An author’s platform can be challenging to define because they come in many different shapes and sizes. But platforms often contain four elements:
▪ Visibility. This answers questions like: Who knows you? Who is aware of your work? Where does your work regularly appear? How many people see it? What communities are you a part of? Who do you influence?
▪ Authority. This is about your credibility and credentials. Authority is crucial for non-fiction writers; it is less important for fiction writers, though it can play a role. These are the things you can point to that show you are an expert.
▪ Proven reach. It is not enough to say you have visibility. You have to show where you impact and give proof of engagement. This could be quantitative evidence (like the number of blog comments, the size of your e-mail newsletter list, website traffic) or qualitative evidence (high-profile reviews, testimonials from well-known people in your genre).
▪ Target readership. You should be visible to the most appropriate and receptive audience for the work you’re trying to promote. For example: If you have visibility, authority, and proven reach to dentists, that won’t be helpful if you are marketing vampire fiction.
The platform is not about bringing attention to yourself or by screaming to everyone you can find online, “Look at me! Look at me!” The platform isn’t about who yells the loudest or markets the best.
It is about putting in consistent effort throughout a career and making small improvements in extending your network. It’s not about begging others to pay attention.