If you attend a writers' conference, and I highly recommend that you do, you're bound to hear this word repeated more times than you can count:
What is a platform? You ask. I certainly did. It turns out that a platform is the base audience a writer creates even before a book is published and, get this, sometimes even before you sign with an agent.
Once upon a time an author only really needed a platform for non-fiction (i.e. in my case the fact that I'm a college professor creates a ready-made platform for my academic writing), but today fiction writers are also in need of their own buzz, a presence beyond that on the pages they write.
Don't panic! I know that for we writerly folk this idea is daunting at best, but in today's digital friendly age creating a platform is much, much easier than you'd imagine.
Facebook, Twitter, and blogs I think are the best ways to dip your toes in the platform pool. More intrepid folk might consider starting vlogs (Jackson Pearce is the queen of vlogs). I'm toying with this idea, but have not yet made that plunge. If I do, you'll be the first to know!
You can start small. Believe me, the early days of tweet and blogs can feel pretty lonely. But readerships and followers grow over time, and soon they become a big part of your life...one that needs to be managed so that it doesn't interfere with all that writing that started this platform business in the first place!
I'm sure some of you are thinking - does this platform stuff really matter?
More than I would have guessed. I've been incredibly fortunate of late to sign with some amazing foreign publishers *waves, blows kisses, Hi Lyndsey!!* and in the offers there have been many mentions of my online presence.
When I first read their comments I had a "whaaaaa???" moment, because unbeknownst to me my blogs and tweets had been followed by some truly fabulous editors and publishers. And it's my impression that my growing platform has had a significant impact on the response of publishing houses to NIGHTSHADE. EPIC WIN!
So don't be shy. The benefit of online platformdom is that it's a great venue for writers - it's all about writing!! Each author has to find the way to the world that best suits them, so test the waters, see what format is the right fit for you. But don't stay hidden in the shadows, let the world see you shine.