What are the benefits of building an author platform?
Visibility is one of the benefits of building an author platform
An effective platform gives an author visibility. Imagine going to a concert or to a speaker’s presentation. You’re sitting in the audience, anticipating hearing the message or listening to the music. You also have an expectation that you’ll actually be able to see the speaker or performer. But, what if the seating arrangement isn’t designed well. What if someone with big hair is sitting directly in front of you? What if the speaker or musician is placed at the same level as the audience? You may hear part of the presentation or concert, but, you’ll likely be distracted by the fact that you can’t SEE the person you came to see.
Visibility is the state of being able to see or being seen. When we think of visibility, we sometimes think of weather. Low visibility can be dangerous. (Have you ever tried to drive during a heavy fog?) For authors, it’s not only important to be able to see (your audience) but, that your audience can see YOU.
Being seen. That is the main purpose of a platform. Most speakers and musicians are positioned higher than the audience. On a stage of some sort. A platform. The same goes with authors and writers. If we’re not positioned where we can be seen (and heard) by our audience, our would-be listeners will become frustrated. Sometimes to the point where they simply stop listening to us. That’s why we must focus on platform-building, because visibility is one of the key benefits of building an author platform.
The ability to build relationships is another one of the benefits of building author platforms
An effective platform offers authors a means of building relationships with their audience. In the digital world, you’ve probably heard or read buzz words and phrases, such as “engagement,” “connecting,” or, less frequently perhaps, even “relationship building.”
Relationship simply means “the state of being connected.” One of the basic human needs is that of belonging. Humans long to belong. That’s why we have clubs, organizations, churches, associations, even protests. People tend to gather with like-minded persons to connect, share, relate, belong.
Readers are no different. When a reader finds an author whose work they enjoy, they tend to want to learn more about that author on a personal level. Same goes with actors and actresses. Entire industries have been built on helping fans connect with their favorite celebrities. Your readers want to connect with you, too, which is another reason to build an effective author platform. Connecting with readers is another one of the benefits of building an author platform.
Selling more books is one of the key benefits of building an author platform
An effective author platform will increase book sales. Some authors skip over the first two benefits of author platform-building with the hope of jumping straight into selling more books. This is a mistake. Attempting to boost book sales without building an author platform is like using a firecracker to heat your home. Sure, a firecracker is hot. For a few seconds. Then, boom. It’s done. Over. Useless. The best way to heat a home is by carefully building a fire that can provide sustained warmth for an extended period of time.
The same goes for using your author platform to increase book sales. First, you work on building the platform. Like a fire, the first step is to set up a place in which to build the fire. Then, you light it, starting with quick combustibles such as paper. Next, you gradually add more items to your fire. Twigs and kindling. If you were to toss a huge log onto it at this point, it would smother the flickering flames.
Same goes with your platform. If you get a few blog readers and social media followers and then toss the huge “BUY MY BOOKS!” log on at the very beginning, you’ll squelch the few flames you worked to ignite. The key is to build and nurture those leads. Provide them with useful information about you, your books, things that can benefit them in their lives. Pique their interest in your writing, all the while continue to add people to your platform. And then, you’re ready to pitch your books and other products.
Platform building is a marathon, not a sprint. But, once you warm up and set your pace, you can enjoy increased book sales, which is one of the benefits of building an author platform.