This week at the SFF Seven, we’re offering tips for expanding your author platform.
“Platform” is one of those words I’m not terribly fond of, seeing as how it comes from the world of sales and legal wrangling. If you do a bit of digging (but please don’t go down that rabbit hole!) you’ll find that the term arose in the early 90s, along with the advent and burgeoning of the internet, and originally applied to nonfiction works and proposals. (Jane Friedman has a great write-up on it here.) Nowadays it seems like the term gets thrown about by all sorts of agent, editor, and marketing types in seeking the ideal author for them to make money off of.
(Note: there’s nothing wrong with trad-publishing folks making money off of authors. That’s the business model and it can work for everyone involved. I just feel that the ‘must have a great platform’ folks are more interested in the generating moolah side of things than, you know, books.)
Anyway, as Jane succinctly defines it, an author platform is an ability to sell books because of who you are or who you can reach.
So… not all of us, right? Most authors of fiction sell books because of our voice and the stories we write, not who we are. However! What we write is what reaches people, so who we can reach is within reasonable grasp for a writer of fiction.
Are you ready for this? The great secret??
Write more books!
Or short stories. Or create games or draw comics. Whatever medium is floating your creative boat at the moment, do more of that!
I know, I know – the answer is always the same. But that’s because this is the very best advice out there. The most effective marketing for any author is to create more. The more stuff you have out there, the more people you can reach.
Seriously, over the years I’ve seen SO MANY AUTHORS get sucked into focusing on flogging a single work or series to the exclusion of all other efforts. Sure, it can be easy to get focused on wanting a particular work to succeed, and yes, marketing can feel like a clearer path, with lots of
vultures vendors out there waiting to take your money with glowing promises of high sales. Writing more stuff is hard.
But creating stuff is why you got into the gig in the first place, yes? So go do it, my friend.