For the past two weeks I’ve been out of town. New York out of town. We’ve been renovating a house there, getting it ready to sell, and these two weeks have seen a slew of repairs: painting, plastering, planting flowers and pulling up carpet.
All that refurbishment got me thinking about building, and, since my natural tendencies are more literary than landscapery, I got to thinking about building my platform. I have to be honest, the business side of writing is not my preferred element, but just like selling a house, you have to show a book to its best advantage in order to entice buyers into taking a tour.
In order to do that, I need to 1) create the very best product I can and 2) advertise. Interesting a publisher, let alone readers, is not the same game it used to be. The rules have changed and so have the methods. Publishers are more reluctant than ever to take a chance on an unproven author. Advances are fewer and smaller as are marketing budgets. More and more the author is required to continue to sell their work, even after a contract has been signed.
On the other hand publishing options are expanding at an incredible rate; so much so that many authors are turning, often with great success, to Indie publishing. Formerly known as “self-publishing,” Indie publishing has become more and more acceptable in recent years, especially as e-books have really taken off.
Regardless of the track an author takes these days, she needs a platform. This means a full blown Internet presence (website, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) and the pursuit of personal presentation opportunities such as readings, signings, conferences and the like. Most of what I know about platform building has come from conferences. UNF has a great series of classes and the FWA sets up many invaluable classes via its area clubs. Another option is to (duh) buy a book on the topic. The Indie Author Guide by April L. Hamilton, is the most comprehensive one I’ve found and I have to thank Tracie Westberry for suggesting it.
So, there are my thoughts on author platforms. What are yours? How are you expanding your platform? I look forward to your touts. In the meantime, happy writing.