Why You Don’t Need a Huge Platform to Get Published—And What it Really Takes Instead

If You’re a New or Aspiring Author, the Answer is within Your Reach

These days everyone knows that you need a platform to get published. But if you’re like a lot of people I meet, you’re overwhelmed, short on time, and not sure where to begin. It feels impossible. But what if I told you it’s easier than you think?

Part of our problem is that we blow things out of proportion. We think we need a massive celebrity-sized platform. I used to think that. Maybe you think that too.

But here’s the good news. It doesn’t take huge platform—just an engaged one. And that’s within your reach.

I speak from significant experience on this point. I have thirty years of experience in every facet of book publishing—as a New York Times bestselling author, an agent, and even the CEO and Chairman of Thomas Nelson, one of the largest book publishers in the world.

The real issue isn’t the quantity of fans and followers. It’s a question of quality. How committed are they to your message? How eager are they for your next post?

If you’re focused on building massive platform, you’ll waste a lot of effort. To build a tribe that publishers will get excited about, it takes just a handful of characteristics you can cultivate to get your message the attention it deserves.

  1. Passion. This is an overused word for some, but it’s critical. The level to which you care about your message is the level to which you’ll persist in communicating it. It’s impossible to sustain and grow reader engagement without passion. If you’ve got that, you’re already on your way.
  2. Clarity. To keep readers engaged, you also need to stay on message. That means identifying the value you add to people’s lives and working to deliver that value again and again.
  3. Reader-focus. The way you ensure you’re bringing the value your audience wants is to make your readers the focus. The more you address their needs, the more engagement and loyalty you’ll create.
  4. Consistency. Now that you’ve matched your passion with clarity and reader-focus, you need to add regularity to the mix. Consistent quality consistently delivered brings readers back. The more regular you are, the more regular they become.
  5. Support. Just like it takes passion to sustain your platform and build engagement, it also takes support. You need a community of likeminded people that can encourage, teach, and guide so you learn quickly and grow your engagement with as little wasted effort as possible.

If you want to find a top-notch literary agent, avoid the slush pile at publishing houses, or create a massive launch for your self-published book, a highly engaged platform is the answer. And developing these five characteristics can make that a reality for you.

There are a lot of other potential questions about what it takes to succeed as an author in today’s publishing world. Maybe you’re wondering about …

  • Which makes the most sense for you, self-publishing or traditional publishing.
  • How to finally beat writer’s block.
  • What it takes to write an irresistible book proposal.
  • Whether you need a literary agent or how to find one.
  • How to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
  • What it really takes to get on the New York Times bestseller list.

If you’re interested in these or any other questions about the publishing industry, I’d like to invite you to join me for a live Facebook chat this morning between 11:00 a.m. and noon Eastern (8 to 9 a.m. Pacific).

To join, just follow the link to my Facebook page. You’ll see a post at the top. Comment with your question and my team and I will be on hand to advise you.

I almost never answer questions on publishing in a public forum like this, so don’t miss your chance to get your questions answered.

Update: We hosted a tremendous live Facebook chat today fielding your questions on what it takes to succeed as an author in today’s publishing world. If you missed it, you can still access the conversation here. Maybe someone asked the very question you wish you had asked. Check and see.

Question: What would be possible for your publishing career if you had followers and fans ready to rave about the impact your message is having in their lives?

Join the conversation on Facebook