Writing and Publishing

How Big Should Your Author Platform Be?

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

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 are 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 number helm 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 minuscule. 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.

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.

Learn more about writing and publishing in Peter’s book: Successful Author FAQs: Discover the Art of Writing, the Business of Publishing, and the Joy of Wielding Words. Get your copy today.

Peter Lyle DeHaan is an author, blogger, and publisher with over 30 years of writing and publishing experience. Check out his book Successful Author FAQs for insider tips and insights.


By Peter Lyle DeHaan

Author Peter Lyle DeHaan, PhD, publishes books about business, customer service, the call center industry, and business and writing.