What an Author Platform REALLY Is (and why some “experts” get it wrong)

What an Author Platform REALLY Is (and why some “experts” get it wrong)

Hello Rebels and welcome back to my life!

So today is Writer Wednesday, the day when I talk about tips and tricks for indie authors. Today I want to talk not about writing, but about part of the self-publishing process: building your author platform.

The Author Platform is a very hot buzzword in self-publishing. Everyone knows you need one. Lots of people offer advice on how to build one. Some of that advice is bad, but some of it is very, very good.

But a lot of people misunderstand WHAT a platform is—even platform building experts. And what’s REALLY weird is that I’ve seen advice from some platform-building experts that’s GOOD advice, and WORKS—but almost on accident.

They don’t REALLY understand what a platform is, so they miss out on opportunities to make their advice even better.

To understand what an Author Platform is, you really only have to look at the definition of the word. A platform is nothing more than an elevated surface from which you can speak and where people will listen to you.

And that is all an author platform is.

This is another one of those things that seems too simple to be useful, but people can so easily forget that this is ALL a platform is, and let me explain how.

Common advice in platform building is that every author needs an email list. And this is true. Every author does need an email list. That is DEFINITELY a type of platform.

People say they want to hear from you, they give you their email address, and once a week or once a month you send them a friendly little email. And when you have a new book out, you email them about THAT.

But the thing is, an email list is not the ONLY platform you can build yourself, nor is it even the best one for YOU personally.

Take me as an example. YouTube is actually my PRIMARY platform. I get more responses and interaction from YOU guys than I get even from email. I get to talk to you in a more personal way. We get to see each other and have actual dialogue in the comments.

But YouTube suite ME because of my delivery style and the fact that I already know a little bit about video production.

From this we can learn that different authors will succeed on different platforms, depending on what style of communication suits YOU best.

Some “Platform Experts” say that social media is a useless platform. But that’s not true for everyone. Your communication style might make you better suited to a certain social media platform than anywhere else.

Ksenia Anske is a perfect example. Ksenia is an awesome indie author who I’ve interviewed on this channel before, and she is the QUEEN of Twitter. I have never seen an author use Twitter as well as she does.

That’s because her communication style and her audience thrive on Twitter. And I don’t know if she has an email list, but if she did, weekly emails could not possibly capture the energy and vitality she brings to Twitter.

Where, by the way, she has 50,000 followers who are RABID about her and talk to her all day long and SWARM her books whenever she releases a new one.

True, on social media you are using someone else’s website, and true, they can change the rules of that website on you and true, that can affect the strength of your platform.

Facebook is probably the worst social media site in the world on which to build your platform because they’ve constructed it in such a way that even if someone says they WANT to hear from you, there’s only a 15% chance that they will.

However, if you have built yourself a robust platform and gathered an engaged audience around it, you can easily direct them into the auditorium next door.

You’ll see internet celebrities doing this all the time, from Viners telling their fans to go start following them on Snapchat, to YouTubers hosting their videos on their own website.

The point is this: find what works for you. If you’re a terrible blogger, like me, don’t build your platform around a blog! If you’re good at witty one-liners, do Twitter. If you can do videos, do YouTube.

If you’re an erotica author, do Tumblr, because they’re one of the few social media sites that’s, like, COMPLETELY okay with that.

Which…like just for the record, that’s NOT why Tumblr is my favorite social media site. *wink*

A platform is ONLY a place you can stand where others can listen to you. So find which method of communication YOU’RE best at, and build your platform around it.

That’s today’s advice, Rebels. A special shoutout to my Patreon patrons who make my YouTube channel possible. There’s links in the description where you can go check that out.

Thank you all for watching, and I will see you tomorrow. Maybe. Byyye.

Garrett Robinson

Over 100,000 readers have read and loved Garrett's books, like the fantasy hits Nightblade and Midrealm. He's also a film festival favorite with movies like Unsaid, and a tech guru who posts lots of helpful how-tos for writers and filmmakers over at garrettbrobinson.com.

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