What is branding?
· From businessdictionary.com: Entire process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product (good or service) in the consumers' mind, through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. Branding aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers.

What does “platform” mean?
· A platform communicates your expertise to others. It includes your Web presence, any public speaking you do, the classes you teach, the media contacts you’ve established, the articles you’ve published, and any other means you currently have for making your name and your future books known to a viable readership.

I find it helpful to define a platform as a promise writers make to not only create something to sell (like a book), but also to promote it to the specific readers who will want to purchase it. This takes both time and effort, not to mention considerable focus.
Credit: Christina Katz - http://getknownbeforethebookdeal.typ...d-writers.html

Why do I need a platform?

· Because your publisher will spend little to no money promoting your book. Basically, it’s up to you as the author to get the word out to potential readers, reviewers, etc.

What are the (potential) parts of my platform?
· Name/pen name
· Identity – who are you?
· Website/blog
· Twitter feed/Facebook page
· Author pages on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
· E-mail/forum signatures
· Social influence/authority online
· Bio
· Headshot
· Relationships/network (on and offline)
· Testimonials on your website
· Postings on community sites like Goodreads, Love Romances Café, etc
· Newsletter
· Book trailer
· Tagline