When writers are trying to build platform—in order to land a book deal—they often ask me questions like:
- How many Twitter followers do I need?
- How many Facebook likes should I have?
- How many website or blog visits are required?
- How many people need to be on my email newsletter list?
Every agent or publisher will throw out a different number to such questions, and usually that number is made up. What’s even more frustrating: building a platform only to land a book deal usually ends up short circuiting. (Here’s why.)
A smarter and more strategic author should evaluate their platform strength on three levels:
- ability to reach new readers,
- ability to engage existing readers, and
- ability to mobilize super fans.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.