- Visibility. Who knows you? Who is aware of your
work? Where does your work regularly appear? How many people see it? How
does it spread? Where does it spread? What communities are you a part
of? Who do you influence? Where do you make waves?
- Authority. What’s your credibility? What are your credentials? (This is particularly important for nonfiction writers; it is less important for fiction writers, though it can play a role. Just take a look at any graduate of the Iowa MFA program.)
- Proven reach. It’s not enough to SAY you have visibility. You have to show where you make an impact and give proof of engagement. This could be quantitative evidence (e.g., size of your e-mail newsletter list, website traffic, blog comments) or qualitative evidence (high-profile reviews, testimonials from A-listers in your genre).
- Target audience. You should be visible to the most receptive or appropriate audience for the work you’re trying to sell. For instance: If you have visibility, authority, and proven reach to orthodontists, that probably won’t be helpful if you’re marketing vampire fiction (unless perhaps you’re writing about a vampire orthodontist who repairs crooked vampire fangs?).
- It is not about self-promotion.
- It is not about hard selling.
- It is not about annoying people.
- It is not about being an extrovert.
- It is not about being active on social media.
- It is not about blogging.
- It is not about your qualifications, authority, or experience, although these are tools for growing or nurturing a platform.
- It is not something you create overnight.
- It is not something you can buy.
- It is not a one-time event.
- It is not more important than your story or message (but hopefully it grows out of that).