PLATFORM. I read a lot of conflicting ideas about the importance of having a substantial platform: (1) It used to matter more but its importance is declining, but also that (2) a writer must have at least 5k followers on social media to even be considered for agent representation, and (3) some kinds of social media “count” more than others. Is a writer wise to stop writing and concentrate on platform?
I’m reluctant to offer specific numbers because each author and project is different. With nonfiction, a fantastic topic presented uniquely can overcome a modest platform, and a large platform ensures other authors of one or more contract offers on any given book. A novelist with a huge fan base built by a successful publishing history will find an easier time of it than most debut authors, but that has always been so.
I advise authors to pursue a strong social-media presence. I recommend spending some time each day on social media. A half an hour is a good target. Choose one or two platforms you enjoy. I emphasize, enjoy. Make social media part of your daily entertainment, and it won’t feel like work.
You may say you don’t like any social media. If this is you, I recommend that you try working with a few platforms until you figure out which is the lesser evil for you. Better yet, try to appreciate the journey and find something to like about posting.
Another way to build a platform as an adjunct to social media is to publish a newsletter. Authors who demonstrate that their newsletter has a healthy number of subscribers are letting editors know that people want to hear from them regularly because you have to subscribe to a newsletter.
Whichever path you take, you can gauge your success by the people who engage with your posts/tweets/photos. That will guide you on which one best suits yourself.
You may want to expand your knowledge by becoming acquainted with my friend and expert on social media, Edie Melson. Here is a link to her programs:
What authors do you enjoy following on social media?
What author newsletters do you enjoy most? Why?
What are some topics you’d like to see authors discuss?
For the entire series, click here: “Your Questions Answered.”