5 Essential Platform Components You Need to Land a Literary Agent and a Major Publishing Deal for Your Self-Help, How-To or Business Book

Literary agents and publishers are looking for nonfiction writers who have established platforms. A platform encompasses the ways you are visible and attracting potential readers. It conveys your expertise and influence. These are the five essential components you need to build your platform:

1. Understand Your Brand Image. Establish an author identity and use it consistently throughout your material. Your personal brand is how you package and present yourself to readers to distinguish and differentiate yourself from other writers.

2. Develop and Promote Your Expertise. Are you the go-to expert in your field? You can establish your expertise through:

  • Professional credentials
  • Writing articles
  • Being featured in the media
  • Testimonials and endorsements
  • Speaking engagements
  • Teaching workshops, seminars, teleseminars and webinars
  • Hosting your own online radio show or podcast
  • Creating informational products
  • Being a resource for reporters, journalists, and television producers
  • Sending out press and news releases
  • Creating and distributing online informational videos
  • Answering questions on social media sites

3. Have an Internet Presence. Every potential author needs a website or blog. If you already have a web presence when you begin approaching media, you will have an edge over other writers.

4. Build a List of Contacts. Publishers want to know just how many potential readers there are for your book. The number of fans you have from Facebook, followers on Twitter, connects on LinkedIn, and subscribers to your list provide tangible figures.

5. Engage in Community. You can network through local and regional events, national conferences and conventions, and online social media, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Online networking sites give you access to connections and a platform to share your writing and expertise.