Every writer knows, based on what he/she reads in writing blogs and advice from the pros, that a writer needs a platform. Do you know yours? Or do really know what ‘platform’ is?
When I wrote my first e-novel “Loonies in the Dugouts” I did not intend to have a platform. I did not know what one was. I know there is platform diving into swimming pools. I know there is a platform for my computer. I know a platform is proposed by political parties, the platforms of each being to enhance the rich and distance the poor. I once stood on a platform at a train depot. But what is a writers platform?
When I decided to Google ‘what is a writers platform’, an article from Writers Digest written by Courtney Carpenter from 2012 Googled up on my screen. She said it is an authors visibility. It is comprised she wrote of who you are (I am Terry Nelson, nice to meet you); any media you use to sell books (I have two blogs, Twitter, Google Plus, an Amazon page, a website); and finally personal and professional contacts you have. (I have no idea why personal contacts are helpful. I know a cat, but she is of no help. As far as profession, they are few and far between. As usual, it is who you know and I know a cat.
But there is more.
1. The building blocks are a website and a blog-I have both. 2. Newsletter and mailing list-I need to do this. 3. Column writing for the media-Huh? 4. A guest on successful websites, blogs, and periodicals- I was a guest twice-but again see answer to #3. 5.A strong track record of past book sales. (If I had a strong sales record I would not need a platform). 6 -10 is about public speaking, social media, being interviewed and so on. In other words when she says building blocks, while it is true, it is also hard to build a platform if you are an indie e-novelist.
It is hard to be visible when you are an invisible writer. I have done much that has been recommended. I can do more. But what comes first is the Word. The best thing to do is write, keep writing, and enhance visibility. It does not guarantee success. Luck plays a big part. I would say good writing will prevail, but as anyone who has read “Fifty Shades of Grey” knows, bad writing can succeed beyond the realm of logic.
After my first book, I decided I liked my two lead characters so much a wrote another book for them, “Loonies in Hollywood” where they solve the murder of William Desmond Taylor. I enjoyed writing a mystery so know I am working on another murder mystery with Chet and Eveleen. And a fourth is warming in my tea kettle. Perhaps having a platform is having a niche, though my debut novel doesn’t fit.
But I will continue to build, not a platform, but visibility. To break into column writing, be someone who is sought for interviews, being a public speaker, have a strong track record of sales, are things the article does not tell you how to achieve. That is because what she lists are the characteristics already attained. Now if she could tell how to get there we would have something, wouldn’t we.