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?
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.