Many writers have heard this term— it is always a goal every writer should desire to achieve.
There is no simple definition of “platform.” There are many definitive paths to increase one’s “platform,” without the necessary black & white description to match.
Here is what I tell my own writers, platform in publishing = WHO knows what you’re writing AND who will buy your book. The more the general public knows about you (and your writing), the larger the platform.
There are many methods by which to accomplish this:
1. Network, network, network. – Attend writing conferences, join writers groups, blog, join organizations that will promote and benefit from your writing, and more. Become a publicly known expert in your area, as this is what publishers and agents need to know (and like).
2. Periodical & Print Publications – Magazines, journals, newspapers. This takes time, but is well-worth the effort. Try to work your writing into nationally-recognized publications, as readership #s will increase dramatically.
3. Online Presence – While I’m not the biggest fan of basing someone’s popularity on his/her ranking in Google Search, please know that is how some editors may judge a writer’s platform. The best way to increase one’s online presence happens through online networks & groups, social websites, an official blog, forums, and more. Keep track of your numbers, what your readers/followers are saying, and attempt to piggyback on every “success” in this area. Over time those Google searches will be a benefit vs. a potential challenge.
4. Improve your art. – This art is your writing, one’s ability to reach readers. Ensure that you have a 2nd (or 3rd ) set of eyes critiquing your writing. Please honestly consider others’ input. It’s worth noting most editors and agents will only consider an idea ONE time. The better the writing, the more likely we are to consider it, the less likely your idea will be on the rejection pile.
There’s more I can say here, but for the moment this is a good start. I wish every writer much success in regard to “platform,” as the payback is very satisfying for one’s writing career and confidence as an author.