In my first Busy Author's Guide, I'll cover ways you can build your all-important author platform no matter how much, or how little, time you can invest.
What is an author platform?
Your author platform is essentially your presence and reach among your target audience. When you have a strong author platform, you have a built-in fan base of people who are literally waiting to buy your next book.
What Your Author Platform Does
If you're an indie author, having a strong platform helps you sell more books directly. If you want to go the traditional publishing route, an established platform can make you more appealing, and less risky, to publishers.
When to Start Building Your Author Platform
What many new authors don't understand is that you can start building your author platform long before you have a book on the market. This is quite common in nonfiction publishing where an author might have an established reputation based on professional credentials, past speaking engagements, freelance articles, their own niche or industry blog, and other means. They build an audience with an interest in what they have to say, and then when they're ready to release a book members of that audience are ready and willing buyers.
If you write fiction, it's certainly easier to focus on your author platform after you've published at least one book. But it's not impossible to start early, and by doing so you can make yourself stand out among the competition when your book is released (or when you pitch agents and publishers). In an upcoming post I'll go into fiction author platforms in more depth, sharing some specific ideas on what you can do before your book is released.
Beyond understanding what an author platform is, it's also important to understand that your platform is something you will never stop building. It's a part of your long-term author PR and book marketing strategies and nearly everything you do, everyone you meet professionally, and everything else you publish will contribute to it.