Platform. That's what the publishing world calls an author's combination of connections with other human beings who might be interested in buying his book. If you write a regular newspaper column, host a radio show, or happen to be a TV celebrity, you've got a fantastic platform!
Lesser mortals construct their platforms in other ways. For instance, building a following through tweeting on Twitter works for some. Others attempt to build a Facebook family of connections. However you do it, the underlying idea is that publishers look for authors with a tribe of followers. Those followers represent potential sales, so the bigger the platform, the greater the number of possible book sales.
But is the goal of selling books the ultimate goal of one's platform?
I know a missionary couple in Western Asia. These Christians living among Muslims constantly look for ways to meet new people in their city. To this end, they get involved in civic organizations as well as frequent social gatherings right in their neighborhood. In a sense, these missionaries are doing what authors do: They are building their platform. They are broadening their base of contacts.
However, my missionary friends aren't authors, and they aren't trying to sell books. They simply realize that if they expect anyone to listen to their message about Jesus, then they must first meet them. Getting to know people one on one then opens doors for conversation about THE Book, the Bible.
Each time I read a monthly update in which my friends express joy that they "got to meet new people," I smile and rejoice with them. They seek to make acquaintances and friendships, not in hopes that those people will buy something they wrote, but in order to give those people what they need most -- the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Seems to me that the Apostle Paul's journeys in the Book of Acts served that same goal.
Friend, let me ask you the same question I ask myself: Why are you enlarging your personal "platform"? So that people will buy your books or in some other way benefit you? Or do you seek to connect with others in order to help and bless them? If Option #1 is your primary goal, you just might be wasting the platform God is giving you!