Author Dan Balow

What if Platform Is the Goal?

We’ve been here before on this blog, discussing author platforms and how to get one. It’s a never-ending process, and it has always been a requirement for authors. If you find yourself talking about author platforms and believe “Gone are the days when an author could just write,” you are not completely accurate.

Top authors from the “old days” were magazine or newspaper columnists with tens of thousands or millions of readers. Making up the author population were investigative journalists, professors at universities, think-tank scholars, experts, politicians, media celebrities, military, doctors, and business leaders.

Maybe a few came from nowhere to be a best-selling author; but compared to the total number of books published each year, it is so rare, it isn’t worth discussing. The publishing industry, a $250-billion, global industry, is built on qualified and connected authors, writing what they know.

These days, I think it is fair to say many authors do not embrace platform-building with the same level of commitment they apply to the craft involved with writing a book. For many, it is comparable to the unpleasant details one encounters when starting a business, like filling out forms, getting permits, and setting up processes

I’d like to turn the tables a bit on this issue and hope you find it challenging, coming in the form of questions to consider.

What if your platform is more important than your book?

What if the platform is your ministry, and a book is something to minister to those on it?

What if the most effective communication tool to accomplish your personal mission is your YouTube channel or podcast?

What if you reached more people each week through your platform than are reached by most books?

What if books were not an ultimate goal, but a step along the way to a much-greater goal?

Admittedly, books have a mystique about them. They are saved for years on shelves, reread, written in, dog-eared, cherished, given as gifts to friends, or recommended to others as expressions of deep and abiding friendship. They are powerful, impactful tools that can be used to change lives and start movements of God.

But what if you embraced building a platform instead of dreading it? For example:  

Authors of fiction using various media to paint a picture of the themes or settings of their novels, which might give greater appreciation and illumination to readers of their books.

Authors of nonfiction using different media to look at topics from various perspectives, in a timely manner, allowing them to explore things far beyond what one or two books might.

Authors of books for children and youth creating a perspective of their work for parents or teachers.

Books are hard to write, as are platforms to develop. Consider platform-building and its care and feeding as an opportunity to create an ongoing connection to an audience, speaking into their lives every week.

Platforms and books together are tools an author uses to love God and others. A blessing, rather than a chore.

Maybe viewing everything we do as a calling isn’t such a bad way to live after all, and maybe your platform is one part of the calling.

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