“These days, you need to deliver not just the manuscript but the audience.”
This informed quote was snagged from Rachel Gardner’s post about how authors need a platform. I haven’t really talked about the idea of platform much here. But this blog is, in fact, part of my efforts to “build a platform” (among other things, of course).
A “platform,” for those who haven’t heard the term, is all the ways that an author has connected with an audience and stays connected with that audience. Literally, I guess it’s kind of like being in front of people, or before them, or visible in some way. Or it might be about forming plats. Not sure.
The relevant point being that the smaller your platform is the more risk the publisher has to take on you. The larger your platform the less risky it is for the publisher to publish your book. They see that there’s an audience there.
I used to view this kind of thinking as manipulative and vain. But I have changed my mind a lot on that front. I now see the value of being knowable, accessible, of serving your readers by helping them connect to you. Of course this is an enormous benefit for the author on many fronts.
I don’t know how a publisher would quantify the value of my own platform as an author. I would say that it has certainly grown considerably over the last year, or year and a half (corresponding to when I began to make efforts that direction). I have put some effort in on that front and have gone from being virtually unknown, to having a fairly good-sized group that I feel connected with (on various levels).
I have enjoyed connecting with so many people, from the Rabbit Roomers to old South African friends on Facebook.
It used to be that you were VERY limited on options for connecting to an audience. That has changed dramatically. I am thankful for these opportunities, and I hope to use them for good and not evil. Much like my use of that magic pot of beans I found in a unicorn’s cave.
Is this West Virginian in my audience? One hopes.