What I found interesting was the story of Danielle Babb, author of Commissions at Risk. Her book is about real estate and she has some credentials in the area. Her bio says that she’s a “California Licensed Real Estate Professional” with “years of experience in the real estate industry.” It also says, “She has worked as an IT Leader in residential, commercial and multi-unit real estate.”
So … she decided to write a book in the area of her creds. She sent out 300 queries to agents. She got two responses. Two. She went with one of them and that agent sold her book in three months. Making other deals after the first book was easier, but she apparently still wasn’t a household name.
But she didn’t give up and this year it apparently paid off. She worked a deal with RealtyTrac, which operates a Web site with foreclosure listings. They’ll promote her most recent book to its 3 million subscribers and she’ll give RealtyTrac a cut of the book sales.
Okay, she gets a ton of publicity in the deal. But there’s more. Now that she’s gotten this partnership, her publisher has decided to kick in. They hired two public relations firms, which resulted in several television appearances. She now has a platform.
Some people think a platform means an issue that you’re speaking out on. An issue can be a means to get you a platform, but it’s not your platform. An author’s platform is your ability to promote yourself and your book. Do you have a highly visited website or blog? Do you have an in-road to publicity on television or radio? Do you already do a lot of public speaking, especially on the subject of your book? Do you perhaps have a record of publishing articles on the subject in related magazines or newspapers? Do you have a newsletter that goes out to thousands? Have you been building a contact list of people you can promote your book to? Do you have a solid and active presence online in your area of expertise? And so on and so on.
Babb apparently kept working on building her platform and as she says:
I can now say I have a platform. I signed a new book deal in 24 hours this week. . . . For the first time, the advance is making it worth writing the book.
Celebrities, politicians, children and wives of politicians, chefs of celebrities and politicians, nannies of the kids of celebrity politicians have automatic platforms. They can get on TV easy. This is an example of someone who didn’t have a platform when she started out, but she kept working until she built one.