Author Platform: Build Your Foundation for Career Success

Author Platform class by Jane Friedman

This class is now over and is unavailable for purchase. Sign up to receive announcements about upcoming classes.

No two author platforms are alike. Take your first steps toward building a platform that’s uniquely yours and sustainable.

Author platform is one of the most difficult concepts to explain in publishing, partly because everyone defines it a little differently. But by far the easiest explanation of platform is: visibility to your target readership—which translates into an ability to sell your work.

Platform building requires consistent, ongoing effort over the course of a career; the work is never really done, and your strategy will evolve over time. This class offers a framework for understanding platform (it needn’t be intimidating or steal away time from your real writing work), and how to develop an approach and philosophy that fits your personality and the unique qualities of your career.

In this 90-minute live class on December 2, Jane Friedman will teach you:

  • What platform is and is not. A holistic approach to platform is about much more than social media numbers. It’s about how you best share your work with the world, express your views, and best develop relationships.
  • How to spot anxieties and pressure points. Some authors fail to make progress because they’re worried they’re “bad” at social media or that platform building means becoming someone they’re not. We’ll deal with these fears head on.
  • The importance of relationships and community. When you have a stronger network, or if you have meaningful relationships with authors who have established platforms, that can help you spread the word more quickly about your own work. We’ll talk about improving your reach through collaborations, partnerships, and influencers.
  • Deciding when to work for “exposure” rather than money. While writers deserve to be paid for their work, sometimes building a platform means doing some work for free—but only if it gains you readership and visibility that’s more valuable over the long term.
  • The mechanics of lead generation and building a marketing funnel. To grow your platform strategically, you’ll need to consider how and where you can reliably be visible to new readers over time, and how/where you best engage loyal and committed readers.
  • The magical power of the marketing trifecta. Your platform will be more robust when you have an author website, an email newsletter, and at least one social media outlet where you engage.

This session helps you start where you are, to grow your platform in the year (and years) ahead. Most importantly, it will teach you how to think about platform in a way that will lead to better decisions about what’s worth your time, and what you can safely ignore. You’ll learn how to move forward with confidence in a way that suits your own strengths or goals.

Who should take this class

  • Unpublished writers in any category who are concerned about building a platform and want to understand the principles from the start
  • Intermediate and mid-career authors who feel they lack direction in building a platform
  • Journalists and business professionals who want to be well-positioned to pitch and publish a successful nonfiction book
  • Creative writing students

Who should NOT take take this class

  • People who need to build up their numbers fast (in weeks or months) to land a book deal
  • People looking for a magic bullet or secret to landing a book deal without a platform

How do I know if this webinar is worth the cost?

This is an important question, and it’s a tough one to answer—especially since so much online education is available free of charge. Furthermore, every student is different, and a valuable webinar for one person can end up being a disappointment to another. For this reason, we offer full refunds if you register, attend the entire class, and fail to get the information you’re looking for. Please email us directly to request a refund.

Do I have to attend the live class?

No. Everyone who registers will get access to the recording. However, if you’d like to attend live, keep reading.

How do I attend the live class?

This class uses Zoom webinar technology. You will join through your Internet-connected computer or mobile device. When you register, you will receive information via email on how to join the class. If you don’t receive it within 10 minutes of registering, please contact us.

  • When: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
  • Time: 1 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Eastern Time / 10 a.m. Pacific Time
  • Fee: $25

The webinar is broadcasted via the internet with live audio delivered through your computer or mobile device speakers. The visual presentation is displayed directly from the presenter’s computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions read and answered by the presenter for the entire class to hear.

Closed captions are provided for the live class. We use Rev’s closed caption service, powered by AI, which is about 80%+ accurate. Keep in mind there is a time delay; transcription speed varies based on how fast the Internet hamsters run that day.

Jane Friedman 2020

About the instructor

Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in business strategy for authors and publishers. She’s the editor of The Hot Sheet, the essential industry newsletter for authors, and has previously worked for F+W Media and the Virginia Quarterly Review.

Her own platform includes:

  • An email subscriber base of nearly 50,000
  • A website and blog that attract 100,000 visitors every month
  • More than 10 years of experience using Twitter, where she has more than 200,000 followers
  • Nearly 15 years of Facebook activity, where she maintains a personal profile, a business page, and a group
  • Daily posts on Instagram, with more than 5,000 followers
  • Mentions in mainstream media outlets such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, Publishers Weekly, and much more.

Jane frequently speaks on the publishing industry at major events (BookExpo, Digital Book World, London Book Fair) and is a professor with The Great Courses. She’s taught numerous conference workshops and online classes on author platform—going back to 2010!—so her lectures and curriculum anticipate your questions and address the most common challenges that authors face.

I’m just starting out as a blogger (after years of percolating) and Jane’s webinar answered all my most pressing questions. She even answered questions I hadn’t articulated yet, things that were just kind of swirling around and keeping me frozen.

Denise Berger


We feel like we’ve been stumbling around in the dark for too long and your advice feels like someone turned on a light in the distance to give us a direction to walk.

Warren & Betsy Talbot


Thank you for a well-presented and enlightening webinar on publishing. I have taken twelve-sessions-long university courses that did not cover that much material. As well, thank you for answering all questions, including mine, after the session was closed.

Lise Lévesque


You’ll receive the following

  • Access to the 90-minute interactive class. After 75 minutes, Jane will take questions using in-class chat/text. The class will end after roughly 90 minutes.
  • A recording of the class—audio and video. This is especially helpful if you have a conflict with the class time or something comes up and you can’t make the session. Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and the materials for 30 days. You do not have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation.
  • Presentation slides. All participants receive a copy of the slide presentation in PDF form.
  • Additional answers to questions, if needed. If there isn’t time for Jane to answer all the questions during the live event, she will answer them in writing afterward. All participants will receive the answers with the follow-up recording.
  • Rough transcript. We use Otter to create an automated transcript of the entire webinar, which we’ll share with you in addition to the audio and video recording.

Event Attendance & Anti-Harassment Policy

We strive to provide an environment where all present—whether attendee, presenter, or staff—can feel supported. In order to ensure a welcoming event, here is what we expect from all who participate.

  • That the presenter and the presenter’s work be treated with respect by attendees and that all attendees treat each other with respect and a generosity of spirit.
  • That attendees will refrain from harassment of any sort including (but not limited to) comments or questions of a racist, homophobic, sexist/sexual, or threatening nature. This includes actions that disrupt or interfere with anyone’s ability to participate. Offenders will be disconnected from the live event.

System Requirements to Join the Webinar

We will be using Zoom webinar technology.

You’ll need:

  • An internet connection: broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE)
  • Speakers: built-in or USB plug-in or wireless Bluetooth

Recommended bandwidth:

  • 600kbps (down) for high-quality video and 1.2 Mbps (down) for HD video
  • If you connect through audio only: 60-80kbps (down)

Supported operating systems:

Supported tablet and mobile devices:

  • Surface PRO 2 running Win 8.1
  • iOS and Android devices
  • Blackberry devices

Supported browsers:

  • Windows: IE 11+,  Edge 12+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Mac: Safari 7+, Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+
  • Linux: Firefox 27+,  Chrome 30+

For a detailed listing of system requirements, check Zoom’s site.