I think there are some lessons to be learned from the Bill Simmons school of publishing. This recent article from the New York Times talks about how his unconventional (and relatively rapid) rise to fame might just become the most conventional approach to successful platform-building out there. And it also zeros in on at least one reason why he is so popular: he’s just a fan like the rest of us, so he’s very relatable. I am a big baseball fan (I don’t want to mention I root for the Mets, but as a season ticket holder, I’m bound to be found out sooner or later) and represent a number of great sports writers. When it comes to selling sports books and nonfiction books in general, platform becomes a big discussion point. How Simmons has grown his in a grassroots way by blogging and using the Internet, and moving away from print, is pretty telling. And his rabid fans can’t seem to get enough. It’s amazing that his new book about all things basketball is a #1 NY Times bestseller (when was the last time a book about basketball hit #1, and it’s over 700 pages?!), and really illustrates the power of a successful platform. This article also offers some good easy-to-know, but hard-to-follow advice on how to build your platform by blogging and how to keep people coming back once you get there.
Platform Building 101