“How big does your platform have to be to get a book deal?”
All a platform means to an agent or publisher is the number of books you’re likely to be able to sell to people who know you or follow you. That’s it.
Celebrities and newsmakers automatically have a big platform just because of who they are. Influencers and top bloggers have a big platform because of the people they can reach.
That leaves those of us who are not famous or influential struggling to build a platform sufficient to interest agents and publishers looking for tens of thousands of potential readers. It’s about the numbers for sure, but not only that. Your following must have been grown organically, not purchased, and reflect your body of work.
That said, building social media followers isn’t the only way to show an agent or a publisher that your writing can sell books. You can:
* show robust sales from your previously self-published book
* get endorsements from experts in your field
* partner with peers and influencers
* contribute to websites and/or publications relevant to your message
* develop a unique, compelling, and timely book idea
* create a wealth of meaningful content for your readers: blog, newsletter, social network, podcast, video, digital downloads
But, but, but: none if this matters if you never actually WRITE THE BOOK and make it the best you possibly can. That means working with an editor from as close to the beginning as possible for help shaping your book’s structure, identifying your reader, creating a compelling narrative arc, identifying core themes, and giving you developmental feedback as you write.
It means several draft iterations followed by a massively detailed substantive edit and meticulous proofreading by professionals who do this for a living. Your best friend who teaches third-grade English, your spouse who loves finding typos, or your VA are not going to be able to do this for you, not to the level you need to reach before book submission or self-publication.
If your writing has structural weaknesses, pacing or narrative issues, underdeveloped character, inconsistencies, or rough spots – you don’t want them discovered for the first time by the agent or publisher considering your work.
These are some of the ongoing conversations we have with our clients at Un-Settling Books. Some of them are heading toward representation. Many of them are choosing to self-publish as a means of building readership and a following. All of them are all-in on making their books the best they can possibly be.
There’s room for you here, too. Join the conversation.