustration with what is required in securing an agent. The primary frustration is that an author absolutely must build a platform.
A platform simply means the author has visibility and authority. According to one agent, in order to have a “sellable platform” the following is required.
- Klout score of 60+
- 20+ paid speaking engagements of $5,000 or more
- Subscriber list of 25,000
- Social media following of 150,000 plus
- Syndicated column
- TV or radio show
- Blogger for major blog
Although this is what one agent requires, it’s not what every agent insists upon. However, most agents do require you have some type of presence. After all, book publishing and sales goes beyond a well written book. It’s about business.
Yep! The business of writing is about the business of writing. The sooner an author realizes this the better.
No matter what route an author takes, you (the author) still need to know specifics about your market.
Developing a platform is needed whether or not you are represented by an agent.
I am both a speaker and author. The combination of the two is very powerful to both sell books and get speaking engagemntes. The two definitely go hand in hand.
I began my professional speaking career nearly 20 years ago. Back then, newbie speakers thought all would be wonderful if we could be represented by a bureau. It was the same “catch 22” of needing to have a strong platform before a bureau was interested.
It can take years to develop a great platform, so it is best to start right where you’re at. Do something every single day to build your platform.
The fact is, it all takes work. Whether you’re self-published, published by a traditional publisher, represented or not represented by an agent you have to be actively involved in the marketing of your book.
Imagine where you’ll be in a year if each and every day you focus on building a platform. And imagine where you will be in a year if you DON’T focus on building a platform.
Momentum begets activity. As you focus on gaining visibility, magical things begin to happen.
It pays for an author to know how to raise awareness about their book.
Here are a few things worth knowing:
Who is your reader?
Where do they hang out?
What social networks do they belong to?
What forums do they belong to?
What blogs do they read?
What radio shows do they listen to?
What experts do they follow?
The reason you want to answer these questions is so you can focus your visibility efforts to get in front of your readers and fans. . For example, by knowing what experts they follow you will know who to form aligned partnerships with. By knowing what blogs they read, you will know where to focus your guest blogging efforts. By knowing what forums they belong to, you will know what forums you need to participate in.
A few things sure to gain you (and your books) lots of visibility are:
1. Secure one radio interview per week. Blog Talk radio has endless opportunities to getting on shows. Hosts are always in search of interesting authors to interview.
2. Write articles and distribute to the various directories. Select six directories where your reader looks for articles. Some say article marketing is dead. I wholeheartedly disagree.
3. Blog on a regular basis – minimum of 2 – 3 times a week.
4. Use media releases to raise awareness. You can create a media release for just about anything.
5. Commit to making 2014 the year you gain massive visibility as an author.
6. Surround yourself with authors who know the importance of marketing.
7. Have fun. The more fun you can have the better.
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