Girl Peeking

You don’t need a big following to become an author

“I’m going to build my platform before I become an author.”
“Just like all those other big-time authors, I need a bigger following first.”
“I don’t have enough fans to publish now.”

These statements might sound wise or even prudent, right?
And you might have said them or heard other people say them.
But these aren’t justifications for delaying your dream of becoming an author.

It’s time to label them for what they truly are.

EXCUSES!

Stop comparing. Start creating. 
We need you and your message.

 

As an author of 7 books—spanning the past 13 years—and as a coach to over 300 authors I’ve gotten pretty good at smelling fear. The truth is I used to believe these same lies. When I first started, before I saw my writing dreams come true, I was scared and stuck. I didn’t know whom to trust or what to believe.

An author named Max took a couple hours and invested in me way back in 1998. He helped me believe that I could one day become an author.

Seems like many aspiring authors can relate to feeling stuck. They cling to the soundbites above so they can rationalize their tendency to procrastinate. Besides, they’ve heard that unless you have a big platform they don’t have a chance in the marketplace. Focusing on getting a bigger platform gives them the illusion that they’re being productive.

The truth is it’s a delightful distraction that keeps you from making your dream come true. 

In this post we’ll separate fact from fiction. We’ll unpack the real issues one at a time. Then you can decide for yourself if you need a bigger following before you write your book.

What is a platform?

While platform is a buzzword that strikes fear into would-be authors, the truth is many people toss around the word without having an accurate definition.

Platform is the ability for you and your message to be seen and heard. 

In the old days, people would stand on “soapboxes” and communicate their message. These raised platforms were often wooden crates originally used for shipment of soap or other dry goods from a manufacturer to a retail store. “Soapboxes” functioned as inexpensive and portable temporary platforms for street corner speakers attempting to be seen and heard at improvised outdoor meetings. Today our platforms are more sophisticated.

How big should your platform be?

I get this questions all the time.

Hey Kary, I don’t have a big platform. I don’t have a big following. Should I still write a book or should I focus on building my platform first?

Pope Francis TwitterThe answer is start NOW…wherever you are!

You’ll be building your platform for the rest of your life. It’s true for everybody. Look at the biggest celebrities. Did you know the Pope has a twitter account? And Oprah Winfrey and her team are trying to increase her reach every single day. She is focused on getting more listeners, viewers, and touching more people around the world. Why? Because there are more people around the world who do not know about her.

The Pope and Oprah are still focused on building their platforms. Therefore, you and I will be building ours for quite a while too.

If you wait until your platform is “big enough” or until you have “enough followers” before you publish then you will be waiting for the rest of your life. It’s just another excuse.

How do I know this?

Because way back when in 2004, when I published my first book, I didn’t have a platform. But I wrote it anyway. And then guess what happened?

I gained readers. Then I wrote another book and got more readers and more media gigs. And then a few years later, I published again and then again. The point is I got started.

You have a dream inside you for a reason. Don’t let your story die inside you. If you do you’ll regret it. I meet people all the time who are full of regrets.

3 Ways to get a Bigger Platform

Don’t think I’m against platforms. They certainly help you spread your message by getting you seen and heard. But from the beginning, my strategy has always been both/and NOT either/or.

The most successful authors do BOTH. They write their books AND increase their platforms.

Also, don’t think getting a bigger platform is a one size fits all. There are 3 ways to get a bigger platform. Intuitive authors know this and use it to their advantage.

1. You can BUY a Platform

Investing money to increase your platform is usually classified as Interruption Marketing. According to Seth Godin, interruption marketing is communicating messages that interrupt customers while they are doing something of their preference.

Examples include advertisements on television, radio, or social media. Most businesses prefer interruption marketing because it’s faster, easier, and cheaper. Here are a few examples:

Purchasing email lists
Spamming (illegal)
Running ads
Placing flyers on windshields
Delivering free community papers to your door

Unfortunately, this type of marketing doesn’t work in the long run. For starters, think of the internet as one big, noisy room. Over time people naturally tune out these interruptions. Secondly, it requires more and more money to get people’s attention. Consider this year’s Super Bowl. According to Forbes, the cost of a 30-second spot is a whopping $5 million dollars, the equivalent of $166,667 per second.

2. You can BUILD a Platform

Building a platform is effective, it just takes a very long time. I should know. My first book released in 2004 and I’ve been building my platform ever since. Examples of building a platform are:

Writing a blog
Launching a podcast
Shooting a video

When you build your platform you’re usually engaging in permission marketing versus interruption marketing. Notice the difference, also explained by Seth Godin:

Permission marketing is the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them. Real permission is different from presumed or legalistic permission. Just because you somehow get my email address doesn’t mean you have permission. Because I don’t complain doesn’t mean you have permission. Just because it’s in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn’t mean it’s permission either. Real permission works like this: if you stop showing up, people complain, they ask where you went.

3. You can BORROW a Platform

There is a much faster and effective way to getting a bigger platform. It’s not a result of buying or building. I increased my platform exponentially by BORROWING other people’s platforms.

Borrowing someone else’s platform means that they invite you on their stage. They extend their trust to you and promote you and your message. Over the years I’ve:

Stood on other people’s stages
Spoken on other people’s podcasts
Talked on other people’s TV stations
Written on other people’s blogs
Shared on other people’s radio stations

If I waited to get a big enough platform before I wrote any of my 7 books I would have been waiting forever. Thankfully I didn’t.

Kary Oberbrunner Author Books

I wouldn’t have been able to buy or build a platform fast enough. Instead, I wrote my books AND borrowed other people’s platforms. Don’t get me wrong. Buying and building aren’t bad. However, they have limitations.

Buying a platform often costs a bunch of money.
Building a platform often takes a bunch of time.
Borrowing a platform doesn’t require time or money.

Over the past 13 years I’ve discovered how to have other people invite you onto their platform. Here are just a few examples.

Michael Hyatt Kary Oberbrunner Nick Vujicic

Brian Tracy Kary Oberbrunner

John Maxwell Kary Oberbrunner

Kary Oberbrunner 700 Club

 

Kary Oberbrunner, Les Brown, Mark Sanborn

I Want to Help you Like I Helped Them

I love to help aspiring authors. Over the years I’ve helped hundreds write, publish, and market their books. They all began just like me…scared and stuck. They didn’t know whom to trust or what to believe.

They clung to the soundbites floating around so they could rationalize their tendency to procrastinate. They heard that unless they had a big platform they didn’t have a chance in the marketplace. Today these people are authors. Here’s a picture of just a small amount of authors I’ve helped. They’re each holding their book. Many have gone on to do amazing things. They’ve spoken all over the world and helped many people. They’ve also increased their influence, impact, and income. (I’m the bald guy with a girl’s name in the middle.)

Author Academy Elite

 

One aspiring author named Dalia asked me to help her get in front of a particular celebrity with 2 million followers. I shared my process with her and within days she was featured on this actress’ instagram account.

 

 

Megan Good Author Academy Elite

Enjoy my Free Author Training

I’ll never forget how Max invested a couple hours in me. To this day I still have his letter way back from 1998. He changed my life by believing in me. His encouragement convinced me that one day I could become a full-time writer. (See a picture of that letter below.)

As a result, I want to pass on what Max did for me and help you overcome your obstacles and help you achieve your dreams. I have a FREE training that has helped over 50,000 authors. There is nothing to buy in this FREE training. I give you nearly ninety minutes of solid content.

Since I believe in practicing 100% integrity, I’ll tell you up front that at the end of that training if you want more from me, there is a simple form where you can request more information. My FREE training even comes with a helpful interactive guidebook to help you on your author journey. I know you’ll enjoy it.

Most importantly…just get started. Stop delaying your dream and remember…I believe in you. 

Please comment below and let me know a little bit about yourself. What do you want to write about?

Max Anders, Kary Oberbrunner

 

About The Author

Kary Oberbrunner

I am an author, coach and speaker who helps individuals and organizations clarify who they are, why they're here, and where they're going so they can become a Soul on Fire, experience Unhackability, and share their message with the world.

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