While I was at Write!Canada, there was a lot of talk about ‘building your platform’. And I mean a lot of talk. It was general concensus that no author today will succeed without a solid, innovative platform that’s reflective of and changes with the times.
This week, I’d like to take a look at different aspects of platform building, along with some some perspectives from specific authors (gleaned from talks at Write!Canada).
During the symposium on the future of publishing, author and speaker Sheila Wray Gregoire had quite a bit to say about platforms, so I’d like to share that with you today.
Note that I called her an author AND speaker? Hmm… the platform comes into play already…
Sheila has a lovely, very user-friendly website. It’s jam-packed with media, downloads, articles, resources, and a place to buy her books. This woman knows what she’s doing – she may only have a few books published, but she’s got a killer platform. Go visit her site, then come back here.
In brief, here are the things Sheila had to say about the future of publishing/being an author/platforms:
- Authors must, must, must have a platform.
- It is now easier to find places to write than ever before, but harder to get paid.
- Can’t rely on royalty publishers anymore for 100% of income.
- But… we can create ways to get paid.
- Don’t get intimidated!!!
- Do the work, practice the craft, learn the technology, and you can get noticed, because…
- “Excellence will always rise to the top.”
- Authors must face that they can’t survive on just one book a year, so they must have a multi-platform action plan, including such things as…
- Livestream TV (ie. Youtube)
- Functional website
- Blog w/ regular updates
- Articles that complement your book/expertise
Sheila has done all these things and more, so she knows what she’s talking about… and she does it well! Yes, it’s a lot of extra work to build a platform, but in today’s publishing industry, taking the time to do all these things can mean the difference between success and obscurity.
The only thing I really take issue with in Sheila’s observations is that “excellence will always rise to the top”. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately, depending on who you are), that isn’t always true. A mediocre author with a fantastic platform will almost always “rise to the top” above a brilliant author with just a decent or even non-existent platform. Then again, people measure success in different ways, and one person’s success may be another person’s sorrow. But, if we’re talking sheer numbers, the person who rises to the top in this day and age will likely be the person with the better online/public social profile… even if their writing kinda stinks (a few names spring to mind, but I’ll let you think that one over yourself).
Monday Ponderings: Where do you stand in regards to platform building? Have you thought about it? Do you plan to build a platform, or will you simply let your writing speak for itself?