“Oh!” you say. “So an Author Platform is all the stuff your publisher does, right?” Wrong. This is all the stuff that WE need to do if we want to get our writing out into the world. Whether you have a publisher or not, whether you have an agent or not, there is nobody in this world that will do for your writing what YOU can do for it. And thanks to the wonderful world of modern technology, most of the tools we can use to accomplish this platform, are practically free. All it costs us is a little (okay, probably a lot) of our time and some good ol’ fashioned metaphorical elbow grease.
Now, I could stand up here on my soapbox and preach to you, using all of my well-versed knowledge about author platforms and how to go about creating them, but I have two problems with that, which are as follows:
1. I’ve tried standing on soapboxes before and really, I don’t get it. I mean, have you ever tried it? Soapboxes are tiny. And they only raise you up, like, an inch total. What’s the point of that? All of you in the back won’t even be able to see me. If I was going to preach for any reason, I’d rather stand on something like a platform. Not an author platform, though. Cuz that’s just silly. And…
2. I’m obviously not an expert on the subject, as I pointed out in my Top Ten Reasons I Suck at Blogging post. Although I’ve been making a huge effort to change this fact, I’ve still got a long way to go with the whole platform concept. Right now I’d say that, with my blog, I’ve started mixing the concrete that’s going to hold the posts of my platform firmly in the ground. But I have yet to go to Home Depot and purchase my lumber, so I’m far from experienced in the matter.
So, in light of those extremely revealing problems, I’m going to give you the articles that I’ve read on the topic and let THEM teach you about author platforms. But once you read their posts, discover their staggering levels of sheer genius and become avid followers, please don’t forget to visit my humble blog once in a while. You know, for nostalgic reasons and crap like that. Or if you just feel like slumming it some days.
Okay, here they are:
Lindsey Edwards, writer of paranormal, fantasy and historical romance describes a platform as “all the ways in which you can gain visibility among readers” in her article Author Platform and the Debut of Your Book. She has really great suggestions in an easy-to-scan bulleted format on ways you can improve your platform for both non-fiction and fiction writers.
Author of thrillers, Joe Moore of The Kill Zone blog wrote a great post called Building a Writer’s Platform, where he also gives some great ideas with a little more in-depth detail on what to do.
Jane Friedman added a post on the Writer Unboxed blog called Audience Development: Critical to Every Writer’s Future. This is a great article where she tackles some of the myths us newbies have in our heads like “our craft being the most important thing” and our need to only “focus on our writing.” She explains why those types of thoughts can be problematic for writers and gives great information on how the relationship between publisher-author-audience works.
And for any of you lucky ducklings who already have a publisher, Barry Eisler, who is also a writer of thrillers, gives fantastic examples of the lengths that he went to in order to convince his publisher to invest more time and money into his books in his post Recruiting a Publisher.
But, I have to admit, my absolute favorite post I read on this topic was written by Chuck Wendig of the Terribleminds blog, entitled Writer’s Don’t Do That. He delves into all of the excuses that we, as writers, desperately grasp to our chests in strangling choke-holds while huddling in our darkened corners of solitude. These excuses allow us blame outside forces when our efforts at success fall at our feet like the wrinkled latex of a deflated balloon. In his post, Chuck wields his Crowbar of Literary Knowledge. He wedges it between our chests and arms to pry our coddled comfort zones away from our bodies before crushing them under the heel of his benevolent boots for our own damn good.
If you enjoy a no-nonsense, straight shooter, tells-ya-how-it-is-even-if-it-hurts kind of writer, then definitely check out Chuck. (ooh, that was fun and unintentional alliteration) He’s an amazing writer and doesn’t believe in sugar-coating things to spare your feelings, but rather uses his own form of tough love where he slaps you out of your hysteria and then applies a balm to soothe the sting becuz he loves you (though he denies it, he’s really just a big softy at heart).
However, I must warn you that his blogsite is not for the faint of heart. Sprinkled between all of the great information are crass metaphors and lots of swearing. And though you wouldn’t know it from my writing on this blog, I actually swear like a truck driver in real life, so I find him freaking hee-larious! His posts are lengthy (don’t you just hate mile-long posts? Wait a minute…*looks up at writing and sighs*…crap), but so well-written and entertaining that I promise you won’t even notice. And as I said, he’s extremely knowledgeable about the writing profession and his posts are chock-full of informational goodies. It’s a win-win in my book.
So what about all of you? Did you already know all of this? Am I preachin’ to the choir or have you come away with interesting and previously unknown tidbits? Have you read any great articles on author platforms that you’d like to share? Give it up in the comments section. Let me hear ya!