Author Laura Munson wrote a very interesting blog post recently about platforms:
All-too-quickly the honeymoon is over. Because I learn that there is no Platform band wagon. You have to build it brick by brick and it takes time. Lots of time. A lot like writing a novel. But there isn’t really time to write a novel with all this finding friends on Facebook and Twitter, and blogging and newslettering…and why bother anyway, because apparently no one’s buying books by unknown authors and no one’s reading them. Even though I read them. But apparently I’m not “normal.” I am beginning to build up a whopping dose of resentment. Resentment is bad. I take a pause and go back to a novel I was working on before the Social Media witch landed on my house.
Munson shares a link to a video by Arielle Ford promoting Ford’s new book marketing program, Everything You Should Know. In the video, Ford states that publishers and editors buy platforms, not books (for non-fiction, anyway), and her message stems from that assumption. The video is worth watching, regardless of whether you are interested in Ford’s product, because it can help you to think about an author’s platform from her perspective, ask questions, and come to your own decisions and plan as to how to proceed.
I like a lot of what Arielle Ford says, and she has helped me to think about my own platform in a broader context, one that includes speaking engagements and interviews as well as social media. But I can’t help wondering if a single-minded focus on platform precludes the time necessary for those 10,000 hours of writing practice needed for mastery, especially for young or new writers. Let’s face it: there are only so many hours in the day, and many writers are already drawn all too easily to the lure of “instead of writing” activities. And in the frenzy of trying to collect friends and followers, we may lose focus of how to interpret the numbers.
What do you think? How much time do you spend on building or maintaining a platform? Do your platform and your writing ever compete for time? What are the elements of your platform? Or do you even think about it consciously at all?
My defrag update from yesterday: I caught up with adding/updating Twitter follows/followers (this time around I’m being careful to create and maintain lists from the beginning, so as to keep up better), replied to a backlog of blog comments, and created a Facebook list I can use for sending blog post updates, so that I don’t have to send them to folks who may not be interested. Today I plan to map out a loose schedule for October, so that I have an “at a glance” view of my defrag month.