Your Platform – Simply put, your platform is the people you have some type of connection with. These are the people you have access to for selling your book. Everyone has a platform, even if it only includes friends and family, but most of us have access to more people than we think. Think of all the people you know. Are you a member of a church or a Bible study group? What about professional organizations, school groups, neighborhood associations, writing groups? All of these include people you have access to who are more likely than the general public to buy your books because they have a connection to you.
Other items to mention under your platform:
– The number of speaking/teaching engagements you have per year
– Columns you write regularly
– Radio or TV programs you participate in
– Groups you do volunteer work with (especially if it’s related to your book in some way)
– The number of contacts you have through social networking outlets
– The number of followers for your blog, as well as the number of contacts it goes out to if you post announcements about your blog posts on places like Facebook and Twitter
NOTE: Social networking is a huge way to increase the number of people you have connections to. If you don’t already have a Facebook account, get one. If you’re ready to jump into creating a bigger on-line presence, join Twitter or start a blog. Finding “friends” (read as “contacts”) on Facebook is easy. Look for and find as many people you have ever know as you can think of: neighbors, family members, old schoolmates, church members, critique partners, co-workers, etc. Start joining groups and invite the people in those groups to be friends. It doesn’t take long for your friend count to grow.
Your Marketing Plan – A publisher wants to know that their authors are prepared to market their own books, so think about what can you do to help sell your book. List your own promotional ideas and the efforts you plan to undertake. Contact other writers to see what type of marketing has been successful for them. Evaluate each technique against your personality. There is no magic bullet; not every idea will work equally well for everyone. Also, your time will be limited, so while you want to have a good long list, you want to make sure it’s full of items you will truly be able to do.
Items you might want to mention:
– Setting up blog tours
– Setting up book signings
– Contacting local libraries, churches, and bookstores
– Creating and distributing bookmarks
– Writing and sending out press releases
– Contacting any niche markets that may be interested in selling your book
– Any places where you have special access to sell your book (your family business, a friend’s high-volume website, etc.)
The key to this section of the proposal is to let publishers know that 1) you’re willing to help market and sell your book, and 2) that you have access to some of the target audience that you’ve already mentioned. Most importantly, they want to see that you are willing to participate in marketing and selling your books.