Most authors I know first write the book, then publish the book, and finally think about marketing the book. But book publicists know that this is exactly the opposite way to do things.
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, emails 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. Consider Instagram, TikTok and other social media that emphasizes images rather than words. You can upload the cover of your book, illustrations, make lists, and use these sites in many creative ways.
Join an interest group on Linked-In, Facebook, Goodreads, 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.
If you have already published your book, or you plan to do so in a few months, rather than a few years, don’t be discouraged. It is better late than never. What are you going to do today to develop your platform?