How Big Should Your Author Platform Be?

When it comes to a writer’s social media following, how much is enough?

How Big Should Your Author Platform Be?Unless we’re a big name A-list author, publishers want us to have a humongous platform from which to sell books. They expect us to have a large following. Even though the publisher will make some effort to sell our books, this largely falls on us. And if we self-publish, the marketing and promotion of our books is all up to us. We need a platform to do this, the bigger the better.

I’ve heard publishers talk about how many Facebook likes or Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or Google+ followers they want their authors to have. The figures are staggering. The amount of zeros they tack on to the end of these numbers overwhelm me.

The marketing guru at one publisher once said she wanted authors to have 50,000 Facebook likes and 100,000 Twitter followers. For those who did public speaking, she wanted them to be in front of 100,000 different people a year. That astounded me. (By the way, she has since left the industry.)

I don’t do much in the way of public speaking. I’m a writer for a reason.

And though I have a presence on each of the above social media platforms (plus Goodreads), my numbers are miniscule. However, I’ve recently gained some traction on Twitter. I’m following people and they’re following back. I’m tweeting and retweeting. And I’m having some personal interaction with my followers.Is the size of an author platform ever big enough? Click To Tweet

My number of followers grows by a couple hundred each week. This isn’t easy, however. I spend at least an hour a day on Twitter, sometimes closer to two. And that’s using certain tools to help me. (Hootsuite and Manageflitter, if you’re interested.)

As I stumbled onto a Twitter methodology I inched my way past 1,000 Twitter followers toward the end of last year. I set a goal to have 10,000 by the end of this year. This week I hit 5,000 and am on pace to reach my goal by the end of summer. When that happens, I’ll probably just keep at it.

Given all this, I asked myself a question: How much is enough?

Someone once asked John D. Rockefeller this question about money. He said “Just a little bit more.” I feel this same compulsion with social media. Yet I still don’t know if publishers will be impressed or if it will help me sell books.

What are you doing to build your platform? How concerned are you over the size of your following? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Peter DeHaan is an author, publisher, and editor. He gives back to the writing community through this blog. Get insider info from his monthly newsletter. Sign up today!


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