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HLTassin

"Platform" numbers

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Hello everyone,

When an agent asks for a proposal and your platform numbers ….. and you have to google that to figure out what it is … are you in trouble?  LOL!  Seriously, I don't have a large social media presence.  I don't have a website.  Unless I'm actually published what would I put on a "website"? Why would I advertise, or promote myself?

 

I feel like this is one of those Catch 22's and I find it very frustrating that social media is such a factor in an agent or a publisher taking you seriously.  Am I alone in this?  Or do I just need to post more pictures of my cat?  I actually have a very cute cat.

 

Thanks!

 

 

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Unless the definition has changed in the last five years*, "Platform Numbers" is how many people have visited your blog/website. (Proof you have followers.)

 

If the agent is asking for a proposal, that means you write nonfiction. Since you write nonfiction, if you don't have a platform yet, (and, oh yeah, you really should have blog/website/platform), prove your skill levels by including all your published articles by title and publication. They want proof you have the skills to write on the subject matter you've chosen, so that's the two ways to prove you have those skills.

 

And what should your blog/website include? Whatever you're passionate enough about that got you to the point of writing a whole book. If you're writing a devotional, I'm guessing you've already written a few devotional articles. If you're writing about all the first-born sons in the Bible, I bet you've already written something about Cain's life. If you're an apologetic, surely you've written something about the famous, "Yes, a man can live in the gut of a fish for three days" article. If marriage advice, surely something about marriage.

 

I'm writing a teddy bear epic, so my platform will be full of stuffed animal stories. It's what I'm passionate about. What are you passionate about? That's what goes on your platform to get readers.

 

 

*Caveat: If the definition has changed in the last five years, I'd take serious pause worrying about it at all. If it has changed, (and I note signs that says it is changing), that means agents are behind the eight ball on what proves a good writer, and are inventing it as they go. If they can't do any better than you can, why bother with an agent at all?

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 Just like my blog is science for non-scientists. I don't think an unpublished writer is qualified to give writing or marketing advice, but I've done science and math tutoring.

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6 minutes ago, lynnmosher said:

Your platform also includes all your followers on social media.

Hootsuite and Buffer are apps that let you manage social media from your phone.

 

You can set up social media accounts separate from personal accounts and invite your contacts in your personal accounts to follow you on those accounts with the click of a button. There's lists of people who will cross-link if you set up a group, like my 'Snot Rocket Science Club on Facebook. (Joiners are better than lurkers!)

 

Spend a day with a tech- savvy friend or take a course at your local library. It's not rocket science. And if it was, you are carrying around more computing power than they used to go to the moon!

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Thanks everyone for your responses!  After a little research my understanding is your platform includes followers on social media, blogs, etc.  I guess that's why agents - and likely publishers as well - take that into consideration.  Sort of "built in" sales.  

 

Actually I DO write fiction, and this agent DID want a proposal. From what I've learned Fiction Proposals include things like Author Bio, Brief Overview, Comparable Books, how you plan to market your book, and a series outlook (if it's  series).  A publisher also requested a Proposal after reading my query, so maybe it's a thing now with fiction as well as non-fiction.

 

It came together fairly well, I thought, except for those dreaded platform numbers.  I omitted that because like I said, I don't have any numbers - LOL!

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On 12/14/2019 at 10:54 AM, HLTassin said:

Actually I DO write fiction, and this agent DID want a proposal. From what I've learned Fiction Proposals include things like Author Bio, Brief Overview, Comparable Books, how you plan to market your book, and a series outlook (if it's  series).  A publisher also requested a Proposal after reading my query, so maybe it's a thing now with fiction as well as non-fiction.

I've experienced the same thing. It seems at least that in Christian publishing, fiction often requires a proposal.

 

In my experience, platform is king these days if you want to get published, for exactly the reason @Nicholas Reicher said. That's why I'm working on it now. I have a newsletter, blog (on my website), author Facebook page, and author Twitter. My numbers are growing slowly - you really have to work at it and engage with people (online and in real life) who believe in your story.

 

Regarding the blog - try writing about why you wrote your book, any research you did, etc. That's what I was advised to do.

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@PenName, it sounds like you're doing a great job "working on it" - I'd like to follow you! I'm guessing though you've already had something published since you're talking about author pages on Facebook and Twitter, etc. And don't you have to hire someone to create a website?

 

If I move forward with this (and it's sounding like I should), what would I list myself as? "Aspiring author" instead of Author of blank, blank? LOL

 

 

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12 minutes ago, HLTassin said:

And don't you have to hire someone to create a website?

No, I did it myself with much research.  I went crosseyed and wept into my hankie, but it happened and it can for you too! 

 

13 minutes ago, HLTassin said:

If I move forward with this (and it's sounding like I should), what would I list myself as? "Aspiring author" instead of Author of blank, blank? LOL

The definition of "author" does not included "published."  If you write stories or non fiction, if there are words on a screen that might be read, you are an author!  Welcome to the club!  We are a friendly bunch. 🤩 

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18 minutes ago, HLTassin said:

And don't you have to hire someone to create a website?

As Nicola said, "with much research"!!! And check out your friends. One of them may be able to offer you some advice.

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11 minutes ago, Nicola said:

No, I did it myself with much research.  I went crosseyed and wept into my hankie, but it happened and it can for you too! 

 

The definition of "author" does not included "published."  If you write stories or non fiction, if there are words on a screen that might be read, you are an author!  Welcome to the club!  We are a friendly bunch. 🤩 

Thank you!  I guess I'm an author then! Yay! And this is a very friendly and generous bunch.  I appreciate all the patience and support.  

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There are a number of things you need to be aware of when doing a website. Just remember if you use a free service, such as Wordpress.com, Blogger, or whatever, there isn't as much work to keep up with. There are several threads throughout the Writing & Publishing forum with suggestions. However, I would suggest starting a thread of your own and asking for website suggestions. Also, when you get it up, ask again for suggestions. :)

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On 12/15/2019 at 12:33 PM, Nicholas Reicher said:

...Writers have it easy on social media - just talk about writing!

1) Grab a writing-related stock picture

 

2) Write a pithy caption. Originality not necessary!

 

3) Free content! Cross-posting (make sure you credit sources!)

 

4) Solicit action. Comments, poll responses, and re-posts build a community. Newsletter signups show commitment!

 

God speed the journey. Cool running!

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, HLTassin said:

@PenName, it sounds like you're doing a great job "working on it" - I'd like to follow you! I'm guessing though you've already had something published since you're talking about author pages on Facebook and Twitter, etc. And don't you have to hire someone to create a website?

 

If I move forward with this (and it's sounding like I should), what would I list myself as? "Aspiring author" instead of Author of blank, blank? LOL

 

 

As @Nicola said - no such thing as an aspiring author! You put words in the page (or anywhere to be read), you’re an author. 😊


Thanks for the follow! 😁 I don’t have anything published. I do have a fully completed and edited manuscript that I queried. I was told by a publishing company that I would need to work on my platform before I could be published. This is a newer trend, and definitely not how it used to be. But, there are tons of authors on Twitter and Facebook who do not yet have a published piece. It’s pretty common nowadays. 
 

My master’s degree is in Education with Technology, so I had training in how to make websites. I use WordPress; it’s fairly intuitive, at least from my perspective. There have definitely been things I have needed to research how to do, though! I’ve heard good things about Wix as well. As @lynnmosher said, it’s quite a bit easier to use a service like this. I wouldn’t even know where to begin starting from scratch on a website!

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Wow!  Thank you for the info/scoop/advice!  I feel slightly more educated than I did a few days ago. The website thing is a bit daunting but I feel a little less lost.  Your website looks great, @PenName - and I will check out Wix as well.

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On 12/18/2019 at 4:11 AM, HLTassin said:

Wow!  Thank you for the info/scoop/advice!  I feel slightly more educated than I did a few days ago. The website thing is a bit daunting but I feel a little less lost.  Your website looks great, @PenName - and I will check out Wix as well.

Anytime! 😁

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Just coming into this conversation; it's nice to meet you, @HLTassin

 

I don't really have much advice I can give you regarding what you guys have been talking about, but I have learned a lot from what they had to share! I didn't realize how important a factor a social platform could be in a publisher's eyes regarding authors' resumés.

 

Well, since I'm not really into the whole "social media" scene, I guess I'd better get to work on the blog I've been planning to create! LOL. 😁

 

do have an Etsy profile. I mean, not that that's writing, but it is a social platform. Lol! 😂

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@Erin Cook, hey, it's a start!!  LOL! This group is amazing. Very generous as well. I admit I'm overwhelmed but in the span of one week I've learned a lot. Even better, I've enjoyed getting to know some of you and make a few friends :)

I've got to get busy … Building a Social Platform is my New Year's Resolution.  

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On 12/17/2019 at 7:27 PM, PenName said:

I was told by a publishing company that I would need to work on my platform before I could be published.

 

Did they give you any specific numbers? 

 

I find it difficult to work both on a book and a platform at the same time. Perhaps I will also finish the book first and then dedicate time to the platform.

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33 minutes ago, KMK said:

I find it difficult to work both on a book and a platform at the same time. Perhaps I will also finish the book first and then dedicate time to the platform.

 

You can start out with 30 minutes a day. Find the right time of day that works for you. Takes a little experimenting.

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