Platform for Non-Fiction Authors
If you’re writing a non-fiction book and it’s not memoir, keep in mind you’re going to need some kind of platform in order to sell it. You’re also going to need a strong hook or a fresh angle on the topic.
Put yourself in the place of the reader or book-buyer: If you need a book on dog-training for example, and there are 55 books available on that topic, how will you make your buying decision? You’ll be looking for the book that takes an approach that appeals to you; and you’ll be looking at the individual authors and how qualified they are to give you advice. You might gravitate toward someone famous (Cesar Millan) or you might prefer someone you’ve never heard of but who seems to have an incredible track record of training dogs. In any case, you’ll be looking hard at the authors and their “hooks” to help you decide.
Some topics require more platform or credentials than others. But if you’re a non-fiction writer and want to sell books, be aware that agents and publishers will be asking these questions:
- Are you working in the field of whatever your non-fiction book is about?
- Do you have a go-to blog on that topic?
- Do you speak to audiences about the topic?
- Have you published magazine, journal, or online articles about it?
- Do you belong to organizations based around it?
- Do you have degrees or letters after your name certifying you in this area?
- Do you already have a built-in audience of thousands of people who are likely to buy your book?
In other words…
Have you taken steps to become a “go-to” expert in this topic?
Even if you’re planning to self publish, these questions are important because they help determine if you’re going to be able to sell your non-fiction book through your own efforts, or if it’s just going to sit on the virtual shelves gathering e-dust.