Most authors I know first write the book, then publish the book, and finally think about marketing the book. But the book publicists I have talked with tell me that this is exactly the opposite way to think about what your book can do for you.
You should start developing your platform two to three years before your book is published. This is not as hard as it sounds. It takes at least a year for the average person to organize the content of the book, write it, and publish it. Start developing your platform as soon as you start writing your book, and you’ll have a group of potential buyers ready and waiting as soon as your book is published.
So what is this “platform”? It is all of the ways in which you market yourself, your ideas, and your products and services. Do you have an up-to-date database of all of your contacts? If not, this should be your first step in building your platform. Keep the names, e-mails and physical addresses for everyone you meet in a computer database. That way you can easily use it for a variety of purposes such as an email newsletter, announcements of upcoming seminars, and, of course, messages about the publication and sale of your book.
- If you don’t have a website, get one, or maybe two. At the very least your business website should have a page about your book and a way in which people can purchase it. You might also consider a second website, using your book’s name, and linking it to your business site.
- Blog and tweet, regularly. These are currently two of the best tools for introducing yourself to large numbers of people. You have something worth writing about; share it on your blog or twitter page.
- Join an interest group on Linked-In, Facebook, or another networking site. Then make sure you become an active participant and comment regularly. It’s just like face-to-face networking; if you don’t participate you won’t get anything out of it.
What are you going to do today to develop your platform?