When it comes to platform, you have a nearly infinite number of choices. A lot of people will tell you that social media is essential. Sure, it’s a good idea, but if you have a better idea, then why shouldn’t you go with it? The key isn’t how you get your platform or what tools you use to build it, it’s building a platform you can use.
So, what is the essential platform? The answer is readers, of course! Straightforward and simple, but not to be confused with quick or easy.
Your essential platform is having a way to reach out to a lot of readers who are willing to let you influence them. The more people who are willing to let you influence them, the more people you have who will be willing to consider buying your book.
It’s a numbers game, people. The more people who are interested in your work and willing to listen to you pitch a new book to them, the stronger your platform is. If you only have followers in the hundreds, then you’re not likely to sell many books. If you have followers in the thousands, then you’re likely to sell more books. If you have followers in the millions, then you’re likely to sell the most books.
Straightforward and simple, but not quick or easy. It takes a lot of work to build a successful platform that will influence thousands or hundreds of thousands of readers. So, you need to get started and you need to keep working and you need to think creatively and you need to offer something of value even before you have your first book. Platform makes the difference between self-publishing for kicks and choosing between self-publishing or independent publishing or traditional publishing based on your goals and resources. After all, without a platform you won’t have a publisher.