When an author submits a book proposal to a publisher, that publisher will likely examine a variety of things about the author that do not have much to do with the author‘s manuscript. This includes things like an appearances on radio and television talk shows, any articles or books the author has previously published, whether or not the author has obtained the status of expert in the topic they are writing on (if it’s nonfiction) and, perhaps most importantly, the author’s online platform.
What is an online platform? It consists of the author’s presence in online forums and social networks, experience in blogging and podcasting, previous online publications, and any interviews the author has had on other people’s podcasts. The publisher will also look at whether or not the author has a large number of followers on social networking sites. Here are a few keys that will help you build your online platform:
- Build a professional website. Include a short autobiography, your contact information and a list of books or articles you’ve had published.
- Start your own blog. By updating your blog often, you’ll build an audience that will follow your published work in the future.
- Publish a newsletter. Send the newsletter to people who frequent your website or blog and include information about your book.
- Find people online who cover the same topic as you and form partnerships. You can promote each other on your respective web sites and in your blogs - this will help everyone involved to build a larger audience and impress publishers.
- Promote yourself through online articles. Write for websites that are related to your topic to build credibility.
- Contact online interviewers or podcasts that might be interested in your topic and offer them an interview.
In addition to these tips, the best way to build your online platform is through repeated exposure. Be seen and heard everywhere - this will help you build credibility and market yourself and your books.
==>Amanda Free is a Communication Major at University of Louisville.