Authors get confused. Just what is this thing called a Platform? And why do they need one? Both good questions that deserve answers.
Let’s start with the first … What’s a Platform? … with the beginning of the Oscar® nominated movie, Monument Men with the main stars being George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban, and Hugh Bonneville. The movie is based on The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert Edsel.
The opening scene has George Clooney as Frank Stokes who persuades the President Roosevelt to fund the creation of the Monuments, Fine Arts and Archives Program. The goal was to save as many pieces of culturally important items and art from the Nazis.
It was his Vision that created the Monuments Men—a mixed group of museum directors, historians and curators. Believers that brought deep Passion to the project. Collectively, they all Committed to its success.
And that is exactly what separates the successful authors from the ones that limp along. Vision, Passion, and Commitment.
No Platform can get off the ground if the author doesn’t have the three critical things: a Vision, a Passion and a Commitment. Otherwise, it is just du jour—the soup of the author and book day. When the three are in play, your book has the best chance of positioning and breaking out.
Your Platform should include these elements:
- Know what your message is… Seems logical and simple, yet too many authors fumble and stumble here. Say it clearly and directly. Only your Vision can lead your way.
- Create value in your message… This is where the Passion factor comes into play. What is driving you to the point you actually create your book and for what audience?
- Interesting to everybody … not… Books aren’t for “everyone”—who is your book for? … That niche becomes your fans and book buyers. Unusual or obscure topics will most likely deliver a strike out … unless you can link them to something everyone is buzzing about.
- When you speak or are interviewed, give your listeners a reason to follow you afterwards…Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your Blog, YouTube, Google+ or whatever your chosen platform(s) are. Coming to “you” is what this is about. If you are speaking, referrals start generating; with speaking, books are sold; as books sell, more speaking gigs develop, and media and fans multiply.
- Connection to your writing… Both nonfiction and fiction should have Platforms
- Nurturing Your Passion… Back to #2–there can be nothing half way when it comes to the Passion factor.
- Share Your Vision… It’s all about vision—if you don’t have one for you, as the author, and for your book—forget any of the above.
- Recommit to Your Commitment… If you don’t view your book as a product, one that needs your support of time, energy and money, zip will happen.
The Platform is a critical element to your author and book success–always educate and entertain, and the sales will follow!
The Monument Men touched my heart. In my home is a special painting. A Monument Men painting. On my 50thbirthday, my friend Nicole Schapiro gave me a one of her family paintings. It is one of my most cherished possessions.
A painting that the Nazis had taken from her family home. Her mother survived the camps; she had been safeguarded in a nunnery. Nicole knew of my love of flowers and said it was perfect in my home. In the lower left corner, the Nazis had darkened the artist’s name in the lower left corner in a one by four inch strip. Another name, a “safe” name had been painted in on the right side post confiscation. Nichole had told me that I could “lift” the paint on the original artist’s name and discover who it was. My choice has always been “no”—I choose to be reminded each time I look at it of what happened not so very long ago.
Judith Briles is known as The Book Shepherd, the Author and Publishing expert and the Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Author U, a non-profit membership organization created for the author who wants to be seriously successful. She’s been writing about and conducting workshops on publishing since the 80s. She’s the author of 31 books including Author YOU: Creating Your Book and Author Platform that has won four multiple “best” in the writing/publishing categories in book award competitions in 2013. Her latest book is Snappy Sassy Salty … Wise Words for Authors and Publishers has just been released.
Join Judith live on Thursdays at 6 p.m. EST for Author U-Your Guide to Book Publishing on the Toginet network at: http://togi.us/authoru (you can subscribe on the show’s Home page to get weekly updates of the latest show). Connect on Google+ and become a Peep on Twitter at @AuthorU and @MyBookShepherd.
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