What’s Your Platform Identity?

A mistake for authors is defining their author platform as a list of people to market their next book on social media.

Can you imagine a pastor of a church looking out over their congregation during a sermon and primarily thinking who among them would make good contacts when the new building finance program is announced the following week?  Maybe some do, but I cannot imagine a worse way to approach life. We could fully expect some sort of bad future in store for the pastor and congregation.

If you view your author platform as nothing more than transactional relationships, it will fail. If you view it primarily as sharing your heart and caring for a group of people, it will have far more value and possibly be responsive when you have a book.

I’ll go right to the spiritual stuff, with apologies for the jarring transition.

Have you ever been in a group studying your identity in Christ when the leader asks those attending to “tell us who you are”? And members of the group default to gender, employment, relationship status, political affiliation, recovery status, and sports teams?

I have.

And this after an hour-long study of Scripture that clearly spoke about who we are in Christ, how one has a new life and a new identity.

Habits are hard to break.

Same with author platforms. Thinking of them only in terms of marketing potential is chasing after the wind. They are much more.

An author platform is all-inclusive, including all the elements we tell you to do in workshops and blog posts on this issue, like qualifications, branding, and messaging, but also other things that might not be obvious.

For Christian authors, the not-so-obvious things, which affect the success of your platform, are a host of “soft” messages that become obvious when you communicate on your platform:

  • What is most important to you.
  • How you deal with people who are unlike you or against you.
  • How you handle success.
  • How you deal with adversity.
  • Who you think you are in Christ.

These all roll up into your platform identity, which becomes obvious to all who follow you.

All are personal and subjective, which is why we usually ignore them when discussing how to build a platform.

Sure, there are best-practices for building a social-media following. But platform is so much more as you share your life with a group of people, interact with them, and once in a while mention something about your book.

In your platform, tell us who you are and let your identity shine through.

Maybe you are just one of the redeemed, given an opportunity to serve the Redeemer.

17 Responses to What’s Your Platform Identity?

  1. Andrew Budek-Schmeisser November 18, 2021 at 5:28 am #

    I used to be another person,
    and platform told the story
    of, perhaps, my better version
    who searched for meaning’s glory,
    and wrote of all the hopes and dreams
    that bright ambition brought
    ’till all the grand and hard-worked schemes
    came suddenly to naught.
    Now the great things fall away
    at the edge of an abyss,
    and I walk each writing day
    aware I’ll be remiss
    if I don’t hold a humble light
    against the fall of cancer’s night.

    • Judith Robl November 22, 2021 at 2:59 pm #

      Oh, Andrew, you are always such an inspiration.

  2. Susan Sage November 18, 2021 at 7:43 am #

    Great perspective and compelling thoughts to start the morning. Thank you.

  3. Kelly November 18, 2021 at 9:11 am #

    This makes much better sense about how to relate to readers and offer them the value they deserve. I appreciate how are you showed the difference.

  4. Diana Derringer November 18, 2021 at 9:13 am #

    Thank you for the reminder.

  5. Roberta Sarver November 18, 2021 at 9:22 am #

    You have added a dimension which we need to consider. Thanks for the information; it makes a lot of sense.

  6. Kristen Joy Wilks November 18, 2021 at 9:49 am #

    Thank you for the reminder! As someone who lives and works at a Bible camp, I love to see Jesus in the many different kinds of churches that we host. As a volunteer in our local public schools, now with my therapy dog, I love to support and encourage our brave teachers who shepherd our children through such tough times. I want to be the kind of Christian who has non-Christian’s whom I love and can be there when God calls me to be the Christian that they know.

  7. Pearl November 18, 2021 at 9:56 am #

    Thank you. That puts it in perspective.

  8. Julia F November 18, 2021 at 9:59 am #

    Thank you for the valuable insights. What are your top 3 blog posts? I want to read more of your “best of” blogs. Also, I notice this blog is short. What do you think is the sweet spot word count for a quick & quality blog post?

    • Dan Balow November 18, 2021 at 10:44 am #

      For me, I think 400-500 words is enough to get a point across. However, most devotionals are in the 250-word range.

      I’ll ask Steve to consider a best-of week of posts!

  9. Grace Fox November 18, 2021 at 11:19 am #

    Thank you, Dan. So much wisdom in this post.

  10. Damon J. Gray November 18, 2021 at 11:30 am #

    Dan, this is just excellent! I have long viewed my “platform” as that upon which I “stand” as I minister to and interact with my flock online. Sure there is a marketing component and goal, but the primary objective is to minister to those with whom I interact.

  11. Claire O'Sullivan November 18, 2021 at 12:32 pm #

    Thank you, Dan.

    Each work needs to reach others. I noted that before Christ, I had no real identity. I was lost in a moray of wife, mom, student, etc. Coming to Christ was a change in that identity. I finally FOUND (realized the Lord was prompting me) my identity, recognized that my identity is hidden in Christ.

    So my debut novel was based upon a woman who had no memory of self, no identity. She becomes a thief, stealing identites as she goes.

    That platform speaks to remind Christians and backsliding Christians that their identity is in Christ – I needed reminding over the years. And for unbelievers who struggle with saying who they are, what are they basing it on. What happens if they lose that ability, that husband, even a loss of a child?

    And part of it is how to share the Gospel with those who can only see themselves through the world.

    My current novel has much of the same. No amnesia, but a shameful background so she puts her identity into nature, science, self-importance. And again, the unlikely source of who would share the Gospel.

    So many folks (Christians) do not know how to share – so that is there, right there without preaching, how to share. With our identity with Christ, we become ambassadors. Without knowing how to share, people will remain lost without the ability to hear the Good News.

    Great post, Dan.

  12. Michael Kalous November 18, 2021 at 6:10 pm #

    Thanks for this article, Dan. It causes me to take my platform to an online presence greater than my private practice website or my Facebook site. I feel led to begin a blog, so I will need to do some research on how to create one. Thanks again for this timely word.

  13. Marsha Young November 20, 2021 at 8:23 pm #

    Thank you, Dan. This is a fine re-calibration of what can be essentially a service opportunity.

  14. Judith Robl November 22, 2021 at 3:01 pm #

    Thank you, Dan, for this thought-provoking, insightful post.

  15. mnh175@aol.com November 26, 2021 at 9:00 am #

    Thank you so very much. This is what I needed to read this morning.

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