Michael asked an excellent question:
“How would I be able to get the word out if I published a book? I currently have no “platform.’. I am not on tv/radio/public speaker . . . what are some of my options, or should I wait until I get a platform?”
I’m not sure if Michael already has a book written yet, but the time to think about “getting a platform” is before you even start writing.
And you don’t “get a platform,” you build one.
A “platform” is publishing and media industry speak for your following. So, what you need is to build a following. How?
A number of ways. First, you need to find the people who are already interested in your topic. Here are some suggestions:
1. Google “[yourtopic] forums” and “[your topic] discussion groups” and find some groups that are interested in what you want to write about. Join them, and “listen” to the discussions. When you find a topic with a lot of activity, write an article about it. Then, post to the group that you have an article about it. Also check out Ning groups–there you can create your own.
2. Open a Twitter account (free report on how to here). Find some well-known person in your field on Twitter and follow that person. But not only that person–follow other people who are following them. Reply to people and give good information. Chances are, people will read that and follow you, too.
3. Open a Facebook account and post all about you. (Facebook seems to have come up on top of the Social Networking sites, more than MySpace, which has gotten spammy.)
4. Start a WordPress blog. Start blogging about your information.
An excellent course that teaches all about using Twitter and Facebook with a WordPress blog is Cathy Perkins’s Blogging with WordPress in a 2.0 World. She also has wonderful free weekly teleseminars about blogging with WordPress.
5. Likewise, write articles for ezinearticles.com and other article directories. (Find a list of links here.)
6. Once you get even a small following, begin doing a teleseminar or podcast. You can interview other experts, or do your own teaching. The audio element adds “marketing intimacy,” Alex Mandossian says. Even if you don’t have a lot of people listening initially, teleseminars are a way to create content that you can “repurpose” into blog posts and articles.
7. If you have a book or even an ebook, do a Virtual Book Tour in which someone interviews you about the book. Alex Mandossian, who created a particularly helpful kind of Virtual Book Tour, says, “Authors don’t make money writing books, they make money explaining books.” So true!
All of the above methods work together. Over time, when you work at it steadily, as you create your content and get it “out there” in all these ways, you create your following.
With that, and a book proposal in hand, you then approach a publisher or agent. Nowadays no publisher will even look at you unless you have a very strong platform.
But don’t be discouraged. As you go about building a platform, if you do it in the way I and those I recommend teach, you will be creating intellectual properties (including a print book, but other products as well) that will be valuable enough for your followers to pay for.
Building a strong platform is the primary business of an author-not just the writing. You need to have important things to say, you need to say them well, but most important of all is finding ways to connect with people who are already looking for your information.
This is the heart of what I’m calling New Era Publishing. It’s easier to do now than ever. That’s why I continue to say–no matter about the economy; this can be the best time to be an author.
Especially if you’re willing to see yourself as something of a carpenter/writer. (Get it? A writer who builds platforms…)
Personal Note: I just love Diane. Visit her blog. She's a gem and a real pro!
Your Book Publishing Coach