Platform Building vs. Marketing a Book

Rachelle Gardner

Blogger: Rachelle Gardner

Most people understand that it’s difficult to promote a book without first having a platform. However…

A platform is not enough.

To sell copies of your book, you have to actually promote the book.

You can have a huge platform — thousands of Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and blog readers. Maybe you’re even a public speaker, have a popular newsletter, you’re a go-to expert on your topic, or you’re already a bestselling author.

But if you don’t put your latest book in front of people and make it easy and advantageous for them to immediately click-to-buy, nobody is going to buy it.


Even bestselling authors and celebrities have major “launches” for each book—they don’t just sit back and assume people will find the book because they’re famous. But when you’ve been working hard at platform building, it can come as a surprise that once you have a book available, there is even more to be done.

So what’s the difference between platform and promotion?

Platform-building activities could include:

→ Having a blog and using proven strategies to increase your traffic.

→ Interacting effectively on Twitter and building up your follower count.

→ Having a Facebook fan page and growing your number of fans.

→ Establishing an author brand for yourself.

→ Building an email subscriber list and sending out regular newsletters

Book promotion activities could include:

→ Offering a free giveaway of something your readers would enjoy (a novella, a short non-fiction e-book, a collection of behind-the-scenes information about your book, books from your backlist, etc.) to anyone who buys your book within a specified time frame, and promoting the giveaway on all social media.

→ Creating contests and events on Goodreads, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook that give readers the opportunity and incentive to buy your book.

→ Having a blog tour for your book, in which dozens of bloggers post about your book within a given week.

→ Running targeted advertising on Facebook.

→ Having a “street team” who can work social media on behalf of your book.

It’s important to understand the distinction between platform building and book promotion. You need both, they’re both ongoing, and they require separate activities. Don’t fall into the trap of doing only half!

Have you thought about this distinction between platform and promotion? Are you uncomfortable with either one? What are some platform or promotional activities that have worked for you? 

Image copyright: piksel / 123RF Stock Photo

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