You’ve heard that one of the most important components of your book submission is the platform, especially if you’re a nonfiction author. Essentially, if you bring a ready-made audience with your project, an agent is more likely to sign you, and an editor is more likely to make an offer on your work.
Plenty of writers have great projects they’re ready to submit—they just don’t have a significant platform to discuss in their submissions. If that describes you, you might be wondering, Do I have to wait? Or should I just ignore platform altogether as I send my work to agents? Even if you don’t yet have big social numbers, a PhD, or an MFA, there are ways to convince agents and editors of your platform’s potential in the near future.
First, lead your query submission or outreach letter with the strongest credentials you have to show off, and lean on them heavily.
This could be a viral article you wrote for a magazine, high engagement on your Instagram account, or an award you’ve won that’s related to your writing or your research on your book’s topic. In the professional realm, this could also refer to the number of clients that pay for your services, groundbreaking research you’d made in your field, or a controversial idea you have on the topic.
Then, explain how your secret sauce will be helpful in marketing your book.
For example, take an article you’ve published in a magazine: indicate the hundreds of thousands of readers the magazine reaches monthly, all of which might have read your article and have interest in your book. Your well-connected network of influencers and professionals will be able to feature your work on their platforms. Create a vision on how you can continue to use your current audience or network to promote your big idea.
The most persuasive factor for our agency?
Comparative platforms and stats that legitimize your goals. These “comps” can be other creators who use their platforms in ways similar to how you’d like to use yours. If writing nonfiction, discuss thought leaders in your space who you’d like to emulate in your book proposal—or, even better, those already in your network with whom you can collaborate.
For fiction writers, platform can be even more elusive, though ultimately, the number of followers you have or degrees you hold tend to matter less than they do for nonfiction authors. While having dedicated readers of your blog or lots of followers through BookTok is definitely something agents love to see, there are other factors that can be equally enticing: is your book’s genre blowing up on Goodreads? Did you have a byline in a science fiction magazine that received positive attention? Your platform is more centered around people’s enjoyment of your writing skills, voice, or personality than it is about your career, findings, or credentials. That’s the good news: the measurement of your potential is heavily weighed towards your writing.
Building a solid platform is a task that requires dedication and great effort, though rest assured that it is an attainable goal and can be done in manageable steps. Lucinda Literary offers marketing courses that walk you through exactly what you need to do. By strengthening your platform, you will give your book its best shot of success—to agents, editors, and readers alike.