Why do aspiring authors and published authors need to have a platform? Because there have been major changes in the world of publishing. And, with a bigger platform authors can reach more people and it boosts the chances of finding a big-name publisher for book #2 and subsequent books!
I am going to Author101 University event later this month. My first book, The Antianxiety Food Solution, was published by New Harbinger in 2011, but even though I am a published author I know I need to continue to learn how to build my platform so can serve more people with my food mood message.
Rick Frishman, host of Author101 University, shares “The Platform Requirement” for authors:
One of the most significant changes in publishing in the past decade has been the shifting by publishers of the responsibility for promoting authors’ books from themselves to the authors. In the past, publishing houses actively publicized their authors’ books. They operated large, active, in-house publicity departments that were fully engaged in promoting the titles on their lists. Most notable authors were sent on extensive, nationwide book tours, for which the houses picked up the tab.
Now, with the exception of the biggest, bestselling, and celebrity authors, those tours are a memory, and whatever tours are booked are far less extensive than those of the past. Somewhere along the line, publishers made the unilateral decision to shift the publicity burden from themselves to their authors. Now, they consider authors their “promotional partners,” which means that the authors are expected to do most of the work. Authors are expected to vigorously promote their books and to do so at their own expense. In-house publicity departments have been pared to the bone and are now manned by a few overworked publicists who struggle constantly to keep up.
In addition, publishers have erected a substantial new barrier that has made it difficult for many writers to get their nonfiction books published.
Publishers call it the platform requirement, which essentially means that publishers want authors who have continuing national visibility and an established following. In short, publishers generally won’t publish business, psychology, parenting, relationship, and other books for authors who don’t have national platforms. Today, publishers want authors who can sell their books because they make frequent speaking engagements; regularly write articles or columns; and have strong media and Internet presences, large mailing lists, government posts, faculty positions, or professional affiliations.
To further narrow the field, many publishers have extended the platform requirement to previously published writers. “The bar for platforms has been raised to almost absurd heights,” Encino, California, agent Sharlene Martin, of Martin Literary Management, explains. “A whole plethora of good writing is being ignored because it doesn’t have the promotional hooks that publishers are now demanding.”
When writers who don’t have platforms come to Martin, she tells them that “they’re not ready; that they’re before their time.” She explains that writing a great book is just a part of the package and that they have to build their platform.
Agent Richard Curtis offers some encouragement. “The bar in publishing has been raised extremely high, but not impossibly high,” he says. “A good book will still rise to the surface if it’s a really good book.” It’s important to impress on publishers that you’re willing to vigorously promote your book. Work to build your platform.
Reprinted from “Rick Frishman’s Sunday Tips”
Subscribe at http://www.rickfrishman.comand receive Rick’s “Million Dollar Rolodex” which is 141 pages long.