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What Does Your Platform Size Have To Do With Your Book Topic?

Pop Quiz! 🤓 Which of these two sentences do you think is correct?

I don’t have a very big platform, so I need to make sure my book appeals to more people. 

OR

I don’t have a very big platform, so I need to make sure my book appeals to a very narrow, specific audience. 

You’re not alone if option #1 sounds better, but the correct answer is actually #2! 

The smaller your platform, the more narrowly tailored your book needs to be. This is because when your book is meant for a very specific audience, you have less competition. 

Let’s look at this from the perspective of a reader/book buyer, we’ll call her Jessa. 

If Jessa goes to the bookstore looking for a book about how to be happier, she’s likely going to pick a book by a well-known bestselling author, like Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project. It seems like a safer bet than an author she’s never heard of. 

BUT… 

Jessa recently got divorced after being married for 32 years. If Jessa were to see a book about how to be happier post-divorce after a long marriage, she won’t be able to resist that book. 

Sure, it’s by an author she’s never heard of, but it’s so relatable to her specific situation! Plus, it’s the only book on the shelf covering that topic.

If you have a smaller platform (aka audience that wants to buy your book), you want your book to be specific enough that the readers who can relate to it won’t be able to resist it. They will choose your book over a book written by a famous author. 

Let’s play with some examples, going from general to specific:

  • Mindfulness ➡️ Mindfulness for moms ➡️ Mindfulness for moms of toddlers
  • Memoir of a woman ➡️ Memoir of a Hispanic woman ➡️ Memoir of a Hispanic woman growing up in a predominantly white community
  • ADHD diagnosis ➡️ Getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult ➡️ Getting an ADHD diagnosis as an adult male

The more narrowly tailored version of each example is by far the most compelling, right? 

If you’re trying to decide which book to read, and one of those specific topics is relatable for you, that is hands down the book you’re going to buy. 

You will feel seen. You will feel like the author must get you. 

That is why writers with smaller platforms need to be specific. 

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