Saturday, January 30, 2010

Platforms, They're not just for Politicians anymore!

In the publishing world the first thing an agent or publisher asks a new talent is... what is your platform?

Huh? I mean I wrote a book, I'm not running for office.

These days, it doesn't matter. The publishing world is run by very large corporation who in turn answer to even larger corporations. The world of 'giving a fresh new voice a chance' just to give a fresh new voice a chance is over.

They want to know, how will you make back your advance? How can they cross-promote? Can they spin this off into a franchise?

You need to be able to answer all of those questions.

First off, how will you make back your advance? The best way to prove this is to have a built-in following. That's where social networking comes in. MySpace. Facebook. Twitter. etc.

If you already have tens of thousands of followers, then the bet is at least a chunk of those is going to spend some dollars on you (even better if they already have in the form of an e-book, etc).

You are saying, great, but how in the heck do I develop thousands upon thousands of followers? Isn't that what the publishing house is supposed to do with their marketing campaign for my book?

Oh, you darling, sweet naive writer. Unless you are the next Dan Brown, there will be NO marketing budget for your book. No support. No tour. No ads. And you have to get your own blurbs, so deal with it.

The quicker you accept the fact you are responsible for selling your book, the gentler this will go for you! :-)

Now that we realize it is up to us, how do we get followers?

Okay, once you figure out how to get onto these websites, you are going to need content. You need to be witty, urbane, draw people in. But words alone aren't going to cut it. You need visuals.

Cover art (yeah, yeah, yeah, 'but that's what the publishing house is supposed to do' - and they will, but only AFTER you prove your book can sell) that rocks.

Think about it, why do we have cover art? We didn't used to. Just the title and leather, baby. These days, besides your title the cover art is the most important distinguishing characteristic your book has to sell.

So why not use that philosophy to GET YOUR BOOK SOLD?

And last, but not least a book trailer. Not going to go into deep detail here since the next blog is covering cover art and trailers in much great depth.

Alright, I think we've hit you with enough knowledge. Have a great day and think about how you can be promoting yourself TODAY. Go get a hundred new followers!

1 comment:

  1. Boy, I'm glad I started with Twitter, blog, and FB long before my book is finished. It's going to take me longer to build the following perhaps, than it took to write the book!