Today, it's my pleasure to welcome Amanda Luedeke back to Chiseled in Rock! A literary agent with MacGregor Literary, we last interviewed Amanda on April 9, 2012, but today she's talking about platform (yes, that dreaded platform!) and her new book, The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform.
~ Janet Fogg
~ Janet Fogg
How Big Should Your Platform Be?
by Amanda Luedeke
You’ve heard it before that if you really want to impress an agent or publisher, make sure you have three things: a great idea, great writing, and a great platform.
But let’s be honest, either you’re born with a knack for words or you’re not.
Either a great idea drops into your head one day, or it doesn’t.
But platform doesn’t happen by chance. Platform is all about hard work.
It’s funny that we dedicate entire conferences, workshops, and critique groups to the very components that we have the least control over, but the third component—the one that really can be taught into existence—gets constantly ignored.
My background is in marketing. For some years I worked as social media marketer and copywriter for an agency outside of Chicago. I launched corporate Facebook pages, YouTube channels, blogs and more—all on behalf of some pretty major clients. So when I transitioned to publishing, marketing wasn’t scary at all. It was doable. It was conquerable. So, I started blogging about it on our agency blog. And from that, a book was born.
The Extroverted Writer: An Author’s Guide to Marketing and Building a Platform is jam-packed with tips, tricks, rules, and tools for developing a platform, whether you’re published or not (!). I cover Facebook, Twitter, websites, blogs, Pinterest, and more.
To give a taste of some of the insight I provide in the book, here’s an excerpt:
Solid author platforms come in the tens or hundreds of thousands.
Let’s get more specific.
If you have a website or blog, your monthly unique visitor count should be at least 30,000.
If you have a Twitter account, your followers should be at least 5,000.
If you have a Facebook group, your following should be pushing 5,000.
If you’re a public speaker, you should speak at least 30 times a year, and you should shoot for a total audience number of at least 10,000.
If you write for e-zines and e-publications on a regular basis, you should have your words in front of at least 100,000 readers per month.
If you write for print publications on a regular basis, you should have your words in front of at least 100,000 readers per quarter.
If you’ve e-published, your sales in the first year should be in the hundreds of thousands for a $0.99 e-book and in the tens or hundreds of thousands for a $2.99 e-book.
If you’ve POD (print on demand) published, your sales within the first year should be at least 5,000 copies.
Intimidated yet? I know I am. These numbers aren’t easy to achieve.
The time and effort required to grow such a following might have you envisioning yourself with an impressive platform sometime in the year 2030. You may even be thinking about how you don’t have a single sales bone in your body. You’re an artist, after all, and an introverted artist at that. Those qualities don’t always make for the most sociable, friendly, outgoing, spin-doctoring bunch.
So, what’s the secret? How can these numbers be achieved?
Before you delete all the Word documents containing your manuscripts and then jump off a cliff, there are a few things to keep in mind:
2. Fiction authors could cut these numbers in half. Fiction is a different ball game. An impressive debut novelist can have a Twitter following of 2,500 and a blog readership of 10,000 unique visitors per month and still look impressive to the right editor.
3. It’s a process. It takes time to build relationships and garner a following. You’re not doing yourself any favors by getting down on yourself for having only 100 blog readers after blogging religiously for only three months. You need to allow yourself time.
4. There are always exceptions to the rule. BUT, AMANDA!!! I know someone who knows someone who just got a book deal, and they don’t even know what Twitter is! Yes, this happens. And sure, there’s a chance it could happen to you. In fact, I hope it does! But like I said before, having the right story written at the right time and pitched to the right editor or agent involves a lot of luck. Platform is about hard work and creating something that simply cannot be ignored. It really is the one thing that you can control.
What do YOU think about these numbers? Are they doable? Daunting? Energizing? Sound off in the comments below.
Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Her background is in marketing, and her book, The Extroverted Writer, is available now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. Amanda represents romance, literary fiction, speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, urban fantasy, horror, paranormal, etc.), YA, and nonfiction. Catch her at BEA, RWA, ACFW, and more.
Thank you, Amanda, for joining us on the Rock!
Janet is the author of Soliloquy, an award-winning historical romance, and co-author of the military history bestseller, Fogg in the Cockpit.