Jane Friedman is a brilliant woman in the publishing world. She’d been editor of Writer’s Digest and the Virginia Quarterly. Now she’s just an in-demand guru, and trust me, I read everything of hers that comes across my screen.
One of her most famous posts on her blog is A Definition of Author Platform –https://janefriedman.com/author-platform-definition/
<<Platform building requires consistent, ongoing effort over the course of a career. It also means making incremental improvements in extending your network. It’s about making waves that attract other people to you — not about begging others to pay attention. The following list is not exhaustive, but helps give you an idea of how platform can grow.
1) Publishing or distributing quality work in outlets you want to be identified with and that your target audience reads.
2) Producing a body of work on your own platform — e.g., blog, e-mail newsletter, social network, podcast, video, digital downloads, etc—that gathers quality followers or a community of people who are interested in what you have to say. This is usually a longterm process.
3) Speaking at and/or attending events where you meet new people and extend your network of contacts.
4) Finding meaningful ways to engage with and develop your target audience, whether through content, events, online marketing/promotion, etc.
5) Partnering with peers or influencers to tackle a new project and/or extend your visibility.>>
I have taught classes on platform, and the most common confusion I see across those seas of faces is how to clearly define what platform is, so that those writers can follow some magical formula to get it. It’s not a well-defined path.
Here is my definition of platform:
1) Platform is you and your work and the magnetism it has on the public.
2) Add to that your ability to develop a reputation.
3) And finally add to that your ability to maintain a momentum, because platform isn’t something you build and expect it to remain structurally sound forever.
Platform is a long-term goal. Jane summarizes it as “An ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.” Yes, that’s spot on. But there’s also an unspoken understanding that platform can’t erode. Platform has no laurels to rest upon . . . you have to work with it every day to keep it alive and well.
BIO – C. Hope Clark is editor of FundsforWriters.com and author of six mystery novels – www.chopeclark.com