How to Manage Author Platform-Building Opportunities

As an author, you’re constantly chasing down opportunities to share your book, speak to a crowd, serve as a resource, and perform other platform-building activities. People will often say no to your first request—but don’t let that discourage you or stop you from pursuing a lead after the first contact!

It takes at least six points of contact for a message to sink in—six—yet more than 75% of the time people stop pursuing leads after the first point of contact (Good Day 2009). Sometimes authors stop pursuing because they receive a no on the first try, other times it's because the number of leads to manage is overwhelming. Cultivating relationships is crucial to your career, but it doesn’t need to take up all of your time.

The first thing you need to do is gather contact information. Every time you meet a lead or come across someone in a search, collect his or her contact information or business card right away. Enter them into a simple database such as Microsoft Outlook, Plan Plus, or Salesforce. Spreadsheets and rolodexes can be hard to manage effectively, but databases like these allow you to classify your contacts, set up reminders, add notes, and keep track of all interactions.

Next, you want to categorize your leads. Not all leads are created equal, and each group requires a different type of interaction. Here is a simple way to classify your leads:

  1. Hot or “A” Leads: These are people interested in having you speak or scheduling you for some other event. These contacts are ready to go and need to receive frequent, personal contact in order for the relationship to develop into an event or opportunity. These contacts go to the top of your list.
  2. Warm or “B” Leads: These are people who showed interest, but who have not yet decided whether they want to work with you. You will need to provide them with more information and work to cultivate the relationship.
  3. Cold or “C” Leads: Cold leads are people with whom you have no rapport, such as those you find on the Internet or find out about through third-party sources. These contacts are usually managed through what is called “drip line marketing.” Drip line marketing consists of things like newsletters or emails you send out to a distribution list on an infrequent basis. You may need to send an introductory email and then a reminder a few months later or add them to an informational newsletter until they opt out or say they are not interested.

Sorting your leads into these categories will help you better identify and manage opportunities as they come. Don’t forget to provide value first, and remember that your leads are people. Treat them with respect, consideration, and always show your appreciation for their time.