Platform for the Non-Fiction Writer

By Amy Giuffrida

So, you want to write a non-fiction book? You, dear writer, need a platform.

Just like the subway, your platform is the stepping off point to reaching a broad audience. This is very much unlike being an author of fiction. Rather than selling just the idea or story, you are selling you. With this in mind, agents and publishers need to see just how you establish yourself as an authority on your subject.

How exactly can you do this?

Have a blog that shows growing followers and traffic.

The more people you reach, the better. I know that sounds easier than it is, but the main thing to ponder is…WHY should people follow you? I mean, you ARE trying to sell your brand and to do that you need to stand out from the crowd. And to do this, answering the following questions will get you started: Why should people care to read your blog? How are you an authority on a particular subject?

Remember, if you are authentic on your blog, people will sense it and become a follower.

Marketing your website/blog can also increase your traffic–newsletters are just one way to do this. The more people you can reach via email and social media, the greater your numbers become.

Social media involvement (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest) gives a clear picture of how you engage with followers.

Remember that holding conversations–authentic replies and discussions–with others can grow your traffic. It also shows agents, publisher, and editors just how you will interact with others in the future.

How can you do this? Use appropriate hashtags. There may be many already created that have thousands of followers. Use these. Interact with people who are also using this link. If you can have conversations with others, you will quickly become someone who is open to meet others. With this brings new followers. Don’t try to sell too hard here. If you only post sell links or advertise for your writing/blog/website you won’t come across as personable.

Podcasts are king.

With more people commuting and spending longer amounts of time in their cars or on other forms of transportation, podcasts are becoming increasingly popular. Being different is key here. If you are trying to produce the same type of podcast as someone else, you will lose. Be unique and special. This will bring new listeners and those links you post on Twitter…they will be clicked on.

Even if you don’t run your own podcast, having a guest appearance on one that is popular not only gives you more backing, but it will grow your audience. And that’s what it’s all about. Be your unique and special self and the world will embrace you.

Have a stellar book idea? Begin building your platform today. Gaining followers may take time, but it will be worth it in the end. Your query and book proposal will sell you as the best person to write this particular book.

Amy Giuffrida is an assistant at Holloway Literary. Follow her on Twitter @kissedbyink.