Let's face it, if you are a non-fiction writer, you know you need a robust platform to sell your book. Agents are not interested in you unless you already have a following, are an "expert" in your field, and are quite possibly...already famous. Some agents have "follower caps," meaning you must have at least 20K followers on your social media sites before they will consider signing you. Other agents know raw talent when they see it and if you come off as marketable, they will surely do what they can to help you build your platform.
The thing is, you have to start building your platform NOW. Here are some must-haves for every non-fiction writer:
1) Author Facebook Page - You may have a Facebook profile already, but chances are your followers are high school friends and random people you met at parties. (And maybe your mom). An author's Facebook page is a professional page, similar to a business page, where you showcase who you are as the writer, the author and the expert. These pages are easy to build and free to create. Once you have a few days worth of content on your page, invite your high school friends, random people you met at parties and your mom to follow you. The more followers you have, the more credible you appear.
2) Twitter Account - Twitter is becoming one of the more popular social media platforms. It was once a landscape of 140 character status updates. Today, it is home to millions of meaningful conversations. Follow the #WritingCommunity, #amwriting, and #writerslife hashtags to see what is out there and engage with your fellow writers. The community is very supportive and can get you not only new writing friends and access to unlimited resources but also...those coveted followers.
3) Website - A key part of platform development is visibility. You want to be accessible. Agents WILL Google you. Yes, they will. So you want to make sure your website is one of the first results on that search. Your website will contain several key components including: a brief biography, links to published work (if applicable), social media buttons and a contact form. You can develop a website easily using Wordpress, Blogger, Wix, and Squarespace, just to name a few.
4) Additional things to consider - Instagram reaches a millennials audience, but you're limited to stories and graphic-focused content. If you have people interested in you and your works, you can develop a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter using a program such as Mailgun, Mailchimp or Constant Contact and push out a newsletter to your opt-in e-mail followers.
A platform is relatively easy to start and a labor of love to grow, but there are many tools at your fingertips. The key is get started, put your best foot forward and get out in the world. Once your platform takes off, it will grow organically.