What if You Build It, and They Don’t Come?
I want to say a little something here that nobody seems to be saying. Here it is:
It can be more painful to publish a book that nobody buys… than to never have published a book at all.
Do you agree with me?
If you’ve published a book, you have the excitement of holding it in your hand, seeing your name on the cover. You’ll see it for sale at online retailers and have it on your shelf at home, and you’ll have the satisfaction of attaining a goal. But if the book doesn’t sell—if the publisher cancels it after a year, if you never get a royalty check beyond your advance—it can be distressing.
This is a good reason for you to WANT to build a platform. Why would you go to all that trouble of writing a book, spending months or years of your life, only to have hardly anyone read it?
Now, we know there is only so much that’s in your control. Building a platform involves many elements outside your circle of influence. And even if you have a strong platform, it doesn’t guarantee your book will sell. But you’ll probably feel better if you at least did your due diligence—you worked on your platform and your did your best to get your book in front of people. You wouldn’t want to wonder if maybe your book would have done better if you’d taken everybody’s advice and worked a little harder at finding your following and growing your tribe.
Buyers have so many options, it’s mind-boggling. You’re a book buyer, so you know this. You can’t possibly buy all the books that interest you! And there are so many books you’ve never even heard of that would probably interest you if you knew about them.
But, if you hear a speaker at your women’s retreat and you love her message, you might want to buy her book. If your favorite weekly newspaper columnist had a book out, you might buy it. If your favorite podcaster published a book, you might buy it. That’s the idea behind platform. How are you going to bring buyers to the checkout stand?
I believe there are few things more disappointing than actually getting that book deal, only to have the whole thing tank. Adding insult to injury, this can also make it difficult to get future publishing deals. You probably want to do everything in your power to try and keep that from happening.
And what’s within your power, besides writing a good book? Building the strongest platform you can.
What do you think? Does it make you any more eager to build a platform?
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