Thursday, October 11, 2012

Author platform - what's it all about?

I've been reading about "author platform" a fair bit lately and worrying, as I do, that I don't know what my platform is. A lot of people suggest that by golly, I better have one established before I've written my book because I won't have time to establish it once the book's published.

So what do you reckon about "platform"? Do you have one? Do you even know what it is?

In the interests of finding out whether I'm on the right track, I recently bought Get known before the Book Deal by Christina Katz. Okay, I haven't read it yet, but it's there, ready, when I finish reading Penni Sansevieri's Red Hot Internet Publicity - which I have to say has lots of really excellent ideas for my business website. But I won't start thinking about that now...
I've also done a fair bit of internet browsing and there are plenty of interesting articles like this one from Kristen Lamb about understanding author platform.

So I get that I would do well to have:
  • a Facebook profile (check)
  • a Twitter presence (check, although I don't tweet nor follow many people/organisations yet - it just feels like another time-suck at the moment)
  • a website (check. really does need to get linked to this blog. I'm sure it's a doodle to do if only I could find the time to research how to do it...)
  • a blog (double check)
  • posting on fellow authors' blogs (not yet - what would I say?)
  • Pinterest - looks good, but is it worthwhile?
  • speaking engagements - I think you need an actual book first
  • etc, etc...
Golly, and then there's your author brand, what sort of things you choose to write about/share with readers and potential readers, the imagery you select, the colour and tone of all your online profiles and sites.

I'm beginning to wonder if there's more time involved in establishing the platform than there is in writing. This morning, for example, instead of doing my two hours writing, I played around with themes on Blogger. Hmmm... Not productive! I'm so going to get my hand slapped by my critique group on Sunday... And seeing as I have enough trouble carving time from my day to actually write, well... my brain's in a muddle.

After all that, I think my current position on author platform is - yes, it's something I need to keep learning about. It's something I can jot down notes on when ideas come to me, or are suggested by my writing buddies - that external view is such a help. It's something I can tick away at, but not at the expense of actual writing time.

So what does author platform mean to you? Do you worry about it? Or are you just out there talking about your books, your work in whatever forum - online or in person - you happen to stumble across? I'd love to know.

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