A Million Screaming Fans

or… A Platform is More than a Bunch of Twitter Followers

People are always asking me, “What constitutes platform? How many Twitter followers? How many Facebook friends?”

Listen, a platform is not all about those numbers. Take a step back, look at the bigger picture, and ask yourself: What have I done to bring potential book buyers to the table? How many people are out there who know my name, already appreciate my work, and would pay twenty bucks to read something I’ve written? Could I fill a stadium with screaming fans? (Or at least fill a medium-sized theater with respectful readers?)

Seth Godin, in Tribes, says 1,000 is the magic number. If you have 1,000 diehard, follow-you-wherever-you-go fans, you can do anything. That’s not just a thousand people who’ve heard of you, or read your blog once, or heard you speak once. That’s a thousand people who will talk you up, buy your stuff, and show up to see you in person. Godin’s hypothesis may not be the gospel on platform, but it’s a good start.

Keep in mind that there are many ways to create a platform—it’s not all about blogging and Twitter. Social media can be extremely powerful, when used correctly, and a significant social media presence can be enough. But in addition to that, anything that draws attention to you and gets people acquainted with you can be part of platform building.

Let’s talk more specifically about the three different kinds of author and their platform requirements:


The bar is getting higher for non-fiction authors. Rather than wonder “Do I have a big enough platform?” ask yourself, “Have I established myself as a credible expert in my field?” You may need credentials. You may need to be speaking to audiences of 500 or 1,000 or more on a regular basis—not just regular audiences, but audiences full of influencers (e.g. not just MOPS groups, but the national convention of MOPS leaders). You may have a blog with 2,000+ hits a day, and that could suffice.

Pay attention to the fact that more and more information is available for free on the Internet. This means that it’s harder to sell a non-fiction book, because it’s harder for publishers to sell those books. It also means you’ll have to bring more to the table. Credentials. An audience. A fabulous hook, a killer delivery, a massive felt need.

Don’t ever ask, “How many Facebook friends do I need for it to be considered a big enough platform?” Instead, look at the whole package you’ve created. Are you confident you are already bringing enough book-buyers to the table to warrant a major publisher taking a risk on you?


Novelists, your first book will NOT sell based on your platform. It’s all about your book. The agent and editor must love your book idea, love your writing, and want to work with you.

Assuming they already love your book, they’re going to want to see that you understand author marketing and social networking. They’ll be happy if you have a blog with a regular readership, even if it’s small. They’ll be happy if you’re on Twitter and Facebook—not a lot, just enough to show you’re savvy. Eventually down the road when your book is approaching publication, they’ll definitely want you to actively take part in marketing your book. But you don’t have to show “platform” up front. Your platform is really your book.


Ah, memoirists. You have the toughest road. The requirements of both fiction and non-fiction authors apply to you. Platform? You need one. A fabulous book idea and great writing? Yep, that too.

It’s a sliding scale, of course. The more immediately captivating your book is (i.e. “commercial” and “saleable”), the less platform required. But you’ve got to stand out in SOME way.

→ Truly wonderful writing that captures people’s hearts or makes them laugh.

→ A really amazing story, something extraordinary that people find fascinating; maybe something that was widely covered in the news, or something with historical or cultural significance.

→ Or a large audience of people who are already fans: people who read your novels, or your newspaper columns, or your blog.

The best case scenario is a memoir author who has all three of the above elements, but most don’t and it’s okay. If you’re writing a memoir, be brutally honest with yourself. Do you have any of these elements? If not, the odds are against publication with a major house. Decent writing, an interesting story and non-existent plaform aren’t going to cut it.

Bottom Line

This is just a brief overview—I could write an entire book on author platform, but I won’t. Let me wrap up with this thought:

There are a lot of writers who have something to share in the non-fiction or memoir realm, maybe some kind of reflection on life, or cancer, or grief, or parenting. Many of you are credentialed, with counseling degrees or doctorates. Many of you are even wonderful writers – with lyrical prose that captivates readers, or hilarious commentary that has people’s coffee sputtering out their nose.

You are all awesome and I salute you. But getting a contract with a major publishing house is not a done deal just because you’re awesome. They may want something you don’t have. They may want more platform than you can ever provide. They may not be buying what you’re selling.

So be sure to look at your options. Can you get satisfaction in writing for free, i.e. blogging? Is your book appropriate for self-publishing? Can you find a way to share your message in a different way? Or maybe you just need to step up the platform-building.

Only you can decide. Just remember you have to do more than gather Twitter followers. You need fans. A whole bunch of dedicated, loyal YOU-fans that you can take to the bank on release day.

Maybe not a million screaming fans. But they couldn’t hurt.

P.S. See my two recent posts about platform:
Did I Mention It’s All About Platform?
Marketing Yourself and Your Book

© 2011 Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. […] Are you a published author? What’s the most important thing I need to know about your platform? Fiction: Don’t worry about platform. If you have commercially published fiction before, tell a […]

  2. buy neopoints on April 9, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    Great ‘ I should definitely pronounce, impressed with your website. I had no trouble navigating through all the tabs as well as related information ended up being truly easy to do to access. I recently found what I hoped for before you know it at all. Quite unusual. Is likely to appreciate it for those who add forums or something, website theme . a tones way for your customer to communicate. Excellent task..

  3. Lily on October 16, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    Simply wanna comment on few general things, The website layout is perfect, the articles is very wonderful : D.

  4. Riley on October 15, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    Rattling nice layout and great subject matter, nothing at all else we want :D.

  5. Tawna Fenske on February 4, 2011 at 7:46 PM

    >What a fabulous post! So good to have a reminder that platform isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition.

    I've seen so many fiction writers just starting out and fretting about platform and I always want to give them a little shake and say, "that is the LEAST of your concerns right now….just finish your first book!"

    At the same time, platform can be crucial once you have the book deal in hand. One of the first things my editor told me was, "you have such a unique voice! But we can't SELL voice." And she's right, you need a much better marketing hook than that for a debut author. But while the publisher is off working on that, I've spent the last year building a blog following and using that to familiarize people with my voice and my name.

    We're six months away from book release now, so I guess time will soon tell whether it's been an effective strategy 🙂


  6. Jean Ann Williams on January 28, 2011 at 11:53 PM

    >Yes, John and Renee, those who quit will never know. I will write till the day I can no longer. Hopefully, I won't be alive, unable to write.

    Keep the faith! (no pun intended)

  7. John R. McClarren on January 28, 2011 at 11:41 PM

    >Renee, I can identify 100%. I too am a memoirist and a humor writer, and I feel the same way you do. It is more than a bit frustrating knowing where you are and where you should be. It is true that some of us may never get there through traditional publishing. I have been at it for nearly four years now, and I am working on my third nonfiction book, one being a completed memoir. I have seen well over 200 rejections, but I have not yet quit. I may die before it happens, but not without having given it everything I've got. Those who seem to be giving up may not have quite what it takes to actually make it. Perseverence is everything. Without it, you are dead in the water. Write on. John

  8. Renee Gold on January 28, 2011 at 12:22 PM


    I can not thank you enough for this post. As a humorous memoirist, something told me, it’s not going to be easy.
    Even though I am funny, confident and believe I have the talent and drive, (and a blog) I don’t have a huge platform. Please TELL ME How on earth doses someone like me (a unique individual who does the most outrageous things and then writes about them, but is not famous yet, only carries on as if) “step up my platform?” I know on the deepest most profound level I should be published by now….. And, I prefer the traditional route. What’s wrong here? Should I start reading excerpts of my book in public? Your suggestions/thoughts/comments would be graciously accepted.

  9. Daniel Eness on January 28, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    >Bravo, Rachelle. You have approached this lesson, for years, from a number of different angles. I can imagine that sometimes you feel like a broken record, but _wow_ you really hit this out of the park.

    I can't tell you how many times I've tried to explain the importance/unimportance of platform to certain people close to me and failed. Your teaching has been invaluable, and this is the best one yet.

    Elegant, clear, and true. You oughta write a book! 😉

  10. Michelle Sarabia on January 27, 2011 at 6:45 PM

    >Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Rachelle! This has been so freeing for me.
    I loved what you said about MOPS and its so true. I have been speaking to the TN groups the last two years and have been asked to speak at a few breakout sessions this Convention! It's taking small baby steps. I know its just the beginning and can see myself on the platform one day…now I gotta just write that book!

  11. deb on January 27, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    >Thank you as always, Rachelle.
    And as someone who loves to write, ( on my blog )I'm now in the 'people are telling me I should write something they can hold in their hands " group.

    So I guess it's a little like coming at it backwards but your points are still helpful.

  12. David A. Todd on January 27, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    >Anonymoust @ 4:56 said: "I think my dream just became hopeless."

    You're right where I was about two or three years ago, Anon. That feeling fades a little, but never completely. Just keep writing, learning the craft and the art, and get to the point where you feel your words are stellar. Then see how you feel.

  13. Anne Lyle on January 27, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    >As a yet-to-be-published fiction writer I find this very encouraging, as I'm content to build my platform slowly. Even if I manage to sell my novel-on-submission this spring, it'll still be ages until it's published, giving me time to expand my network.

    I've started focusing my blog on what I think my future readers will be interested in, e.g. book reviews and general thoughts on my genre (so many writers blog only about writing!), and in social media I concentrate on quality rather than quantity. I also post a lot on forums where fans of my genre hang out, to get my name known and "market" myself as a friendly, helpful person! None of this is rocket science, it just involves re-envisioning yourself as a (future) public figure rather than just another private citizen.

  14. Timothy Fish on January 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM

    >Anonymous 4:56,

    I know what you mean. The sad fact is that the publishing industry focuses its attention on the top selling authors and most authors are ignored. Most advice is therefore aimed at getting us to strive for those positions, even though the vast majority of us will never reach that point. When I start feeling discouraged by all of this, I just remind myself that even the bestselling books are not read by the vast majority of readers. I find it frustrating when I put a lot of effort into persuading people to read my books but they ignore my efforts. But just as bestselling authors have found a pocket of people who read their books among the millions of people who think their writing is junk, I figure there may be a sizeable pocket of people who will decide they like my books. When I find that pocket, my books will sell.

  15. Angie Mizzell on January 26, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    >Robin, I'm YOUR fan. xoxo

  16. Robin on January 26, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    >Thank you!!! I feel like you wrote this just for me! You did, didn't you? Great info!

  17. Anonymous on January 26, 2011 at 4:56 PM

    >Is anyone else completely discouraged by this? How in the world do you find and maintain die hard fans? That takes years to do. Platform alone seems like a full time job-when do writers actually get to write? Who has that kind of time? The task alone seems so daunting. Especially if you have a job and a family.

    Thanks Rachelle for being so honest, but I think my dream just became hopeless.


  18. Kathleen Rouser on January 26, 2011 at 3:19 PM

    >I appreciate the post, Rachelle, along with your
    insight and wisdom. It cleared up some things I
    was wondering about. Thanks!

  19. Kristin Laughtin on January 26, 2011 at 2:30 PM

    >Thank you for distinguishing the need for and differences between platforms for fiction, non-fiction, and memoir writers. I write fiction, and know quite a few peers who think you must be famous before your fiction book can be published–though they admit to buying debut fiction based on the story's premise, not the author's name! (Although I will agree that once one's fiction book is set to be published, the author must begin using that social media and attracting followers/readers!)

  20. James Houston Turner on January 26, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    >Great post, Rachelle, as always, which is why I link others to your site on my blogsite. You always provoke, inspire, educate, and convict. Often all at once! You mentioned getting a contract with a major publishing house or self-publishing. I happened to have landed a contract with a US mid-sized publisher (and there are a number of good ones around), not because of my existing platform, but – as you said – because of my manuscript. That was the clincher. And I will be touring the country later this year with that novel (an espionage thriller). Thanks yet again for another insightful post. Blessings from Australia via Los Angeles as I kicked off my 20 year anniversary of beating cancer at G'day USA in Hollywood (when I was given but 18 months to live). It is sure good to be alive!

  21. Sarah on January 26, 2011 at 1:36 PM

    >I love your blog and am always impressed by the fabulous insights you so generously share. Thanks you.

  22. Marla Taviano on January 26, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    >I like this post a lot lot lot. It's encouraging and super motivating. Thank you!!

  23. David A. Todd on January 26, 2011 at 12:56 PM


    I wouldn't say 'friends'. And I don't know how widespread success with e-self-publishing is. I'm just studying that alternate publishing route at the moment, so it's on my mind. ButI think I agree with Rachelle. If I could make even just a thousand a month going that route, I'd hop right off the query-go-round.


  24. Graceful on January 26, 2011 at 12:47 PM

    >Love this, Rachelle — I found it very hopeful AND helpful. Of course I chose the tough category (memoir) — why do I always go the hard road?!

    BTW: I think you SHOULD write a book about this! You've already got the platform… 🙂

  25. Timothy Fish on January 26, 2011 at 12:31 PM

    >I’m a little curious about David A. Todd’s friends who are making thousands a month self-publishing too. Obviously, there are success stories and there are some books that have a better chance of success if they are self-published than if they are thrown to the publishing wolves. Unless the author is hoping to reduce the retail price or has distribution problems, I don’t see why anyone with a successful self-published book would want to place it with a traditional publisher.

  26. Susan on January 26, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    >As always, this is great information. I had to find out the hard way, after I wrote the non-fiction book without a platform.

    I'm glad I did it because I learned so much about the process. I feel I can get that book through the door after my book of fiction is accepted and built a nice platform.

    I feel I cannot put my idea for my new book of fiction on a blog. There's little doubt in my mind, just the title gives away so much that I feel someone could run with the idea.

    My family feels the same way. It would be make an awesome fun blog that I know could attract many readers.

    I could easily build a brand and gain followers but I'm afraid.

    I feel I must wait until the book is finished and the query is out before I start a blog.

    Am I wrong Rachelle? Do I risk losing the idea through exposing the title and the entire idea behind the title?

    I do not want to put the cart before the horse again like I did with the book of non-fiction.

  27. Nikole Hahn on January 26, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    >I feel my readers are like friends. If I use them to build some sort of platform without caring about their life or what they have to offer, then I feel that my time online is more self absorbed than useful. Of course, I need to balance my time, too. I'm not sure I could offer that same one on one with a stadium of screaming fans. I can't even imagine a stadium of screaming fans.

  28. Claudia on January 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    >Absolutely, Rachelle – the knowledge is invaluable. I definitely meant 'depressing in a good way'.

  29. BW on January 26, 2011 at 11:11 AM


    I think that's a misnomer. Most people I know who are using LinkedIn are not looking for jobs nor are they (myself included) able to extend a job offer. The most we can do is tell someone that there may be opening or recommend them. I been in touch with people who I haven't heard from in years.

    However, since I am not looking for a job that doesn't mean that I would not refuse any freelance work provided it is not in conflict with what I am actually working on with my employer.

  30. Casey on January 26, 2011 at 10:56 AM

    >Rachelle, this was ever so helpful. As a writer on the journey, I want to make sure I am as best prepared when someday, God wills, the publication door opens. So while I blog and FB on a regular basis, it is a relief that I can take control of something I work on everyday and am passionate about.


  31. Rachelle on January 26, 2011 at 10:46 AM

    >BW 10:37: You're right, LinkedIn has mostly a business application and I think people use it when they're looking for a job, or when a company is looking for someone to fill a position. I've never heard of any agents or editors using LinkedIn to find writers. Personally, I've received hundreds of requests to "connect" on LinkedIn from unpubbed authors, but I choose not to do that. I only connect with professionals I already know – editors, agents, published authors, etc. On my blog and Twitter I have plenty of opportunity to network with thousands of writers, published and unpubbed.

  32. Rachelle on January 26, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    >Those of you asking for more on platform: See my two recent posts about platform:
    Did I Mention It's All About Platform?
    Marketing Yourself and Your Book

    Also you can click on the tag beneath the post that says "Marketing-Platform-Branding" and pull up every post I've ever written on the subject.

  33. BW on January 26, 2011 at 10:37 AM


    What about LinkedIn for social networking? Currently, I don't used Facebook since my company's main contractor frowns on it. Most business professionals, including me and may of my co-workers, use that. It also proves that I am an expert in my field (technical writing).

  34. Rachelle on January 26, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    >Claudia: I'm sorry it's depressing, but you'd be a lot more depressed if nobody was out here trying to help writers see how things really work. 🙂 With knowledge, you can make good decisions about your own future.

    David A. Todd: The question boggles me. If a self-published author is really making "thousands of dollars a month," why on God's green earth would they even want a traditional publisher? The number of authors who make several thousand a month with a traditional publisher is miniscule. The vast majority are lucky to make several thousand a year. But to answer your question about what it takes to get a traditional publisher to take notice: Who knows? The typical answer is that selling 5,000 to 10,000 of a self-published book would get an agent or publisher's attention. But in any individual case, depending on the type of book and its level of commercial appeal, the numbers could be a lot more or a lot less.

    (I find it difficult to quantify things that are really not quantifiable. And to predict the unpredictable.)

    Pam Halter and Anon 8:45: People's opinions vary on putting chapters online. To be safe, if you're seeking traditional publication then avoid putting more than 10% of your book online. That way, it can just be considered "promotional purposes" and your book isn't "published." But be aware that if you don't offer those readers something to BUY soon, then you're never going to capitalize on their interest and you'll have no return on your investment.

    Only you can determine whether you're wasting your time and money. Is the regular feedback and conversation enough payoff?

  35. Janet Oberholtzer on January 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    >Good info … thanks Rachelle!
    The memoirist section gives me mixed feelings … it confirms what a hard road being published will be, but it also validates the hard work and the time I've already put into my memoir … and will continue to until I'm published (need to get it published to make my mom happy 🙂

  36. Erin MacPherson on January 26, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    >This is REALLY helpful. I'm wondering if you could sometime do a follow-up post about platform (and how to build it) for authors that already have a non-fiction contract but NOT a huge platform.

  37. Patrice on January 26, 2011 at 10:21 AM

    >Thanks for laying out so clearly and succinctly the differences in platform-building among non-fiction, fiction and memoir. I've gathered bits and pieces on these differences in various places, but this post nailed it.

  38. Alexis Grant on January 26, 2011 at 10:13 AM

    >Excellent post, Rachelle. Thanks!

  39. Stephanie McGee on January 26, 2011 at 10:05 AM

    >Thanks for this. It was definitely something I needed to hear right now.

  40. Sean on January 26, 2011 at 9:54 AM

    >Wow. That is a huge relief. I was really worried that my twenty-one friends on Facebook and the two followers of my blog weren't going to be enough of a platform for my book to ever sprout wings. But now I know what is important and what I should be concentrating on. That's right, winning American Idol. Think of the numbers I could rack up then… I'm off to Milwaukee!

  41. Steve Weddle on January 26, 2011 at 9:40 AM


  42. Angela C. on January 26, 2011 at 9:36 AM

    >Very informative post. This is helpful in determining future goals.

  43. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell on January 26, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    >I wish I would have read this 5 years ago. But then again….I sent out proposals for my memoir with a fictional – non fictional – twist back then…so many of them told me they liked the story but I needed a platform….

    I gave up and then just starting writing for free…maybe its time to explore this again… Thank you

  44. Pam Halter on January 26, 2011 at 9:28 AM

    >I'm wondering about anonymous's question, too. I've heard publishing chapters of your book before it's actually been picked up by a traditional publishing house is not a good idea. Posting chapters of your book on a blog or FB means you've "published" it and publishing houses don't want something that has already been "published."

    Is that right?

  45. David A. Todd on January 26, 2011 at 8:59 AM

    >"Plus, there's so much more."

    Thanks for the post, Rachelle. Part of that so much more is the e-self-publishing revolution, with previously unknown authors making thousands of dollars a month. Sometime I'd like to hear your take on that, especially how many such sales an author would have to have to be considered to have enough platform for a traditional publisher to take notice.

  46. Claudia on January 26, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    >Extremely helpful (if somewhat depressing). Thanks very much!

  47. Heather Webb on January 26, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Excellent points, as always. I'm so grateful that you share your insight with those of us who have things to learn about this business. (I suppose we're all constantly learning in some way…)

    I agree with Timothy that non-fiction writers with a solid platform tend to write as an extension of their expertise. Their writing may ultimately be to share their love for the chosen subject and to inform the public, therefore, their platforms happen naturally.

    As for fiction writers, though a platform may not be necessary, it helps readers to identify with a writer's strengths and passions. Since everyone has become so easily accessible online, readers seem to be interested in personal information more and more. It is considered "cool" to be able to "talk" with a published author, particularly as more books are being developed for the big screen.

    I'm finding social media is certainly a great way to evolve this platform, but the struggle is to be HEARD! I suppose I'll have to wait to be published like the rest.

  48. Anonymous on January 26, 2011 at 8:45 AM

    >I've put up 3 chapters on my fb writing page. I'm running a 1 month long ad on fb too. Just $35. I did that once last year too targeting fans of books like mine. I also printed post cards with my fb and story information that I give out at my local B&N when I see people in the paranormal romance section. I've gotten the best comments and fans that way. An ad increased my LIKES by about 100 in a single month.

    Question: Am u wasting time and money doing this? I enjoy the comments from readers. I have writers who read it and give me needed feedback. But having readers who are just reading for pleasure boosts my ego and that's needed too at times.

  49. Esther on January 26, 2011 at 8:41 AM

    >As a writer in the throes of putting together a non-fiction proposal, I've been pondering this idea of platform quite a bit. It's very overwhelming, but your post drew a very helpful big picture…Now, on to just one foot in front of the other!

  50. B.E.T. on January 26, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    >Thank you so much to the note for fiction authors. And it makes a lot of sense that the book is the brand. Now, here's hoping it brings in those crazy fans!

  51. Kelly Combs on January 26, 2011 at 8:35 AM

    >"You are all awesome, and I salute you." LOL! This reminds me of the motherly comment, "We are all special in our own way." But perhaps my awesomeness and specialness does not translate into a book deal. And I am becoming more and more okay with that every day. Because, I really am awesome, either way. 🙂


  52. Rachelle on January 26, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    >Jenna: I love that observation. It highlights the fact that everyone's path will be different. Thanks for sharing it!

    I hope everyone is getting that blogging and collecting Twitter and Facebook followers can be important but only if done correctly. Plus, there's so much more.

  53. Ishta Mercurio on January 26, 2011 at 8:29 AM

    >Well, thank goodness I don't write non-fiction! That looked really intimidating. But I think I can handle your guidelines for fiction authors. Thanks for this post, Rachelle.

  54. Jenna on January 26, 2011 at 8:16 AM

    >I have 2 friends, both published authors. One is a savvy self-marketer, the other is not. Although I would vote the 'self-marketing-challenged' one as a better writer, my self-promoting friend with the podcasts, website, newsletter and 1000 screaming fans makes a better living. In fact, I would say she is better at marketing than she is writing. This used to bother me. But then I realized: they are both working hard, doing something they love. Today, I applaud them both.

  55. Wendy Paine Miller on January 26, 2011 at 8:07 AM

    >So informative. I’m working on building my “tribe” and what I love most is that it’s happening organically. Don’t get me wrong, I’m working hard but it’s thrilling to watch how online connections grow.

    And like Katie & Lisa, I’m thankful the fiction platform centers on the story.

    What you wrote about memoir standing out makes me think of the memoir I’m reading now, Lit by Mary Karr. Phenomenal voice!

    ~ Wendy

  56. Timothy Fish on January 26, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    >I feel about platform about like I do the History Day competition we had to do every year in high school. Our teacher had this idea that the other schools were winning because they showed up with these really slick expensive boards to put their stuff on. Looking back, I know that our problem was that we weren’t doing the research need, but that didn’t keep us from wanting to win.

    Platform is largely about being the expert on a subject that people want to learn about. Because so many of us just want to be writers, we short-circuit the system and we either write about a topic in which we lack expertise or we choose a topic in which we are knowledgeable but few people are interested in. Or worse, the topic is already overloaded with experts.

    Many of us treat writing like it is the end goal and the most important thing. It seems to me that the people with the best platforms see their writing as something of lesser importance than their real work. It is their real work that gives them their platform and their writing is merely an extension of that. To write and then try to build a platform to support it is backwards and very difficult.

  57. Sharon A. Lavy on January 26, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    >Thank you for this lesson on platform building.

    You added a missing link for me, in this post.

  58. Lisa Jordan on January 26, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    >This is another terrific post, Rachelle.

    In a recent discussion with a friend who is published and an editor from her publishing house, they both told me great writing is key to selling books.

    We can blog, Tweet, get LinkedIn, have a thousand Facebook friends, but if we don't write something worth reading, those people won't want to read our stuff.

    While I believe building a readership, marketing, and having a platform will help sales numbers to go up, solid writing is the key element that locks them together.

  59. Joy Nicholas on January 26, 2011 at 7:35 AM

    >Thanks SO much, Rachelle, for this post!! I second Julie's opinion about the word "platform" making me nervous, but this helped. Memoir really is tough. Thanks for recognizing that. Your last sentence for that genre really motivated me to take a good hard look at what I've got so far. Gotta make it sparkle! 🙂

  60. Julie Jarnagin on January 26, 2011 at 7:01 AM

    >Just the word "platform" makes me nervous. I'm thankful to write fiction!

  61. Tamika: on January 26, 2011 at 6:51 AM

    >Phew, I dodged a bullet with non-fiction. My audience would seat about five:)

    I love fiction, and it takes the strain off knowing agents and editors care most about the story. That's one thing I can control and perfect.

  62. Em-Musing on January 26, 2011 at 6:11 AM

    >*big sigh of relief*

  63. Katie Ganshert on January 26, 2011 at 6:04 AM

    >I am so thankful to be in the fiction category – where the bulk of the pressure rests on the story. I'm also thankful that I have over a full year to really get my feet wet with marketing and tribe-building. Right now (discluding my family), I have about three crazy, screaming fans (who, bless their hearts, already have organized my first book signing). Just 997 more to go!

  64. Suzanne Brandyn on January 26, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    >Hopefully my platform will increase. I think I'm doing most things right. I've been reading a lot lately about giving the reader what she or he is seeking. I guess being a writer, it's about sharing my personal life as well as my writing process, that is, what I have learnt along the way, including the pitfalls of my journey.
    Thank you for posting this topic.

    Suzanne 🙂

  65. Francine Howarth on January 26, 2011 at 4:25 AM


    LOL, there is a solution to anonymity! Shag a big-name celebrity and make it to front cover of The News of the World (sleaze rag)and or grace the pages of "Hello" magazine. One fan can become millioms overnight!!! XXX 😉


  66. Rosemary Gemmell on January 26, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    >Thanks for putting this into perspective, Rachelle. And it's interesting about the fiction being all about the book. Well that's how I chose books to read – all based on the story and not the author.

    However, I know from my crime writer friend's experience that it doesn't hurt to already have many contacts waiting for that published book(s).

    A helpful and encouraging post as always.

  67. T. Anne on January 26, 2011 at 1:46 AM

    >Great information, Rachelle. I plan to extend my blog to readers one day to increase my platform, right now it revolves around the writing process. As challenging as it is to build a platform I'm rather enjoying the ride.

  68. Carol J. Garvin on January 26, 2011 at 1:05 AM

    >What a thorough explanation of platform! Thank you for laying it all out so clearly.

  69. Sarah Allen on January 26, 2011 at 12:45 AM

    >I really appreciate this. I've been trying to keep all of these things in mind while I'm working on my novel, and you've summed it up so well, and given me some great advice and practical advice that I hope to use right away. I'm a novelist, but I hope to use any of your principles from non-fiction and memoir-ism that I possibly can. Thank you for a phenomenal blog.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

  70. Phil on January 26, 2011 at 12:38 AM

    >Thanks for this post, Rachelle.

    With all the attention that social media has been receiving these past two years, there's been a growing idea that you need x amount of Facebook followers, blog readers, etc, to the point where there's a sense that you NEED to spend time creating an online identity, that it's almost as important as writing the book itself.

    The hard truth seems to be however that unless you're one of those original, eccentric and humorous voices that takes naturally to social media, you'll be ignored by the internet because you're just one voice amongst millions.

    It's only AFTER you publish your book and people take note that your pre-existing social media framework will provide benefit, in that it will then allow you to interact with readers.

    So it's good to set things up in anticipation of garnering attention after publication, but not worth sweating how many followers you have before that happens.

    Does that sound right?

  71. Jean Ann Williams on January 26, 2011 at 12:27 AM

    >I've been considering platform for several years now and I get what you're saying. I do believe meeting people and getting the word out about my work-in-progress plus my blogging builds my platform.

    I tell people who may care to hear about my loss. How God has brought me through. Mostly, they are interested. I can tell by body language and eye contact. I can tell if they're the kind of person who can't bear it. That's when I shut up.

    I'm not afraid to be transparent.

    What you've posted here, Rachelle, makes me think I am on the right track.


  72. Heather on January 26, 2011 at 12:23 AM

    >Oh, whew! Thanks for taking a load off my shoulders, Rachelle!
    I'd recently been worrying about getting more readers to my blog, more fans on FB. Now I know those things are important, but that I mainly need to be focused on writing the best book I can. That's something I feel much more comfortable doing.
    Thanks again!