“Do I need a platform to publish?”
That question is vague enough to be answered in two ways.
To make your writing public (our definition of publishing), you need some sort of platform.
It can be one you own (like a blog or a social media platform). Or one to which you contribute, like an industry digital publication or newsletter.
But when most people ask this question, what they’re really asking is, “If I want a publisher to publish my book, do they care if I have a platform?”
And the answer is yes.
5 Star Following, So-So Writing
Your platform accounts for at least 33% of your book pitch.
In fact, publishers care about your platform as much as your idea and your ability to write.
Some publishers will sign on a so-so writer with a 5-star following.
Dave and I have said it before: publishers are bankers.
They want a return on their investment.
The “return” always has to do with how little they have to invest, and how much the writer can do for them to sell books.
They’re banking on your influence.
In fact, we’ve worked with multiple authors recently who have proven that publishers’ efforts to market and sell books are declining.
So, yes, you need a platform, a place where your ideal readers can discover your writing.
Real Writing vs Slimy Writing
Building a platform isn’t always fun. It can take gobs of time.
And, honestly, it’s difficult to not view it as a slimy substitute for “real” writing.
Social media click bait can feel like a prom queen who gets all the attention but lacks real beauty.
But maybe you should reframe the work of building your writing platform?
I like to think of social media (or blogs, or podcasts, or newsletters) as a gym for your ideas.
It’s where you work them out, stretch them, see if they have legs for the long run.
You can test your more provocative ideas.
Provocative ideas provoke responses.
The responses or comments by your ideal readers may even revector your thinking.
Other responses will renew your energy for your writing project and confirm the direction you are already headed with your ideas.
Sometimes someone will share a story that will help you articulate an idea you couldn’t quite shape with words.
That’s golden for idea development.
Sharing regularly on a platform is also a way to find your tribe: the people who need your words.
Ultimately, the people who will buy your book.
No matter the mode—blogging, social media posting, podcasting—great ideas move people.
Moved people share great ideas.
Commit to regularity. Commit to quality. And your platform will grow.