In a recent blog post, Kirsten Lesko wrote about platform. She said, in part, that she learned at a recent conference that writers should spend 50% of their time building a platform. My first thought was this does not really apply to fiction writers. Then yesterday, I read this post by editor Helen Ginger in which she said:
Another way the meaning of the term platform has morphed is that it now applies to fiction, as well as nonfiction. Agents and editors now look to see if fiction writers have a platform. They want good writing, a genre that will sell, and a new and interesting twist to the book – all the things they’ve always wanted. But now they also expect the author to have that third part of the equation – a ready-made audience.
She goes on to say that in order to get published nowadays, you need to be a national celebrity or, at least, a local one; or be giving speeches and directing workshops; or have daily blog hits in the hundreds, if not thousands; or be involved in enough organizations and groups that you’re certain of big sales.
Agents will tell you they only care about the writing. They say they look at the pages and whether it hooks them. The hard truth is publishers – and agents – look at the bottom line – will this book sell.
Wow! And wow! I’m trying hard not to panic. This time, I can’t tell myself Ms. Ginger is not referring to fiction writers. She is. And I am one—without any sort of platform!
I’m not a celebrity, past or present, national or local. I’m not qualified to give speeches or direct workshops. This blog, on its absolute best days, gets 100-plus hits. And I, being the hermit I am, belong to NO, zero, zilch groups or organizations. I don’t work outside the home, so I can’t even hawk my book to coworkers. I think I could guilt a few relatives and badger my fellow writer friends into buying a copy. Do you think the prospect of fifty sales will get me an agent?
What shall I do? What are you doing to build your platform, fellow fiction writers?