Saturday, July 10, 2010

YOUR PLATFORM: Build It & They Will Come!



Authors have asked me repeatedly, “What is the most important part of your Book Proposal?” My answer is always the same, “The marketing platform.”

One of the most difficult aspects of writing the Book Proposal is the Marketing Platform Outline. Blame it on “left-brain/right-brain differences.” Writing is artistic and therefore right brain oriented. Marketing is statistical left brain work. Few of us have “ambidextrous brains” and are proficient at using both sides equally well.

I have used some of my own outline and first person narrative nonfiction proposal from SURVIVING CANCERLAND: The Psychic Aspects of Healing as an example. However, fiction can be substituted and tweaked to fit. Print out my proposal and fill in the blanks with your own information. Study my examples and then replace them with your information.

The proposal outline is more important now than ever before in the publishing world because of the reduced help in marketing offered by publishers. The statistics and details contained in it will help get your book into the hands of an agent because the agent will see its marketing potential at a glance. That will give the agent confidence to take your book to the big publishing houses. Agents don’t like to get turned down, either. It effects their reputations. So help your agent help you. Work as a team.

Big publishing houses are not in the business to publish books. They are in the business to make money. Until the day that you become an author of Dan Brown’s caliber, you will be required to show the steps of how you plan to market and sell your book beyond what the publishing houses can or will do. Stating that you will use your social networking skills to promote your book will not suffice. You must prove it with names and numbers, facts and figures. One of the first steps in that sequence is to identify your audience which will later become your market.

Answering the question, “Who will want to read my book and why?” will identify your audience. The next question, “How and where can I find them?” will help discover how and where to market your book. Identify your audience, and then decide how to “reach out, and touch them.” Those are the important components of a successful marketing platform.

The Internet has made finding and touching audiences easier than ever before in recorded history. I’ve developed a preliminary marketing plan that leverages my social, and viral networking through online channels.

Today writer’s can have conversations with hundreds of thousands of worldwide followers instantly through the Internet. Writers are now active partners with publishers in conversations that market and promote their books. Viral networking is a marketing technique that uses pre-existing social networks to increase brand awareness, product sales, etc. Users accept ideas (become infected) and then share those ideas with others (thus infecting them.) Twitter lends itself to vital networking; tweets can be personalized for intended audiences.

Twitter is projected to have 40 billion users by 2010. It is a viral networking vehicle that can promote market and create a quantitative potential readership for my books that has quotable numbers to indicate a demand.

Let’s begin with the outline. This will be the foundation for your marketing platform.

An outline gives the reader quick information assessment. You want to make the editor’s job easy, and make yourself look knowledgeable, and professional. My college professors required an outline for every essay test question to make grading papers quick. The marketing outline accomplishes the same task for the agent and editor.

The Market for This Book



In one line write what you want to convey to the reader? (example: Awaken and

believe in your intuitive powers.)

2. AUDIENCE (Who is interested in your subject matter? Brain storm and list them

all primary and secondary markets.)

A. the primary market with statistics

B. groups related to group A (the secondary market with statistics)

C. groups related to group B

D. Research Institutes interested in those groups (with statistics)


A. Primary—Create Internet web site, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube video, blog sites, etc… as central platforms to:

1. Broadcast my message

2. Display testimonials

3. Receive feedback

4. Discuss current and real time issues

5. Allow for book ordering

6. Establish cross-links to marketing outreach sources described below

7. Use my web site to establish credibility and credentials

8. Use my Tweeter site to build awareness, followers and network

9. Use my Facebook site to build awareness, followers and network

9. Use my YouTube video to connect to international viewers

10. encourage book signing parties

B. Secondary—Creation of Awareness by utilizing existing outlets to network the

message through organization

(list all of the networks available on the Internet using Newsletters, web sites, Tweeter sites, I Blog, Facebook, online magazines, etc.

a) (name the newspapers and their readership numbers, etc.)


A. Use my web site as the primary medium to immerse the prospective buyer in the

book, then convince them of my credibility and the book’s worth

B. Prominently reference my web site in all articles for publications

C. Establish reciprocal web links with prominent related sites

D. Direct social networking outlets to my web site

(Refer to previous information that pertains to the proposal.)

The details for the Marketing Strategy are in the Promotional Possibilities section on page 13 of the book proposal.

I hope PART I of the proposal I developed with my agent will be helpful with you. I will post PART II in the next week.