Writing Non-Fiction: Building Your Author Platform Through Publication (And a Bonus Cover Reveal!)

Get it because platform? Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Platform is one of those tricky things that I find a lot of new writers wrestle with. Because the definition of “platform” is surprisingly varied. I’m going to write a few pieces that address it over the next few weeks, that I hope you’ll find helpful.

First up, let’s dig into building platform in publication.

A little over two years ago, when I was still a Baby Agent™, what could only be described as a dream query floated through my inbox.

It was a book about the history of the video game Missile Command, and the spiraling downfall of the game’s creator. See, the creator of the game, Dave Theurer, made the game as a way to protest nuclear war… and he became obsessed. And as the game rose in popularity and acclaim, Theurer suffered under the weight of his obsession.

Now, there were a lot of reasons why this was the perfect pitch for someone like me. For one, I’m a massive geek who loves video games and I’m smitten with the history behind them. But what made me pounce extra hard on this book, on this query letter, was the author’s platform.

From Alex’s query:

I’m a leading video game journalist, having written for more than 30 different outlets across web, print, and television, who specializes in capturing the human element of games.

Let that sink in for a minute. Thirty. Different. Outlets.

A quick Google search for Alex Rubens showcases a writer with a massive platform. He’s quite literally written for just about every major video game outlet across print and the Internet. IGN. Kotaku. Giant Bomb. G4. PC Gamer. Complex. Polygon. And just so many more.

And with the cover of Alex’s book dropping, I thought this might be a great time to talk about platform for non-fiction writers.

Because I feel like there’s a bit of confusion when it comes to defining what “platform” is.

Does it have to do with who you know? Your social media presence? Books you’ve already published? Articles? Essays? The places you’ve given talks or your regular speaking engagements?

The short answer to all of that is yes. But first, let’s talk about platform as publication. Continue Reading →

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